Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blog Post #13

no technology
For this week's post we were assigned to go an e-media fast. We were to not use and electronic communication or entertainment devices for a full 24 hours. I knew when I began the fast that this was going to be hard, but it turned out to be harder than I even imagined. It makes you realize how much of our lives involve these things and it is not until it is taken away that we realize it. One thing that made it hard was that I could not communicate with friends or even classmates for school work. I live at home with my parents so we have a land line which came in handy at times. I also watch TV or surf the internet for entertainment so I found myself reading or looking over my textbooks and school work more. Then however I ran in to the issue of a lot of my school work being online which made it even harder. My sister helped me by keeping me accountable and not letting me use any tool that would mess up the assignment. This  assignment has helped me to realize how much these tools have become a part of not only society but my life as well. We depend on things such as cellphones, computers, and televisions to deliver important news as well as communicate with the world. These tools have become a major part of every thing that we do and this can be beneficial to an educator when used in the right way.

In my classroom students will be very use to media and having it a part of their everyday lives. In order to engage them and keep up with growing technologies I will need to utilize these resources for the students benefit. I can give them some ways that they can use these technologies in an educational and beneficial way. This is something that is going to continue to be a part of all of our lives so why not use it to our advantage rather then just pushing it to the side.

C4T Summary #4

The blog that I was assigned to comment on this month is The Tempered Radical by Bill Ferriter who teaches 6th grade language arts in North Carolina. The first post I commented on was titled Are Kids really Motivated By Technology. In his post he discusses technology and its place in the 21st century classroom. I really enjoyed the blog post and he raised a great thought provoking question with the quote posted below.
picture with the quote Asking kids to be motivated by technology is a lot like asking them to be motivated by their shoes and socks. It's hard to be motivated by something you use every day without giving it a second thought. -Sean Crevier
With this quote he really makes you think about technology and its place in the 21st century classroom. I commented and discussed my thoughts on this quote and technology in the classroom. I went on to say throughout my time in EDM 310 we have studied this topic quite a bit. I have found, that in my opinion there should be a balance between traditional classroom style and the use of technology. These are both very useful tools and I feel that they can be utilized most effectively when used together. We as teachers must be there to guide and educate the students. Technology can be used to engage the students in some various activities. Overall I believe there are positive and negative aspects of both methods. In order to be most effective we must have a balance of the positive elements found in both. I told him that I would be commenting again on another one of his posts in the coming weeks. Then that I would be summarizing the posts as well as my comments on my class blog and provided the link.

no teachers
Why I Never Recommend Teaching as a Profession is the last post that I commented on this week. In his post he discusses how legislators are making decisions just to please people and not taking in to consideration the teachers or especially the students. This is making teaching not a profession that he would recommend to anyone. Lawmakers are making it hard and not desirable even though teaching is such a rewarding profession. I found the post very insightful and sadly it is true that teaching is not a profession that is respected. He was spot on with the problem in our education system today. It should never be about test scores, but about true learning and growth in the students. The legislators’ only concern is appealing to the public and they do not truly see the harm they are doing to educators as well as the students who are the future generation. I liked and agreed with where he said that we are living in a world where legislators’ primary motivation is not to create learning environments that kids deserve but ones they think will look good and get them reelected. Until they realize the effects of their actions this will never change and education systems will not become any better. I once again told him that I had enjoyed the posts and would be summarizing them in my blog. This post was very interesting and I feel that is something we all need to be aware of as future educators. We need to work to correct the problems so that we can be the voice for our schools and students.

Final report on PLN: Project #10 Part 2

Since our first report on our Personal Learning network I have added several resources. I haven't really used it yet in a practical way other then building it but I know this could change. Once I become an educator or even in future classes I feel that this could be a useful tool. If I find a site that could be useful to me in the future I will add it so I will always know where to find it. In the future I can come here to get assistance with whatever I may need to research or learn about it. This tool if used efficiently, could make a great asset to my career. I just hope that I will find the time to make it a part of my job and learning network. 
Some of the resources I added were other's teachers blogs as well as different websites to make presentations, polls, or other activities to engage students.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post #12A

We were given an additional blog post this week. The assignment is to answer some questions related to creativity, curiosity and education that we discussed in class last week.

