Saturday, November 29, 2014

Personal Learning Networks Part 2

In September, I posted about my Personal Learning Network (PLN). As I previously thought, my PLN has grown just within the last couple of months in this class. I've continued to make friends in my classes that I can turn to whenever I need help or advice. I also met several teachers during my time tutoring in an elementary school. I think they will absolutely be there for me if I ever need any questions answered. I've learned how easy it is to find teachers or other experts through the internet whether it be personal websites, blogs, or social media pages. I'm looking forward to watching my PLN continue to grow, because in turn, my knowledge and understanding of teaching concepts can grow too!

PLN map

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

C4T Summary #4

Header from blog
This month, we were allowed to choose our own teacher blog to comment on. I chose Primary Perspective by Deb Frazier based on the facts that 1. she teaches first grade which is one of the grades I would like to teach, and 2. it appeared she was very up-to-date. Unfortunately, however, my first comment has yet to be approved and she hasn't posted anything in over a month. Anyway, I did still find her posts very interesting.

In "Shelfari~ Another Tool in Building Wild Readers", Ms. Frazier writes about a website that allows people to create virtual bookshelves. She registers her students and they create their own shelves of books they have read or wish to read. This is really exciting for her class because they can share the books with their classmates and even tweet them out for a larger audience to see.
In my comment, I told Ms. Frazier that I had never heard of Shelfari. I think it sounds like a great resource, though, especially considering how excited the students get about it. I'm really glad I came to her blog and found this post, because Shelfari is definitely something I want to keep in mind for my own classroom.

"The Best Part of Teaching~ Learning Alongside the Kids" focuses on what Ms. Frazier has learned from her students recently. She mentions that during the day they form a circle to share their work, but one day they shared books instead because that is what she overheard the kids already talking about. This worked so well that she began doing the same with their writing as well. She even says that she may have them sharing digitally to ensure that every student is being heard.
My comment is as follows:
It really is amazing what you can learn from students! I've only spent a limited amount of time in classrooms so far in my schooling, but I've still probably learned more from the children than they've learned from me. Your post is a great reminder to listen on in their conversations and see what they are interested in. It's great to take that and run with it to turn it into a great learning experience as well as a simple conversation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blog Post #14

"Teaching Our Children Can Be a Profession" is an article by Joel Klein in USA Today. In this article, Klein explains different things he would change in schools to make them better. He lists several thoughts, such as having more school choices, using technology, and starting an education before a child is five years old, but he focuses on the main problem being that teaching needs to be professionalized. The different points he makes are as follows:

- Better teachers should be hired based on their academic training and success.

- Seniority should be abolished because it makes it almost impossible to remove a bad teacher from his or her job and because all teachers are paid the same regardless of how well they do their jobs.
Photo of Joel Klein

- Teachers should establish their own standards for teaching and removing teachers that aren't up to par. They would also be able to move up a career ladder based on merits and testing. Teachers would support the abandonment of mandatory public school assignments.

I fully agree with Klein's first argument that teachers should be hired based on academic training and success. He mentions that schools in 23 states do not have math or reading education programs. He goes on to say later that teachers should be hired from the top 1/3 of graduates. I think this is not a bad idea because teaching is so important. If it weren't for teachers, students who are graduating as the nations top lawyers and doctors wouldn't be where they are today. It only makes sense for well-educated and intelligent people to be hired to share their knowledge with children.

Next, I also support that seniority should not dictate who is allowed to keep their job in the event that layoffs are required. Knowing that I'll be the newest teacher in school, but also knowing I will strive to be one of the best teachers there, it doesn't seem fair to me that I could be doing a great job but get laid off because an older but less competent teacher has been there longer. Besides that, as I was saying earlier, teaching is important and we should be striving for greatness. I don't know that this would actually happen, but hypothetically, what if a teacher were to slack off once she reached a good spot in her seniority? Her students would no longer be receiving the education they deserve and that would reflect back on the school and everyone else on the staff.

