Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post 14

Teaching Can Be A Profession
by Joel Klein

- Better scholastic training for future teachers.
- A new approach to recruiting teachers- Instead of just hiring anyone with a college degree, recruit teachers out of the top 33% of their graduating class.
- Change how teachers are rewarded- The current system in place now presumes that all teachers are correspondent and, therefore, all distinctions are made on seniority. The simple solution to this is to judge teachers based on their effectiveness, rather than just their amount of experience.
- The experienced teachers ending up at better schools, leaving the less fortunate kids and schools to have inexperienced or experienced yet not effective teachers.
- Layoffs tending to go to the most recently hired teachers instead of the least effective.The solution to this, along with the problem above, is to professionalize teaching-- excellence would be the guiding hallmark. Everything within the school system will be redirected to this core principle of excellence.

Albert Shanker, one of the most influential teachers-union leaders of this century, stated this view of his about 30 years agony saying, "Unless we go beyond collective bargaining to the achievement of the teacher professionalism, we will preserve public education in the United States and to improve the status of teachers economically, socially, and politically". He believed that to create a profession, the following are recommended:
- We need to attract our best students and establish a "demanding knowledge base" to coincide with a "formal set of... peer relationships."
- There also needs to be a "national teacher examination" put in place. This will test the "mastery of pedagogy and content knowledge, akin to the entry exams now required for lawyers and doctors."
- Lastly, supervised internships, or student teaching, should be extended to one to three years to evaluate the performance of future teachers.

Shanker believed in this radical change and went even deeper in defining this ambitious transformation:
- Teachers build their own board to organize the profession, creating standards and providing means for getting rid of inadequate teachers.
- Teachers are obliged to "merit-based career ladders and would be promoted based on exams within their specialty.
- There are fewer teachers assisted by college graduates or college seniors known as teaching assistants.
- Teachers put an end to their support of kids being required to be assigned to neighborhood schools ("the greatest possible choice among public schools").

      The first problem addressed calls for better academic training for teachers-to-be. I agree with this because, according studies discussed in the article, 23 states cannot contest to having a solid math preparation program when being compared to better-scoring nations and fear than 20% of teaching programs prepare their prospective teachers with the basics of reading direction. That just sounds ridiculous to me. If I am preparing myself to be a high school history teacher, then I want more than just basic training. Within the history subject, a lot reading and examining takes place and I feel that that should require more that simply basic reading skills for me to properly teach my students to read and examine for themselves.
      The second problem Mr. Klein brought to our attention was needing a new approach to bringing in new teachers. The current system that has been in place for years is basically hiring anyone with a college degree in education to teach. Like Sandra Feldman said, that would be "disastrous". The solution they gave for this is to recruit out of the top third percent of a graduating class. When it cakes to not hiring just anyone with a degree, I definitely agree 100%. When it comes to only hiring out of top third percent though, I disagree in a way. Having prestige grades when graduating with a teaching degree is very important but I think it is very much possible to be a successful and effective teacher without being in the top 33% grade-wise. Going through middle school and high school, I learned many academic lessons, but I learned just as many life lessons from my teachers that still have an impact on my life today. I believe that if you are going to be a teacher, it is just as important to have that kind of impact on your students as it is an academic impact on their lives. That's not always found in the top 33% of a class. I know my grades aren't always in the top percents, but I know that I have just as much to offer to my future students as those top students do.
      The next two changes he mentions kind of go hand-and-hand in my opinion. Klein says that we need to change the way teachers are rewarded. Today, teachers are presumed as correspondent and, therefore, the only way to distinguish one from another is by seniority. The easy solution to this is to judge and evaluate teachers based on their effectiveness and not just their experience. This I completely agree with, it is very possible that teachers who have less experience can be more effective than those with more experience than them, but this problem of what teachers are where.
      The experienced and effective teachers are ending up at better schools, while the poor kids and schools are getting teachers that are inexperienced or experienced and not effective. Also, layoffs are commonly going to the most recently hired teacher instead of simply the least effective no matter the amount of experience. The solution proposed for this is to professionalize teaching. This means that excellence would be the "guiding hallmark" and everything within the school system will be redirected to this core principle. To this, I agree. The teaching job at any school should go to the best person for the job no matter their "tenure".
      As Shanker said, these are all very ambitious goals and I think if they could all be done, then the school systems would be enormously more successful and overall better. Like he stated, "education would not be sustainable if teachers continue to be treated... as workers in an old-fashioned factory". We need to professionalize teaching and make it well-respected like other professions such as lawyers and doctors have.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post 13

      This week, watch this video and visit these links (explore the website). Tell me what your opinion is of Reading Like A Historian by writing a quality blog post. What is RLH? What are the benefits? Would you consider using it?

How to teach history (and how not to)

Reading Like A Historian

Reading Like A Historian Video

      This curriculum encourages students to take inquiry into historical events, instead of just hearing about them through strictly lecture. Within each history lesson is a central driving question on the topic being discussed that is accompanied by sets of primary historical documents and resources. The Stanford History Education Group designed the program this way so that students with different levels of reading and comprehending can achieve the same goal-- improving their overall literacy and successfulness. By using this curriculum, students will learn how to "investigate historical questions by employing reading strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading". The students are taught how to look at multiple aspects of a historical event or issue and evaluate it for themselves so that they are able to make their own historical claims.
      Within the RLH website, the Stanford History Education Group has provided you with numerous tools to enable you to incorporate this program into your classroom. They have given you FREE access to 106 flexible lesson plans, along with introduction materials, that you can customize and adjust to your classroom and curriculum. Also, all of these lesson plans provide you with primary documents and sources from reliable places such as the Library of Congress.
      I plan to be a high school history teacher one day and I thinkI would definitely consider using and incorporating this program into my curriculum in my future classroom. I believe this program and way of teaching can improve a student's literacy abilities and understanding of historical events way beyond the average lecture and discussion would.