The first question is do schools in the United States systematically destroy (or inhibit) the development of curiosity and/or creativity in students? Yes I believe that in some ways schools do inhibit creativity. Teachers sometimes have lots of restrictions put on what they have to do and their lessons are already planned out minute by minute. When you take away the ability for the teacher to be creative in the classroom you also take away the student's. When everything becomes about standardized tests and scores students become consumed with right answers. This kills the creativity and students want take the risk of thinking outside of the box. This is a major downfall in our education system today.

child with magnifying glass: word curiosity
The second question asked is can a curriculum be developed that increases the curiosity of students? If so, what would be the key components of such a curriculum? A curriculum that can spark curiosity in students is something can be developed. We as Educators must have lessons that are intriguing and ask questions in an interesting way. If the lessons are boring and straight from the textbook the kids will not be engaged or want to lean more. We need interactive activities that get the students thinking.

Next we were asked can a curriculum be developed that increases the creativity of students? If so, what would be the key components of such a curriculum? Creativity is something that is needed for in the curriculum. There are many ways that we can increase our students creativity through curriculum. Like we talked about for curiosity we need interactive activities that really get the students to think. We need to make sure that we allow for the students to freely answer and not stress so much about right and wrong. The questions that we ask during discussion need to be open ended and allow room for the students to think and be creative. Even different activities need to be more open ended as well.

The fourth question is can a teacher's actions increase the curiosity of students? If so, what would be those actions?  Yes I think that teachers can increase students curiosity. Some of these actions would be by asking them questions that spark their curiosity. They can make the lessons intriguing and inviting. This causes the students to be curious and excited about what they are learning in the classroom. The teacher can also give the students some information about a subject encouraging them discover more on their own. If they present the ideas in an exciting way the students will be more engaged in the mystery and discovering more about the topic.

Then we were asked, can a teacher's actions increase the creativity of students? If so, what would be those actions? Creativity is something that teachers actions can increase in theor students. The teacher can stimulate their minds by encouraging them to think outside of the box. They can ask questions as well as give assignments that give them a chance to discover new ideas. The less concentration you put on having the right answers and everything being black and white the more creative students will become. Students need to be challenged to come up with their own ideas and think creatively. We do not need to hold them back by making them only study and learn certain curriculum.

quote poster:Creativity takes courage.- Henri Matisse
The sixth question is what would help you become more creative? What role would teachers and/or schools have in that process? I think that being open to new ideas and not trying to stick to a specific plan could help me to be more creative. I will need to consult fellow teachers to broaden my ideas for the classroom as well as let them inspire me to create some of my own ideas. Sometimes schools can have a positive role in this process by encouraging teachers to come up with new and exciting methods for the classroom. However, schools can also play a negative role when to many restrictions are put on the teacher and they are only allowed to teach what has been given to them in a certain way. If they give me a plan to follow that is plain and not exciting it will restrain me from being creative in my classroom. 

The last question is what would help you become more curious? What role would teachers and/or schools have in that process? One thing that would help me to be more curious would be to research and not be afraid of finding new methods for teaching. As an Educator we should always continue learning in order to be successful in the classroom. If I lose the desire to become better and find new ways of teaching then i will become stagnant in my career. Curiosity is a vital tool in helping us become the best teachers and guides that we can be for our students.

C4K Summary April

kids around a globe

For the first three weeks of April I participated in the world blogging challenge. I commented on  a different post every week on the same student's blog. Her name is Jillian and she is a 7th grader from Canada. I really enjoyed reading her posts as well as commenting. The only thing was that she only had three posts and had not posted in a while. She did not respond to any of my comments or post anything new so we didn't really get to correspond.