Lastly, I am not sure how I feel about everything Klein mentioned in his last paragraph. In my opinion, teachers creating their own board to police the teachers and terminate incompetent ones would create an unnecessary amount of friction in schools. Teachers are supposed to be working together and getting along with one another, so I don't think leaving it up to them to judge each other would be the best solution. However, I do agree that teachers should be able to move up the ladder and be promoted. Once again, this promotes good teaching habits. I also think it could be beneficial for students if their parents were able to choose which school they wanted them to attend based on the academics rather than being placed somewhere. Private schools operate this way and it works out well, so I don't see why it couldn't be something that the public school system could try to implicate.

Overall, Joel Klein has some very good ideas about ways to improve teaching by making it into a profession. This career should be well-respected. We students go through a lot of stress, testing, and schoolwork to graduate into this field and should all strive to be the best teachers there are. These ideas would help to encourage teachers to do well and promote the rest of the population to view us as well-rounded, intelligent people.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

C4K November Summary

For the first week of November, I was assigned Ekisha. She lives in Canada and wrote a post titled "Start Thinking About Others". She discussed that being from Canada, she has a lot of rights, but many people around the world do not even have basic rights such as food, water, or schooling. She proposed that we work together to help the people who are not as fortunate as us. In my comment, I told her her I think it’s really awesome that she's learning about her rights and other people’s rights, and that it's great she realizes that some children don’t have it as well off as we do in free countries! I included that she may one day be able to work with an organization that helps needy children.

My next assignment, Lauren's blog on Printmaking was written about how to create prints using a linoleum block. Lauren wrote about the steps she took, and about how difficult hers was because she had to do everything backwards in order for it to print the right way. I told Lauren that printmaking was actually exactly what we had done in my college art class that week. I went on to say that she took on a huge challenge by recreating a logo and that it had turned out great - it really did look good!

My last C4K assignment for the semester was to Madeline. It appears her assignment was to create a post using her vocabulary words. It is titled "1st Quarter Reflection". She wrote about how she had improved in reading and writing this quarter because at the beginning they were not her "forte," but now she is beginning to enjoy doing them both. In my comment, I said that when I was her age I was not very interested in writing either, but that if she continues to work on it she will enjoy it even more.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Post #13

This assignment was to come up with an idea for a blog post in my area of interest (which is elementary education) that hadn't been touched on yet already by Dr. Strange. After thinking for a very long time, I decided that it would be important to talk about how to set up and manage a classroom in this technologically advanced world we're living in. Although technology is a great thing, there are certainly some rules and guidelines that should be put in place to ensure myself and my students are using it only for the best reasons.


Write a blog post on how you would arrange and manage your future classroom with the use of technology in mind. What are some rules you would include for your students to follow? How would the classroom be set up? Search for blogs, articles, videos, and other resources that could give you some ideas and provide some of your own.
These sites are a good place to start:
Technology Up to Speed
10 Classroom Technology Policies That Work

My Response

Although I do believe my idea of the perfect classroom arrangement will change a thousand times before and after I become a teacher, from my experience thus far I have a pretty good idea of how to do things! To begin with, the front part of my classroom will include nothing besides the whiteboard/SmartBoard, the desks, and an area to turn in work. This is to be sure that my students will be focused on me whenever I need them to be with no other distractions. In the back of the classroom, however, there will be different activities, games, and technology for the students to use depending on what grade I'm teaching. I think it's important to have the technology center close to the teacher desk so that I can monitor what is happening in that area if I'm sitting there. As mentioned in #7 of this article, a teacher bought a shoe rack to hold her students' personal devices. This idea made me think it would be necessary to buy or make something to house the iPads that will most likely be provided for my classroom. This too would be in the technology center near my desk. There will also be a reading center with a full bookshelf and chairs to read in.