Project 12: Part B

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blog Post 11

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

The first video we were asked to watch was Back to the Future by Brian Crosby. Mr. Crosby feels like some curricula can be too narrow which can cause students to be distant and disable their creativity and passion to learn and create. Because of this, Crosby has come up with a project that incorporated technology in many different ways while also meeting the class's standards. Leading up to the project, the class had been learning about the layers of the atmosphere. To go with this topic, Crosby came up with the idea to have the class send up a balloon in to the atmosphere. Throughout the project, the class did numerous activities and lessons that really got the students engaged and excited to succeed. The students were also able to incorporate many different types of media in to the project such as wiki pages, blogs, Flikr, and many other computer programs. From this project, with all their resources, they were ultimately able to create their own learning networks and to reach out to a wide audience. I think this project that Crosby came up with was great overall because he got away from that narrow curriculum so well.

The next video we were told to watch for this blogpost was Paul Anderson's Blended Learning Cycle. According to Paul, blended learning is combining the compelling parts of learning (online, mobile, and classroom) in the classroom. He did this by basically turning the class in to a video game with different levels based on blended learning. He also stayed true to his fiveE's of the cycle in the process: engage, explore, expand, explain, and evaluate. The only obstacle throughout this project was getting the students to learn independently. This can be abad or good thing because you want your students to learn how to work as a team to collaborate and communicate but you want the students to be able to work and learn things for themselves, as well. One of Paul's theories that I partially agree with is that you haven't learned something until you can explain it to someone else. I agree with this because being able to explain something new to someone and have them understand it also shows your own understanding of the topic. The only reason I say partially agree is because when I was in school learning any kind of science or math, I was very good at learning and understanding something but I couldn't always explain how I figured it out or explain it to someone else. Even though I didn't always have the ability to explain it, I still knew for myself that I understood the topic and did well in the class.

The third video we were asked to watch was Making Thinking Visible by Mark Church. His goal was for his students to see their thinking process in action and how it can change throughout the class. He had his students watch a video on human origins and then break in to small groups to discuss the topic. The groups had to think of a headline describing what they thought their unit was about and thence able to explain their headline choice. After their last project, he will ask them what their final headline is just to show them how thinking can change.

Another video we were asked to watch this week was Sam Pane's Building Comics. Mr. Pane's biggest question for his students was "What kind of power does the internet give us?". He requested that his students become like digital citizens which means that they act safely, respectfully, and responsibility whenever they are online. Following this discussion, he asked them to create a comic built around their digital superhero and provided them with a website for the project. In order to meet state standards, the students had to write a narrative between their superhero and themselves. He also wanted his students to have the ability to show their peers their work so he had them do a gallery walk. the students loved showing off their accomplishments and having it appreciated.

Project Based Learning by Dean Shareski was the fifth video given to us to watch for the is post. Three teachers worked together to create a unique learning experience by combining different topics and subjects. We have been discussing PBL all semester and we have seen all the positives and the struggles of changing over to it. The teachers had to pitch this to their administrators and convince them of all the benefits of PBL. It turned out very beneficial for the students because they were able to use technology to really broaden their learning and ideas.

The last video we were told to watch was Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program. PBL is described here as an in-depth learning experience that emerges thematic instruction based on real-world issues using research based projects. By doing this, students learn accountability, responsibility, public speaking skills, and other 21st century skills at a young age.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Project 14: PBL Plan 2

Group 6 (Faith Kennedy, Marcus Thomas, and Carissa Watford) website for Project 14

Blog Post 10

We were asked to watch Ms. Cassidy's 1st Grade Class in Little Kids... Big Potential for this weeks Blog Post 10. This video along with many others that she made showed some great ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. Her videos did a good job at showing that using technology can encourage students to develop social skills instead of isolating them. I think students would love the use of more technology in the classroom because it gives them so many opportunities to learn how to learn on their own to further their own knowledge and show how relative it is to their lives even outside of the classroom. I liked her use of blogs in the classroom because creating your own blog and also following others, such as fellow students or other teachers, can really expand students' world of learning. Another thing she did that I liked was her sending out permission slips for the students to use such technology because i can see where some parents mat not be okay with using so much and having that much access to technology at such a young age. As we have seen so far in ED310 this semester, younger students can have the ability to know much more about some technologies than we do and have very little problems when it comes to learning new types of media. I personally think this is great. At such a young age, these students are getting such a jumpstart on learning how to write, read and communicate with other, which can really help them in their future education and, eventually, careers.

C4K October Summary

C4K #5 10/12/14:
For this week, I had Jenna's Blog Challenge Three: The Fourteenth Goldfish. Jenna's assignment was to answer the question "What do you think will happen in the story?". Jenna think that the grandparent will end up having a cure to make him age again, but will not be able to get into the lab to obtain it because he still looks like is 14 years old. She also thinks the authorities will show up and possibly accuse him of being responsible for the disappearance of her grandpa because he still has the I.D. of a grandparent. I think that Jenna did a great job at describing to her audience what was happening in the story and what she thinks is going to happen in the future.