The first post I commented on was titled 7 Random Facts About Me. In her post she listed some things about herself such as hobbies or things that she likes and dislikes. In my comment to her I told her who I was and that I would be corresponding with her over the next few weeks. I told her that I loved reading some of the random facts about her and found that we had quite a few things in common. I agreed that I hated spiders, snakes, and waking up in the mornings as well. I am definitely more of a late night person. We both have one sister, but I am an identical twin. She really loves horses and I like them as well and have one at my house. I then asked her a few questions which are as follows: so do you have any horses? What are some things you like to do while hanging out with friends? I told Jillian that I would love to hear back from her

The second post I commented on was titled We Love Pink Shirt Day. This post was about how her school had participated in pink shirt day to raise awareness and support kids that are being bullying. She explains how this day started because a kid from Novia Scotia wore a pink shirt to school and was picked on by classmates. Some of the older kids did not like this so they decided to do something about it. The next day they all wore pink shirts to school to show their support of the other student. They wanted to make everyone aware of why bullying is wrong and so that is how the Pink Shirt Day began. I commented on her post and let her know that I thought it was awesome that she and her school had joined the cause to help raise awareness about such an important issue. The story of the boy and the pink shirt is really inspiring and really shows us how one act of kindness can mean so much and make a big impact. I love where in her post she said, “We should care everyday, but this is a day set aside to bring extra awareness.” This is so true and a great attitude to have about bullying. I also agreed when she stated it is something that we should care about and be cautious of everyday. I then gave her a suggestion for her next post. It was that she could come up with an idea for her, her class, or maybe even her whole school to do something specific to raise awareness for another important issue. It could be just a simple small thing if she wanted. I encouraged her to think about something that is really important to her and that shes feel strongly about. I encouraged her to keep on writing and stated that I had enjoyed the post.

The third post that I commented on was titled I'm Finally Here. This post was her first one and she just staed how excited she was to be blogging. It is something that she had been looking forward to for a while and couldn't wait to get started. Connecting and having conversations with others from around the world is something she believes will be inspiring and exciting. I told her that I had really enjoyed reading her blog posts over the last few weeks. It is great to know that she is excited about blogging and making it a part of her learning experience. I completely agree that is great to connect and talk with students from other schools and countries. We can learn so much and be inspired by others from around the world. I encouraged her to continue blogging and making posts. I let her know that I would be posting a summary of what I had read and commented on her blog in the upcoming weeks as well as supplying her with a link.

For the last week in April I commented on a student from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. His name is Billy and his post was a video  profile about himself. I commented and told him that I liked the video and enjoyed listening to him. He stated in the video that he had a dog so in the comment I asked him what kind it was. It was really great to watch his video as he talked about himself and his family.

Blog Post #12

For this post we were assigned to create our own blog post. We are suppose to research and come up with an assignment Dr. Strange should have assigned for us in our area of specificity. I am an elementary education major so there are many differnt tools that can be used to teach the various subjects to children. While searching for what to write about for my post I came across this really cool wiki titled Cool Tools for Schools. I began searching through the different resources and found some great tools that I had never seen before,  but would be very useful in the classroom. I came across this one website that enables you to make interactive quizzes for your students. Quiz Revolution is free and easy to use.You can add pictures as well as feedback for each question. Dr. Strange could assign all students to visit this website and make a quiz for their students using their area of specificity. It should focus on the subject they are planning to teach in their future classroom. The quiz must be a minimum of five questions. When finished they must add a link to their quiz inside their blog. Another part to the assignment would be that the students must also search the wiki Cool Tools For Schools and find one tool that they feel could be useful in their future classroom. They should explain in one paragraph some ways that they would utilize the resource. This would be a great asset to the assignment because this wiki has so many different useful sources for teachers to use. This way the students would have many various answers.
quiz revolution banner

1) I went to Quiz Revolution and created a math quiz for second graders. The quiz can be found at this link QuizRevolution- Addition Problems.

2) The tool that I found that would be useful in my classroom is the website ZooBurst. This is free and lets you easily create a 3-D pop-up book. Teachers can set up an account and have their students make their own book using stories they have created. This can be used in the classroom to help with the students writing as well as English. It is an exciting way to engage students in the writing process. When they are finished they will be able to view their classmates work. These can be posted in a blog for others to see including the kids parents. This could be a very useful tool in the classroom.