Back to the devices that will be in my room, though. With expensive pieces of equipment and the power of the internet, comes great responsibility! For that reason, there will be several rules in place for the use of laptops, iPads, and the SmartBoard. Of course everyone probably knows the basics - no food or drink around them, keep the areas clean, only print when necessary, etc. Besides those, there are other guidelines that should be put into place - some specifically for the students, some as reminders to ourselves as teachers. Some examples I've thought of are as follows:
Keep Calm and Follow the Rules image
1. Students may only use technology with permission.
2. Carry one iPad at a time. No running with them. Hold it tightly with both hands.
3. Students will use only the safe-search engines that they have been provided with.
4. There will be no games unless told otherwise.
5. Do not download any apps without permission (or for the teacher: without reviewing them first).
6. Give the students a lecture and a list of ideas for kind words to be used online. Cyber bullying is a very real thing that I definitely don't want my students to be involved in!

Seeing as this is only a very short list, I know there are some things I have left out.
My point is just that it's really crucial to know what students are doing online, keep them guarded and out of trouble, and also keep our precious devices safe! Just something to keep thinking about over time.

Project #12

This is a video lesson from my group's continents lesson plan that we created earlier in the semester. We used the SmartBoard to carry out this lesson. My group members include myself, Ronni Nall, and Hunter Tallent.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Post #12

These are three short presentations by members of Group #1 about assistive technologies and ways to help hearing and visually impaired students in the classroom.

Assistive Technologies for Hearing Impaired Children by Laura Andrews

Teaching Math to the Blind by Ronni Nall

The Mountbatten Brailer by Hunter Tallent

Thursday, November 6, 2014

C4T Summary #3

See Mary Teach logo

Mary Worrell is an American Secondary English and Literature teacher that is living abroad. Her blog post "Hints of Budding Multigenre Success" focuses on how she has attempted to do multigenre projects in her 9th and 10th grade classrooms. She doesn't try to sugarcoat it, and it really good about pointing out her own mistakes and challenges. She also lists her requirements for projects and provides us with links to other websites about multigenre projects. I told Mary that I had never been involved in, or even heard of, a multigenre project. After reading her post, however, I do think it's something I would like to look into!

Unfortunately, Mary Worrell is no longer very active on her blog - I'd imagine she stays very busy! So for this week's assignment, I read through some older posts and chose to comment on Embracing the Grey Area. She talks about dealing with not having a set curriculum at her school in the Netherlands and how she created her own lessons to follow. She struggled with the idea of ordering textbooks, but decided to go through with it. Worrell seems to be glad with her decision because she was enjoying reading through the book and thinking of new things to teach the students. My comment said: "I totally agree with you on ordering the textbooks. They’re just good to have and add a little more to the lesson. Having a new book to look through is just a lot of fun. You’re also still using your own sources and ideas which I think is great and something to keep in mind when I’m a teacher too."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Post #11

The videos that we watched this week all revolved around teachers using Project Based Learning in their classrooms.

In Brian Crosby's "TEDx Talk video", he talks about the project that his 4th grade class conducted. They learned about hot air balloons and all he science and dynamics that go into them. They even made a little hot air balloon to send up into the sky. The amazing thing about his class, however, is that they are mostly Second Language Learners, meaning in this case that they speak Spanish fluently and are just beginning to learn English. Also at the end of the video, Crosby reveals he also has a student that comes to class via video chat because she has Leukemia and can't leave her home. Crosby helps his students with the English language by having Wiki's and blogs that the children have to use. They learn how to write in English while simultaneously talking about what they've done in class. In addition, they speak to other students around the world and learn about other cultures as well. After watching this, I see that with some determination and dedication we can easily teach kids that may normally be looked at as a challenge, and even go above and beyond what you would usually do with them.

Paul Andersen's video, "Blended Learning Cycle", mentions "the power of the question." Andersen explains that blended learning takes mobile, online and classroom learning and combines them, while the learning cycle starts with engaging, then exploring, explaining,
Boy with spy glass
expanding, and evaluating. The blended learning cycle is a mixture of all of these concepts. His version of a blended learning cycle has six parts: questions, investigation, video, elaboration, review, and summary quiz. This cycle is all based on the power of the question, though. Without a question, students wouldn't know what to investigate or explain. Andersen shows that there are many steps in the learning process that should all be covered while we're teaching.