C4K #6 10/19/14:
This week, I was assigned to Jenna 5SC. I think her assignment this week was to describe a scene that she was seeing either in a book or some other type of media. She discussed how she saw the church and lots of people and also the ducks paddling in the stream along with other animals around the town. Personally, I think Jenna did a great job at describing in detail was she saw and making sure her audience could truly picture it for themselves.

C4K #7 10/26/14:
I was assigned to Taine's Similes and Meetaphors blogpost this week. For this post, Taine had to write a metaphor and simile with two different objects that he had chosen. The first he did was his metaphor about a lobster. I think he did good job at showing exactly what a metaphor is to his audience and was descriptive. For his simile, he chose to talk about a bully. I think Taine did a fantastic job with this simile because not only did he do a great job at showing what a smile is, be he also discussed it so well. Bullying can be a big issue in schools and I love the way that he said "a bully is small as his fear' and "know it's ok like God is with you". Wow. I just loved that part and he did an amazing job at giving a great message about bullies.

C4T Summary #1

The first teachers blog that I had to comment on was by Meredith Somsel on a site called Teacheing Matters. She discussed how the curricula and ways of teaching are constantly changing. Somsel and her fellow teachers teach at a school in New York and are having to learn a whole new program for teaching their math students. The program was a struggle for the teachers because they were being introduced to various new materials they are to incorporate into their math lessons, along with new strategies and content all while creating their own lesson plans and getting to know their new students and how they learn best. In her words, it was the "perfect storm". Her and the teachers spent their summers attending conferences and taking additional opportunities to become more familiar with this new program. It is very important for teachers to stay caught up with the ever-changing curricula in education so that students will learn all that they can and get the best learning experience they possible.
I found this as a great blogpost that, even as a student, I could relate to because this is similar to a realization I had when taking a math education class about a year and a half ago. With almost every lesson, we were taught equations and methods to teach that almost the whole class had never heard of because we were not taught those methods when we were going through school at a younger age. That was just one of many times that we realized how important it is to keep up with new and evolving curricula.

The second teachers blog that I commented on was on a blog site called Two Cents Worth by David Warlick. Mr. Warlick's post wasn't as lengthy as others but it sill made some very valid points. "In much the same ways that we all conduct our essential learning outside of school" was one of the biggest things that stuck out to me because that is something we focus on in our class. We are learning about and using various technologies in the classroom, some being very similar to the things we use outside of the classroom. I find this very important because that is what students today really want out of their education. They want to know that everything they are learning is something real and relative to their lives instead of something they just might need to know someday. Students want what they are learning to be applicable and giving them the opportunity to use various technologies in the classrooms allows that.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Post 9

What Can Teachers and Students Teach Us About Project Based Learning?

This is the question we were told to answer when approaching this week's blog post. What can we learn from our peers about project based learning and how can we apply to that our classroom. Project based learning has been our main focus in EDM310 for the majority of the semester and for good reason. With every blog post assignment or project we are assigned that concentrates on PBL, I learn something new. It might not be a lot of new information every time, but it is always a little something. This week, we were given several resources to watch and read over. Many of them were very helpful and informative in showing different aspects of PBL with in different subjects, like math and english for example. In PBL - High School Math, Sammamish High School is in the process of redesigning the curriculum of 30 courses which will affect about 75 teachers. One of the main things they emphasized in the video was the challenge of incorporating project based learning into the curriculum of math and english. Within these two subjects, they were just worried about losing the most important themes and lessons in the requirement of adding in PBL, although they were wanting to do so. One successful project that one of the math teachers came up with that involved PBL was during their lesson on probability. The teacher had her students create their own game. I think this was very clever in a couple ways. First, what kid does not love playing games of some some kind. Second, involving that love of games in school can only motivate students to create a successful project.

After all of the reading and watching to prepare myself for this blog post, I found that Seven Essentials to Project Based Learning was very informative. John R. Mergendoller and John Larmer did a great job at explaining to us the seven necessary ingredients to having a successful PBL lesson. They explained that the key is meaningful learning, the process of students' learning and the depth of their cognitive engagement- rather than the resulting project- that distinguishes projects from busywork. In order for the project to be meaningful, it needs to fulfill two criteria. First, students must see the work as personally meaningful to them and as a task that matters to them and one that they want to take pride in. Second, the project must have an educational purpose that is well-designed and well-implemented. They also went in-depth to discus the seven essentials to PBL.
1). Need to Know: In order to kick off a successful project, teachers need to activate in the students a need-to-know mentality. A good way to do this is to have an "entry event" of some kind to introduce the project and its driving question. This introduction needs to intrigue your students to engage their interest and stir up some questions. One of the worst things a teacher can do when introducing a new project is to walk into class with a stack full of info packets saying, "Here is your new project. Let's read over it and get started." Students will most instantly shut down and lose motivation if you do this. Teachers need to catch their attention to make them want learn more about the topic and initiate questions of their own. By making the project compelling and intriguing, the students' attitudes turn into, "Okay, I'm going to do this because I have accepted this challenge and I will learn all I need to succeed!"
2). A Driving Question: A good driving question needs to clearly capture the core of the project that gives the students a challenge and sense of purpose. The driving question should be "proactive, open-ended, complex, and linked to the heart" of what they need to learn. Without the driving question, the students may not understand why they are doing this project and what they are supposed to learn from it.
3). Student Voice and Choice: This element is key. "The more, the better" is the motto within this essential factor. Teachers need to design a project that allows the student to choose a style that fits them and and their learning style. Then students should also be able to choose a topic to study within the the general driving question and choose how to design, create, and present products. Another option similar to this is to provide the students with a list of options for creative products to prevent students from becoming too overwhelmed with choices. A good example of doing this I thought would be to simply let the students create their own project either individually or in a group. The students will come up with their own driving question within the topic we are studying. From here, the students will present to the teacher a proposal of their project within all of the guidelines given to them. Once they have done this, the teacher will tell them the plus and minuses of the project and adjust what is needed. By doing this, I think that students will be even motivated than we could anticipate and drive them to take pride in what they are doing and prove their success.
4). 21st Century Skills: Every project should give the students the chance to build on and improve their 21st century skills. These skills include collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology. Collaboration and communication are key to group projects. Critical thinking is also very important because you use that in using rubrics to guide and evaluate their work and progress throughout the project. These 21st century skills meets the second criteria which is to have an important and meaningful purpose for the project.
5). Inquiry and Innovation: Real inquiry is important. In that they follow their own trails that they have developed from their own questions, which lead them to test their ideas and draw their own conclusions. Closely following real inquiry is innovation. Innovation is simply a "new answer to a driving question, a new product, or an individually generated solution to a problem". One of the biggest things that a classroom should do is encourage and appreciate questioning, hypothesizing, and openness to new ideas and perspectives.
6). Feedback and Revision: Students need to learn that revision is a reoccurrence in the real world because it is often that people's first attempt isn't of the best quality. The teacher should teach the students how to use rubrics and give proper feedback to their peers.
7). A Publicly Presented Product: Students should be able to have the opportunity to present their project to an audience outside of the classroom. Having their project seen and appreciate by people other than just their peers gives the students a sense of pride for what they have accomplished. Students see their work as more meaningful when it is done for more than just a test or the teacher.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Post 8