Progress Report on Final Project

work in progress sign
Our group as decided on our idea for project # 16. We will portray how some of the tools and concepts we have learned in EDM 310 can be used effectively in the classroom. Each of us will pick a tool or concept to demonstrate. We will each be a the teacher in one scene while the fellow group members will be the students. Instruction and discussion will take place about how this can be utilized successfully in the classroom. The smart board is one tool that we have chosen to use to teach and show the lessons.  This is just the beginning of our project and we are continuing to find new ideas as well as work out everything.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Post #11

Skype symbol
Skype Interview
The interview with Kathy Cassidy was very interesting and helpful. I think it is great that EDM 310 students got to talk with her about her classroom and their use of technology. Technology is a vital tool that she uses in her first grade classroom. Her students use blogging, skype, and other programs to communicate with people from around the world. As an Educator she believes that having knowledge of and utilizing technology is something that is vital to success. Technology is something that is here to stay. It is always changing and becoming more advanced and we need to continue learning about it in addition to teaching it to our students. As educators we need to be technological literate and up to date on new technologies. Having knowledge of the newest methods of technology is what is needed to be technology literate. The use of blogging in the classroom gives students an audience which can be very valuable to them. The kids love using these tools in the classroom and are very excited and engaged in the lessons. Parents also have easy everyday access to what their child is learning and their progress.

first grade blog banner
One technique that I would consider using in my classroom would be the making of videos. I looked around her blog some after listening to the interview and saw where her class would make videos about what they had learned and then posted them online. Ms. Cassidy even had other classes from around the world make their own videos that were similar or make a video of questions for her class. In response to this they would answer the questions in video format and send it back to them. This is a really cool way to get the students involved in discussing what they are learning. This helps them to really take in and gain a better understanding of the lesson. In the interview, she also discussed having a class blog with links to educational games for the children. I love this idea and think it could be a very useful tool for the children. They can also use it at home to practice what they are learning inside the classroom. One thing you might encounter problems with would be internet safety concerns. She covers this topic by stating that it is the job of the teacher to educate the students on the safety of the internet. This is something that they will also need in the future so we can start this process by teaching them now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blog Post #10

the word educate on blurred page

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
This video does a great job of showing the difference between being an educator and a teacher. It shows the importance of educating students and making an impact. It is not just about teaching facts to students but really impacting students futures through empowerment, enlightenment, and inspiration. I want to be a teacher that guides students and encourages them along the way. I do not want to just teach them information, give tests, and then be done. I truly want to help them learn and grow. It is not about test scores, but about what the students take away from the class.
They need to be prepared for the future. My students will be encouraged to think creatively and always strive for the best. As their guide I want to help them in anyway possible. They should know that they can achieve anything with hard work and determination. I want to be their guide and mentor throughout the learning process. It will be a positive learning community where questions are always welcome as well as encouraged. We should learn from each other collectively and work together to continue to be more successful.

Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home!
In this post a story is told to portray a specific message. In the story, the school curriculum specialist comes in to the classroom and tells the teacher the students should not take home pencils and paper anymore. Test scores are lower and they believe this is the cause of the problem. The teacher says that this is not so and explains to her how pencils are effective tools and his plans to teach the proper use. Her complaint is that they will just play games with them, which she sees as pointless. He points out that those games could actually teach them something. Learning could be taking place that may not be seen from the outside.

One of the main points that I think he is trying to make is that we as educators should not be afraid of what the children will do with technology as well as their own creativity. We need to encourage them to engage their minds rather than just focusing on memorizing facts. Even if they play games like hangman we can use it to teach skills and information in an exciting way. Most anything can be used to teach we just need to be open to new methods. New technology is also something that needs to be embraced rather than discouraged.