A 5th grade teacher, Sam Pane, has a video about teaching internet safety. He begins his lesson with a quote from Spiderman, the students then discussed the power they have on the Internet, then created their own "digital safety superhero" with a comic strip involving their superhero and themselves. Projects like this are great for kids because it is fun and educational for them. Something like making a comic allows them to be creative while still displaying their ideas and what they've learned in the lesson.

The video "Project Based Learning" by Dean Shareski is about a group of teachers that have worked together to turn History, English, and Information Processing into one class by using PBL. The students use computers, the Internet, videos, blogs, etc. to do work based on English and History. As an elementary school teacher, it will be easy to integrate different lessons because I will be spending the entire school day with them. This video gives me ideas to do something such as teach an English lesson about proper nouns, then a history lesson about their state government, and then allow the students to make a PowerPoint presentation about the government while correctly using proper nouns. Children are able to easily learn a couple different concepts at once, and then apply them to one larger project.

The last video, "Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program" is based in an elementary school. PBL in elementary schools is always interesting to see because the students are so much younger.
Kids at work sign
This video also interviews parents and shares their thoughts about PBL in their kids' classrooms. The parents all seem really excited about doing this in the classrooms because it helps them begin learning about real-world experiences, such as public speaking, at an early age so that they are used to it by the time they become adults. This video is proof that as teachers we shouldn't underestimate our students' abilities and as learners we shouldn't underestimate our own abilities. There are many ways to incorporate PBL into lessons in the elementary school setting.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blog Post #10

Kathy Cassidy
After watching Kathy Cassidy's video "Little Kids...Big Potential", I learned a lot about technology in classrooms. First of all, like Dr. Strange has been telling us, young children can use technology very efficiently. Ms. Cassidy teaches first graders and they use blogs, websites, Wikis, videos, Skype and other resources to learn and communicate. What stood out to me even more than the young kids learning how to use technology, is that Ms. Cassidy has embraced it considering that she is a middle-aged woman and hasn't grown up with computers and the internet. This is proof to me that we can all learn how to use these things in our classrooms even though we haven't been immersed in it like our future students have.

In Dr. Strange's videos Interview with Kathy Cassidy (Parts 2 and 3 can also be found on YouTube) discusses how she began using computers in her classroom ten years ago after being given five of them to use. She had some support and funding from the school system, but is the only teacher at her school that was as technology-advanced as she was. Even now, there are few teachers that utilize all of the sources that she does. She makes it very clear, however, that learning how to use computers and the internet before becoming a teacher is very important. The children enjoy not having to be away from computers and games during the day, and they are very involved in using these things. Kids learn best by doing what they enjoy and know how to do. They can also collaborate with other students to share ideas and expand their education.

In my own classroom in the future, I think blogging is definitely something I want to try. It's such a simple thing that brings a lot of excitement to the kids while also letting them practice their grammar, spelling, and other writing skills. In addition to that, I really like the idea of Skype interviews. Those are a great way to talk to an expert about something. For example, in "Little Kids...Big Potential" the children were having an interview with a woman who studies rocks and she was answering a little girl's question. I think it would be awesome to have the kids speak to someone who knows a lot more about what we are learning than even I will, and this way their questions can be properly answered and they can learn more new things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

C4K October Summary

Week 1: Braxton from Mobile, AL - Braxton wrote a blog post about parasites in the human body. He said that there are many parasites in your body, but they rarely get into your bloodstream. He went on to discuss the different parts, types, movements, and sicknesses caused by parasites. Braxton seemed to be very informed on this subject, and in my comment I told him that! I learned a lot from his post - even that cilia caused brain damage most often. He replied to my comment and told me he is a huge fan of South Alabama and was excited that he was able to teach a college student something new.