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

All I can say about Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture can be summarized into single word right now... WOW! When I first saw that the video was an hour and 16 minutes long, I thought to myself, "Are you serious? There is no way I'm going to be able to watch a lecture video this long without getting bored." I admit now that I could not have been more wrong about my initial assumptions. After a few minutes into watching the lecture, I was intrigued. I knew I wasn't going to be able to stop watching until the end. While Randy's lecture was fun and entertaining, it was very powerful and inspiring. Honestly, I needed to hear something like this.

"Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things... they tell us what we are capable of."- Dr. Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a brilliant man and an amazing educator who had a very positive outlook on life. Because of this, something that was very important to him was to live out your childhood dreams and make them happen for you. As teachers, this is something we should all hold dear to us and never forget. One of the biggest things that kids believe is their dreams no matter how impractical they are. Their dreams are what makes them enthusiastic and inspired. It is our job to enable the childhood dreams of others and make our students believe that any dream is possible. There are many ways to do this but one is to never set a bar for your students to reach. Your students can surprise you and being the teacher does not mean that you know what your students are capable of. If your student blows you away on their first attempt, surpassing all of your expectations, do not let them be satisfied with just stopping there. Tell them, "That is great, but you can do better." One of the best things you can do for your students is not set a bar and to keep pushing them because that is how they learn what they are capable of and that they can even surprise themselves. Also, give your students chances and opportunities to show off that same great work that gets better and better. Like Randy said, "One of the best things you can give your student is the gift of appreciation and excitement from their peers." In all of this though, you need to make sure they know that you are not going to give up on them. When you mess up and no one says anything to you about to discipline or correct you, it means they have given up on you. It is a good thing to be criticized and corrected, so do not be afraid to do that to your students because one of the worst mistakes teachers can make is enable the kids to believe that you do not believe in them. If they think that to be true, then they will not believe in themselves and no longer have any excitement and pride in their work.

Another thing that Dr. Pausch seemed to stress was that everything is a learning process. Like his quote stated earlier, that brick wall is there for a reason, it is there to teach you. When you hit that wall and you do not achieve what you were trying to do, remember to appreciate the experiences and lessons you get from that because most of what we learn we learn indirectly. In that, you learn what you can do to get past that wall and stay there. If there is a math problem you can't seem to understand or a research paper that you just keep getting stuck on, don't give up on it. Do some research, keep trying practice problems and you will see that are capable of understanding what you though you couldn't. As teachers, helping our students get past that brick wall to get one step closer to their dreams is our responsibility.

Randy's whole lecture was just great and filled with many tips and life lessons about how to be the best teacher and even person you could be. There were a few things he called "Lessons Learned" at the end of the lecture that really stood out to me that I'd like to share real quick:
- The role of parents and mentors is more influential than you realize
- Respect authority, but also question it
- "Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?" Always tell them to just have fun!
- Never lose your child-like wonder, it is what drives us
- Loyalty and Respect is two-way street that has to be earned
- Listen to the feedback you receive
- Find the best in everyone

Monday, October 6, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Post 7

How do we all become learners?

A major part in Project Based Learning is being able to use the best tools possible when it comes to technology. College students today who are studying and preparing to be teachers grew up learning very differently than today's younger students. Kids today have many more resources and opportunities to learn that I could not have dreamed of when I was their age.

- Familiar with iPads, computers, and some Apple programs
- Received a small taste of new technology and educational programs my last year or two of high school
- Motivated and dedicated to learning new technology

- Unfamiliar with the programs students are using today like Discovery Education, Poplet, and Alabama Virtual Library
- Have heard of and seen QR codes, but have not used them or know much about them
- Did not have these numerous online resources and technologies when I was younger like kids today

For this project we were given several videos to watch and think about. In doing this, I realized how many amazing opportunities students now have to research and access to programs that I did not even know existed. But, of course, this means that I have a lot of catching up to do. I want my students to be able to learn as much as they can, which means I need to learn as much as I can about this new stuff. With these videos, I have come even one step closer to doing that and being ready to teach once I graduate.