It also shows the importance that gets placed on test scores rather than the students' education. It should be about helping the student to learn and be successful rather than having high test scores. A bubble sheet with questions is not a measure of real learning. Schools also tend to say "your" to the teacher when referring to the students' scores. This is not an accurate statement considering how the students are the ones being tested not the teacher. This is an example of how they have taken the student completely out of the equation. When in reality it should be all about their success in the first place.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blog Post #9

notes from a first year teacher image

What I've Learned this Year (2008-2009)
This post is about Mr. McClung's first year of teaching and what he has learned. Going in to teaching he did not know everything to expect but throughout his first year he learned a lot. The first thing he discusses is the importance of reading the crowd. As teachers we do not need to be consumed with our teaching as being about us or those above us. We need to stay focused on making lessons about the students and helping them learn because that is the main goal. I completely agree with this idea. Teachers tend to get wrapped up in required material and impressing those people above them rather than making their lessons in regards to the true audience, the students. Some other points he brings up are the need to be flexible as well as reasonable. Lessons and activities aren't always going to go as perfectly planned, but that doesn't mean they are not successful. It is all about working to fix the mistakes and always improving. We also must be reasonable in our expectations of students. Sometimes we tend to set the bar too high and it can be discouraging for a student if they fall short. We must be an encouragement for our students in helping them to succeed.

Communication is also a key tool when working with coworkers as well as students. I completely agree that this is a vital tool as a Educator. We must learn how to effectively communicate if we want to be successful. He goes on to list the last few things as don't be afraid of technology, listen to your students, and never stop learning. Technology is something that we as Educators need to know how to effectively use if we want to engage our students and be apart of the new generation. This can help us tremendously in the classroom. Listening to a child is very important. Children want someone to listen and show interest in them. This builds a relationship of respect which assists in your success as an Educator. Learning is something we as Educators should never stop doing. There are new methods and resources that we can discover everyday. In order to do the best job we must strive to be the best by continuing to learn. Overall, his post was great and I really enjoyed reading about his first year. It gave me some great insight in what to expect and helped me to learn and grow as a future teacher. These are some things that I will keep in mind for when I have a classroom of my own.

What I Learned This Year (2010-2011)
This post is about his third year teaching. He starts off by saying that we need to stay focused on pleasing the students rather than the adults. The kids are the reason we became teachers in the first place and we need to remember that. This is an idea than he discusses in his first post as well. The repeat of this shows the importance of this and how it is something we need to make sure to focus on. Just as others we tend to get caught up in the idea of making everyone else happy when the students happiness should be where we center our attention. Excitement for his job and new ideas and resources is something that is a part of Joe's personality. He is optimistic and tries to make the most of every new opportunity. This year he realized that there are always going to be those who have lost their passion and excitement for their job, but that is not something you should let effect you. Optimism is something that is contiguous and I feel that this is something kids notice. They are going to be a lot more interested and excited about the lesson and classwork if the teacher is as well.

smiley faceamong sad faces=being different
Next, he says that it is okay to be an outsider. He would rather hang out and get to know his kids and have their approval rather than impressing his fellow coworkers. In his mind, being different is a good thing and is something that he takes pride in. Another thing is that we should never take over the student's work and do it for them. We should encourage and guide them, but they must master the skill on their own. If we do it for them they will never learn how to do it right. Lastly, he says we do not need to become comfortable as teachers. We always need to be pushing ourselves out of the normal routine to learn and take on more. Our careers need to be moving forward and not stagnant if we want to continue to be successful. I would agree with him that teaching is not a comfortable career and it challenges you. If we want our children to be challenged in their learning process and to continue trying new things we as Educators need to as well.
Both posts were great and I really enjoyed reading about what he learned his first year as well as his third. His blog is one that would be a very helpful addition to my PLN.

C4K Summary-March

fish in bowl

The student I commented on for this post was Klaudia who is apart of Class 12's Blog. Her blog post was a story about a day in the life of their classroom  fish, Flapper. In the story she wrote through the fish's point of view which was very creative and really made it come to life. She used great details and made it very exciting to read. I told her that she did a wonderful job and how I knew that Flapper would be a great addition to their class. I loved getting a chance to read her story that she had worked on. It is great to be apart of the kid's classroom work and seeing what they are doing.