Week 2: Destiny from Connecticut - Destiny is in the 5th grade and I was able to comment on her first blog post ever. She said that she was really excited to have a class blog and thought it was going to be fun. I told her that it was great she was so excited, and that it would be a good way to communicate with her classmates and talk about what they are learning.

Week 3: Madison from New Orleans, LA - In this post, Madison explains how to be a good babysitter. There are five different paragraphs where she mentioned several tips on safety, basic infant care, and fun things you can do with a baby. I related a lot to this post because I started babysitting when I was younger, and I still do occasionally. In my comment I mentioned that, and also that she sounds like a very well-informed and responsible babysitter. She really was pretty thorough with her tips, especially when it came to safety.

Week 4: Taunese from New Zealand This post was written by a 5th grader and gave advice on how to stay safe in the sun. Taunese said that people should wear hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses. She told why each item was necessary. I told Taunese that in southern Alabama, we deal with heat and the sun on a regular basis, and she was absolutely right about needing to wear sunblock, hats, and sunglasses in order to protect your skin and avoid bad consequences.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Post #9

We can learn about project based learning through many different resources, but learning from real teachers and students is one of the best options. For example, this article describes a project that a teacher named Mrs. McIntyre presented to her high school students about beach pollution. The article breaks project based learning down into seven essentials that go along with each part of her project. It explains that you must begin by giving students an introduction and driving question, then let them use their knowledge and skills to fully answer the question. At the end, it is important to give a public presentation so that students may take their work more seriously and in turn educate other people outside of the classroom.
Tony Vincent has a very up-beat and informative video that provides teachers with more background information and ideas about project based learning. He notes that students can be in control of their learning. He gives several examples of websites, apps, and other resources for students to use, many different possible driving questions, and all of the different skills they will use and gain. These examples prove that we can learn a lot from teachers and students because they give us new ideas and help explain things in a way that we can understand.
Student presenting a presentation to her class
In addition, we can learn how to bring PBL into physical education. Before reading this, I hadn't considered PE being a class that gives project assignments, but I learned that it is possible by giving them a question that requires thought about staying healthy and physical. This way, students are learning more about why they have a physical education class in the first place, while performing exercises and staying healthy themselves.
Another class that projects are not typically a part of is high school math. This video provides thoughts from math teachers that are trying PBL in their classrooms. The main thing I learned from these teachers is that project based learning is actually very challenging for teachers to switch over to. There are materials, lesson plans, and gathering of technology to do before a class can begin experimenting with project based learning. If a high school math class can accomplish this though, an elementary school classroom as well.
Students can also teach us how to teach them. Interviewing students is a great way to find out what they are interested in and how they stay motivated in schools. According to the children in the video, they stay motivated by receiving positive feedback and having goals to word towards. Most kids mentioned what they want in their future and how they needed to make good grades in order to achieve those goals. They also discussed rewards in their classroom. Rewards are also motivators, of course, whether the children realize it or not. We can take away from this video that it's important to choose projects based on topics that children would want to learn about. For example, it could be interesting and even beneficial to assign a project about what career they want to have when they grow up and the steps it would take to get that job.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Project #9 Video Book Commentary

TT2 Group #1

Sources: Teaching Digital Natives by Marc Prensky
Kerbal EDU at
Khan Academy at for Four Founders by Kaede-chama