QR Codes:
I have never known much about what QR codes are, I have only ever just seen them on products in grocery stores. How to Make an Audio QR Code showed me a whole new side of QR codes that I did not existed. If I'm being honest, when I used to see a QR code on a product in a store, I thought that it was the security stamp that would set the alarms off if you walked out the door with it without paying. Mrs. Bennet at Gulf Shores Middle School was very helpful in showing me the usefulness of QR codes and the ways to use them in a classroom. A helpful website that she used to teach us about QR codes was This website allows you to simply record your voice and convert it into a URL. Once you get the URL, you can then take it to where you can insert the URL and get a QR code in return that you can then copy and paste to a document of your choice. QR codes are basically an I.D. badge for a product, voice recording, movie, or really anything. By scanning the code, you get an abundant amount of information. One way Ms. Bennett discussed in her video was for parent-teacher meetings. The parents can scan the code and get voice recordings and information about the class.

iPad Reading Center of Ginger Tuck's Kindergarten Classes:
One thing that the iPad reading center allowed the students to do was video themselves reading various things. By doing this, the kids were able to go back and listen to themselves as they follow along with what they were reading. This allowed them to see if they were pronouncing words correctly and teach them to learn from their mistakes and correct themselves. This can be very useful in the learning process for students because it gives them a clearer idea of how words are supposed to sound in their own voices. Another program, or app, that the students can use in the iPad Reading Center is Poplet. Poplet teaches students to create webs for the topic or subject they are studying. You simply put your topic in the center box and from there you have several boxes that expand out from the center that you can put various text, information, pictures, and videos about your center topic. An interesting feature that Poplet has is that you can search within the app to find information and save media about your topic that you can later insert into your web. Another part of Poplet that is useful to kids is that you can read books off of Poplet that has a voice option that lets the book be read to the student. Overall, this Poplet app can improve their reading, researching, and typing skills.

Alabama Virtual Library as a Kindergarten Center:
AVL is an app that you can learn about from lessons in the library and later download to the an iPad to help them research in class. This allows the students to search their subjects or keywords and get information they can use to help them, for example, complete worksheets and projects. In Ginger Tuck's center, she hands out worksheets to her students and each week they have a different category of words they can choose from to search. The first week, they draw pictures of the words they have chosen by searching their words and finding examples on Alabama Virtual Library. The next week, Ms. Tuck's students add a sentence to their picture they redraw that contains information about their word. By this time the kids have learned how to and are able to research, watch, and listen by themselves. It shows they actually know what they are doing within the AVL application.

Mrs. Shirley's 1st Grade Class- How to use and build a board in Discovery Education for a Project Based Lesson:
At Gulf Shores Elementary School, Tammy Shirley is introducing her students to a website known as Discovery Education. This website allows students, parents, and teachers numerous free opportunities to do research, save links and media, and many other features. One of these features that she has emphasized to her students is making boards. Once you create a board, you have the option to choose a background, title, pictures, text, and videos within a limitless amount of boxes. In order for you to safely search for information and media for you board, all you have to do is search a keyword about a topic. If you'd like to save or bookmark any specific links, pictures, or videos, you just need to click the plus sign next to the media and it is saved to your quick list. This website also saves all of your boards for you. Discovery Education has become very useful; and, from the look of Mrs. Shirley's videos, her students have become experts at this program to the point where they have taught me something new. This is, also, just another lesson of how important it is for the teacher to be open to letting the students teach us something for a change.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blog Post 6

What can you learn from a conversation with Anthony Capps?

Watching the videos and conversations that Dr. Strange had with Anthony Capps was both very informative and a great reminder of things I learned in some other education classes I took back at Southern Miss. Project based learning has been the main topic in our EDM310 class for some time now and every time we have assignment about it, I learn something new.

In Project Based Learning Part 1, Mr. Capps started off about by discussing what we have been learning and the basics of project based learning. One thing I think I have known throughout this learning process without even realizing it is that it is very important for the project to include enough aspects and requirements to make sure that the students learn all of the content and material they have to know and not just parts of it. Mr. Capps did a great job at reminding e of this and bringing it to my attention. From my experience from doing group projects, I found that it is very easy for us to gain the minimal amount of knowledge just so we can finish our part, not all the material that is outside of our role in the project. Sometimes we allow this to happen without even knowing its happening. Like Anthony pointed out, once again, we see that it is very necessary for the students to be involved in all facets of the project, enabling them to learn all of the content they can. Another thing that Mr. Capps reminded me of was the method of t-charts and how useful they can be. T-charts are something you use to prove your answer to be correct or incorrect. You simply put your answer and question on top and underneath you list your reasons for why you think your answer is correct on one side and incorrect on the other, whether those reasons are fact or opinion. Using the charts can really help the students by helping them learn to reason their thoughts and answers for themselves.

Like Part 1, Project Based Learning Part 2 Anthony brought to light some great thoughts and projects he did with his third grade students. One of his projects that he discussed was and exploration project. His class had been studying cultures before approaching this project, which allowed the students to apply all that they had learned throughout the whole process. Mr. Capps specific region and had them write a script portraying a student or child in that specified region. Once the students finished their script, they turned to iMovie to make a presentation and bring their script to life by including pictures and videos of their regions. Because they just studied the aspects of culture and all that implied, the students were able to cover everything from food, language, clothing, geography, and etc. From Mr. Capps enthusiasm while discussing the project, you can take that it was a huge success and that the students truly enjoyed it and were proud of their work. His statement, "With project based learning, you're going to get more than you expect. Never limit your students and create opportunities for them to go above and beyond," is something that I will definitely remember when teaching my future students because kids will seriously surprise you. Another topic that Mr. Capps and Dr. Strange briefly discussed was incorporating art into the classroom. I personally think the idea Anthony had about allowing his students to paint their final scene as their reward was a fantastic idea. Art has been seen by most students as the "fun" part of school, which can result in a great increase in motivation in the classroom when incorporate art in some way. Like I mentioned earlier these videos reminded me of some things I learned back at Southern Miss, especially my art education class. This art education focused on incorporating art into subject field possible to help motivate and encourage students to learn in their own way, while also learning the important techniques and methods of art to allow us to incorporate art properly. For example, when we studied the beginnings of art, we discussed the Lascaux Caves in France and their ancient drawings and meanings. In doing this, we were given our first project, which was to do a cave drawing of our own using various materials available to us and proper sketching techniques. In addition, we later studied Vincent van Gogh, his love of portraits, and the many letters he wrote to peers of his time, including his brother Theo van Gogh. Our project for this study was to create a portrait of ourselves invoking van Gogh and to write a letter to van Gogh about our portrait. One last example comes from a book we were asked to make about Walter Inglis Anderson, an artist from the early 1900s. The book included our own interpretations of his art, some of his poetry, and his home. Below are some pictures of these projects:

Cave Painting Project

Vincent van Gogh Portrait Project
(made only from paint chips)

Walter Inglis Anderson Project

Of course, I see now that my professor was actually using project based learning to teach us how to be successful teachers, even though we weren't working in groups. I also must admit, it definitely worked because I still remember all of those lessons from that class today, two and a half years later.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blog Post 5

What are Personal Learning Networks (PLN)? How can they help you as a teacher? How are they formed? How can you create your own PLN? Who will be the first additions to your PLN?

A PLN (Personal Learning Network) is a quality list of a set of tools, resources, and people that you can rely on to help you, collaborate and consult with, and assist you with just about anything you could possibly need when doing research for a project or any kind of learning experience. When I first came into this blog post assignment, I had no idea what a PNL is. I had never heard of it in school growing up, which truly shows how technology in school systems has advanced, considering that elementary through high schoolers rely on these for research. When I began looking in to this post, I found the sources Personal Learning Networks Are Virtual Lockers for Schoolkids within Vicki Davis's blog, Developing A Personal Learning Network by my EDM310 teacher John Strange, and Welcome to My PLE! very helpful in discovering what a PLN is, how to set one up for myself, and how to use it.

When I began to look in to PLNs and how I was going to begin to create my own, I decided to use Symbaloo and see how it could all work. So far I have an account set with Symbaloo connected to my Google account, in fact, I went ahead and made it my official homepage because of how useful I found it. Within Symbaloo, you can pick and choose your own icons and, what they call, Webmixes that are quick links to practically any social media, news, research, and entertainment website out there. For example, I have all of my social medias that I am a part of on mine along with ABC, NBC, and CBS news, The New York Journal, The Huffington Post, and other basic things such as Google, Google drive, and Gmail. When I saw that I can pick basically anything to help enhance my learning experience, I figured why not have every possible link on there for my to access. The more links I acquire, the more opportunities I will have to learn and find new information. Here are actually some pictures of my Symbaloos:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Post 4

What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?

In a classroom, asking questions is one of the most important things a teacher can do for his or her students. As a teacher, you want your questions to make students think and encourage them to ask more questions and participate. In order for this to happen, you need to ask good questions, not just everyday, average questions. When preparing to write this blog post for class, we were given a few good resources to read over and get some answers. The two sources I found most helpful are The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom by Ben Johnson and Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Welmer, PhD.

One of the main purposes behind asking questions in the classroom is to check for understanding from the students This can benefit the teacher and the student. Perhaps one of the least affective question to ask to check for understanding would be, "Does everybody understand?". When a teacher asks this question, we all know that the student will most likely just answer this question with a "yes" or no response whether they actually understand or not. When you ask a yes or no question, such as this one, they know that the teacher is wanting to hear a "yes" in return or a positive response, so, that's what the student responds with. Like Ben Johnson stated in his blog, when you ask this type of question you are basically stating "This is your last chance. If you do not have question, then i assume that you understand and I can move on to the next subject. I am absolved from any lack of understanding on your part because I asked this fair question, and gave you a fair chance to answer." A problem with this is that the students may not know that they do not understand, therefore, they do not know to ask questions to help them better their understanding. The question to answer now is, how do we appropriately check for the students' understanding? We need to ask specific questions that do not require a yes or no response.

In The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom, Mr. Johnson makes another great observation. When a teacher is giving a lecture and stops to ask a question, the classroom is then divided into basically three different groups of students; the smart kids who try to answer every question, the not as smart kids who rely on the smart kids to answer, so they don't have to, and the kids who simply do not care to answer. Johnson went to numerous classrooms to observe this and saw that students usually assumed one of these roles by the fourth grade and acted accordingly in the classroom. I, for one, can understand this 100% because I was one of the students who assumed one of these roles growing up. I put myself in the group of students who were not as smart and were okay with the smart kids answering all of the questions. Looking back at my those days now, I see that I had to study much more outside of class because, by not answering or asking question in class like the smart kids, I did not learn as much as I could have and I understanding things less. Some teachers see this happening in their classrooms and are okay with it because they reason that the rest of the students are learning from the answers that the other students are giving. This can be true in some cases, but it is very rare because students who are not answering the questions are usually sighing in relief that they do not have to answer and lose interest in the question completely. Other teachers try to mix it up by trying to call on a specific students to answer the question, so the rest of the students can think about their answer, but in reality, the students are once again sighing in relief that they did not get called on. Mary buds Rowe had a simple and effective solution to this misunderstanding. Mary suggested that teachers should ask a question, pause for a few seconds to give every student in the class the chance to think about the question and of an answer, and then call on a student by name at random and sometimes more than once. By doing this, it allows the students to ponder for the answer, instead of instantly being relieved and zoning out the question all together.

Maryellen Welmer discusses some great ways to asking affective questions in Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom. Like I mentioned earlier, a wood question can and will make a student think and anchorage them to participate and dig further for the answer than they usually would. Welmer suggested three easy ways or steps to asking successful questions. First, you should prepare your questions ahead of time. By doing this your questions can be much more clear, not only by clear wording but, also, concept-wise as well. It will give you a chance to ask yourself ahead of time if this is a question that needs to be asked, if it is relevant, and when the best time to ask this question would be. Second, you should try to play around with some questions. Questions can lose their power to encourage and engage the students as soon as it is answered. One way to prevent this would be to possibly leave a question unanswered for a while. For example, you could propose the question at the beginning of a presentation or lecture and leaving it to be answered at the end of class, giving the students plenty of time to really ponder the question and figure out an answer or even another good question of their own. Another way to play with a question would be to ask a question and allow the students to discuss amongst them and write down all of their possible answers and ideas to give to the teacher. The teacher can then discuss each possible answer's merit and detriments to ensure that every student understands why an answer is correct or incorrect. Lastly, a good method is to preserve the good questions whether they are your own questions or questions students ask in class. If you want to keep a good question fresh and relevant throughout a series of lectures on a subject, then a good way to do that is to perhaps rephrase and reword the same question and state different versions of the question in each lecture on a certain topic. Another way to do this is have the students thinking on your question while you discuss another question that was raised by another student in a different class. By doing this, it will show the students that you appreciate and value their questions and input and, possibly, encourage them to put their opinion out there. Like Maryellen stated, "The best questions a student can ask are ones we [as teachers] can not answer."

Like previously discussed, questions are very important to the classroom and learning experience. We, as teachers, need to ask questions so students can see the importance of questions.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Post 3

How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback To Your Peers?

Peer Editing can be a little tricky for some people. This is true in my case. I have always found it difficult for me to peer edit because, like in Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes, I worry about being too picky or not insightful enough. I can read a paragraph or two and notice many things that are either incorrectly spelled, have poor word choice, or just a bad sentence, but it is important for me to remember that they might think differently than I do and thought that the word was a better choice than I did. That blogger could have chose that word or sentence structure for a reason and we, as readers, can not predict what that reasoning was. That is why I struggle with peer editing. You have to keep a good balance in order for you not to offend someone by being too harsh or picky when critiquing, but also, not to be too lenient and let things slide that shouldn't. If you become too lenient on someone or scared when editing, then they will not be able to learn and correct mistakes, you will not be enabling them to improve.

Peer Editing and Peer Edit with Perfection! Tutorial both teach you an exceptional three step system to be a successful peer editor. First, you need to compliment the writer. It is important for you to stay positive and be specific when complimenting someone's work. How would you feel if someone was negative and only pointed things out that were wrong and need to be changed? You wouldn't appreciate and you might even be offended by it. In light of this, always be sure to emphasize the good things they did. An easy way to do this would be to pay a compliment for every negative critique or two you mention. Second, be sure to give suggestions. When finding something incorrect or simply in need or improving, it is important that you give some suggestions on how to make the work better. An example of this could be something as easy as suggestion some words that my be better word choices that can add something a little extra. Lastly, there is making corrections to your peer's paper. This simply means checking spelling, grammar, punctuations, and sentences. If you see mistakes in any of those areas, then do not be afraid to nicely correct them. Peer editing can really be an exceptional learning tool, but it is important that you remember these three things: stay positive, be specific, and complete all three steps.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blog Post 2

What Will Teaching in the 21st Century be Like?

In the Mr. Dancealot, the central message is that you cannot always expect students to learn just because you put a powerpoint presentation with all the notes on it in front of them and expect the to just learn. For example, in the video the professor is trying to teach a dance class by showing them notes and diagrams without letting them actually dance to learn. In fact, he actually tells a student to sit down when he attempts to get up and practice it in class. In some classrooms and with some students you can put up a slideshow with outlines, notes, and diagrams and the students will learn something. With classes that involve hands on learning and teaching like a dance or any kind of activity-based class, slideshows will not teach them like the students need to be taught. Showing people who want to learn how to dance cannot learn by sitting in a classroom all day and looking at diagrams with no practice and no demonstrations. You see this proven when the professor makes the students dance for the final and they do not know how to dance because Mr. Dancealot never showed them. I definitely agree with the central message and what they are trying to say about teaching techniques.

While watching Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts, you see that he finds it very important to engage the students in teaching them how to use their every day technological abilities for educational purposes so they can actually learn instead of being temporarily entertained. You can see this in the following arguments he makes John Strange version of this video:
The roles we have in the lives of our students becomes obsolete if all we can do for them is provide...
- Facts
- Content
- Theories
- Formulas
- Research
- Stories
- Theories
Teachers become filters instead the main source of knowledge because students now endless sources of information.
- Social Media
- Search engines like Google
- Youtube
- Simply access to smart phones, iPods, iPads, and computers
Our main purposes in being educators has changed in the 21st century.
- Teach them to handle these resources
- Change our focus from facts to skills
- Teach them to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create
In the classroom, we need to rethink the tools we use and the types of problems we ask students to solve.
How do we manage laptops, cellphones, and iPods at school?
- The tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of bad behavior
- All lessons need to be relevant, challenging, engaging and not entertaining
Engagement starts with the educators.
- See what is out there
- Start small
- Collaborate
- Take a risk
- Remember the big picture, what does it mean to teach in the 21st century?
I agree with basically all the points that Roberts made. I believe that it has become more and more important for us to teach students how to make today's technology still relevant and engaging now that students have access to so many resources. we need to make it one of our main objectives to teach students that these resources are not just there for entertainment, but can be used in many ways in learning.

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler points out many positives to be a networked student, but here's the question now, does the networked student even need a teacher? My answer to this question is an absolute yes. Teachers are there to teach these students how to network successfully. The teacher is also there to help him along the way in case he hits a roadblock in his researching, to help in deciding what is a good source to share and which is not, and to get excited for him and encourage him when he has reached success. I find that it is very important for teachers to encourage their students to be a networked student, but to, also, stay relevant throughout the course and be there for the student.

Vicki Davis's video Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts definitely shows you how beneficial technology can be in a classroom. The methods she uses allows her students to become engaged with other students in their class and with other people around the world. It definitely creates many opportunities for her students. One part that stood out to me is how she emphasized that she allows her students to also teach her. She expects her students to look up things they do not know or understand instead of her always spoon-feeding them the information. In doing that, the students end up teaching her things as well, which I think is very important for educators to do in the classroom.

Who's Ahead in the Learning Race? After watching this video, I definitely see that elementary students are ahead in the learning race. If look back at my third grade experience 14 years ago, I can not even imagine learning what these kids are learning. I am currently in my fifth year of college and I'm having a hard time learning how to use all of these resources. If I had to place myself in this race, I do not think I would be that close to the top. I would probably be closer to the bottom half than top half.

When watching the video Flipping The Classroom, I found that much of the information being presented sounded somewhat familiar in a way. I never had that kind of opportunity in fourth grade like she was discussing, but I did have a few things similar to flipping the classroom in my later years of schools and definitely in college. The concept is not new to me, but the idea of using that in elementary schools is and I see that idea as a positive change for younger students. Flipping the classroom will allow the students to have more time with their teacher to discus what they did not understand in class which will definitely be beneficial for the student. I think this will be very useful to me as a teacher in some ways. I plan on teaching history to high schoolers and by flipping the classroom, I will be able to give them a full lecture the night before. In doing that, class time will consist of me being to emphasize the most important details of the lecture and leaving more time for discussion and questioning.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog Post 1

What About EDM310?

I have heard may things about the EDM310 class, probably more bad than good. Some negative things that I have heard are that it is very time consuming, requires much of your attention, and can be very hard if you are necessarily good with computers. When I signed up to take this class, I was honestly dreading it. I have friends that have taken this class before and they have said it can be very difficult for some people. Hearing this made me very scared because, honestly, I am not a good at prioritizing and I am a procrastinator. Of course, I will have to change that about myself in order to do well in this class. I have heard some positive things about this class, though. Most comments have been involving things about how much this class teaches you and how much you can benefit from it in the long run.

EDM310 is very different than my other classes. Most classes, especially my history courses, are about memorizing and regurgitating information and that is it. This class is very "hands on" I guess you could say. It allows to truly learn and gain the information we need in order to become "technologically literate" when we become teachers.

I think the most difficult part of EDM310 for me will be prioritizing my time and being sure to set aside enough time to get my work done. I work at Foosackly's and a little side job that takes up a lot of my time during the week and, especially, the weekends. I believe that being able to work an ample amount of time will be my biggest challenge to, but I also believe that I will be overcome it with some dedication.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Practice Blog Post

What I Want My Students To Know

Who am I?
- My name
- Where I am from
- My interests and passions
- Why I am attending USA
Why do I want to be and educator?
- Who influenced me
- What kind of impact she had
What does an educator do in his or her practice?
- To teach the students
- To help the students appreciate learning and want to learn
- Help the students in a way they understand it

My name is Caroline Faith Kennedy and I am from Mobile, Alabama. I was born and raised here in Mobile until I was 16 years old which is when I moved to Katy, Texas with my parents to finish high school. Once I graduated high school I moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. I spent three and a half years of college there before transferring to the University of South Alabama here in Mobile. I truly enjoyed my time at Southern Miss, but I began to miss my hometown and my friends very much so I made the decision to transfer to South Alabama in the middle of my senior year. Throughout all of my high school and college years, I truly enjoyed three things; sports, history, and art. I loved volleyball, softball, and, especially, football. I guess you could say that football is my favorite season of the year. Another passion of mine is art. I have always enjoyed painting, sketching, and any kind of creative, artsy projects. A big passion of mine, though, is history.

When I was going through middle school, I had this one history teacher that was just one of the best teachers that I have ever known. She was so passionate about history and you could tell how much she loved teaching it to her students, but most importantly, you could see how proud of us she was when she would that light go on in our heads when we finally understood something. Mrs. Mason really cared about her students and she knew that each of us learned a different way, therefore she taught us in different ways. She is the reason I want to be a history teacher. Everyone could see how much she inspired her students and how much she let her students inspire her. Mrs. Mason is the example of how educators should practice and that is how I hope to practice. I want to get excited and proud of students when they finally understand something. I want to inspire students and teach them to enjoy what they are studying.