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blog Post #8

Randy Pausch
     Randy Pausch's Last Lecture (a transcript can be found here) is easily one of the most informative and inspiring speech I have ever heard. He seemed like such an all-around great person and someone that everyone should strive to be a little like. Pausch speaks for a little over an hour and a half about fulfilling your own dreams, helping others fulfill their dreams, success, setbacks, and other pieces of advice. Though the points he makes can and should be applied to anyone in any situation, it is especially eye-opening for me, as someone who is majoring in education.
     Being a college professor for many years, Pausch mentions his teaching methods several times throughout his speech. The class he taught at Carnegie Mellon were based on virtual reality, and this was the class he seemed most proud of. His classes were very hands-on and project-based. From what I understood, his students were divided into groups and told to create a virtual reality game every two weeks for the entire semester. He gave them no guidelines or topics - they were able to do whatever they wanted to do. Project Based Learning is something that we are still new to today around eight years later. Although he was working with college students, and my method would have to be altered slightly to accommodate children, project based learning does work and it very educational for everyone involved. He said that he was always surprised by what his students came up with. At one point he even goes on to say that he asked his colleague what to ask for next because the students had already exceeded his expectations. The answer to this was to tell them, "that was pretty good, but I know you can do better." This tells me to always push your students. No matter what kind of work they produce, if they think hard enough they could almost always do better. Another point about Randy Pausch is that he absolutely loved his job. He was giving this speech while battling terminal cancer. He has only a few months left to live, and was spending his day lecturing at Carnegie Mellon. To me, that really says something about his dedication to that school and his students. Besides that, throughout his career he seemed very ecstatic about everything he was involved in. I'm sure his students noticed this enthusiasm, and that had to make them want to do well too. As a teacher, if we show our students that we are excited about something, the energy will transfer over to them.
     Pausch's quality of enthusiasm can also be applied to what I learned from him about learning in general. He was a man that loved to teach, but at the same time he was constantly learning about things. Whether he was learning from his students or working with outside projects (such as being a Disney Imagineer) he was always learning. This inspires me to never stop wanting to learn. Even after graduating, your ability to know new things shouldn't end. He even makes it seem fun to learn. Once we as teachers understand this, we can pass it along to our students. The best part of the lecture, was at the end when he reveals everything he said was really for his children. He had very young children that he knew he would be leaving behind soon, and wanted to leave them with something important. As soon as he said this, it made me think that this speech could be used for all ages. Knowing I'll be working with elementary school aged children, the lecture itself would probably go over their heads, but the things that he said can be transcribed to be appropriate for them. I think I'll watch this lecture several more times and make a list of the things that can be taken from it to better myself as a teacher and a learner.

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

     A study by Zogby Analytics drew the conclusion that 87% of smartphone users aged 18 to 24 find it important that their phone has a camera on it. Of those surveyed, 44% said that they use their smartphone camera every single day. With these shockingly large percentages, undoubtedly people under the age of 18, such as the people we will be teaching, are also using their phones as cameras regularly. In fact, most of these kids have had phones with cameras in them as a part of their life since they were born. With that being said, it's almost obvious that as teachers, we should use children's familiarity with these technologies to our advantage and find ways to incorporate cameras into our lesson plans.
iPad camera icon
     To implement this, schools must first begin their technology revolution. It would be important for every classroom to have a tablet or laptop for every student or group of students. This way every child will have a chance to use the technology and participate in the activities. In addition, teachers will have to research and plan lessons accordingly to these items. By using cameras, students can create real-life moving pictures to answer questions posed by their teachers. Cameras are beneficial towards students' education because they promote creativity and learning in a new way. Not only are the children learning new concepts, but teachers can also learn new things from their students.

Students using iPad camera
Some ideas for using cameras in the classroom could include:
  • Video presentations in a group such as the one described here and in many other ALEX lesson plans
  • Students recording themselves doing things then playing it back to themselves for learning purposes like in this video
  • Creating movies for drama or literature
  • Having Skype interviews with other students or adults
  • Taking pictures of their work to post on their blog
  • Older students may take iPads and document their day, a field trip, or something else outside of the classroom
  • Make a time-lapse video to show students how they change throughout the year
  • Have students make vocabulary word connections by taking pictures describing their words every week
GettingSmart, Raki's Rad Resources, and Teaching with iPads all have lists with great ideas in them as well!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

C4T Summary #2

The blog I was assigned is called Dianne's Digital Discoveries. Dianna Krause uses this blog to post interesting and informative links to articles about technology in schools and other topics.
Last week I commented on Daily Digital Discoveries 06/25/2014.
History comic
There was a link to a website with history comics. In my comment, I told Dianne that the comics were a great idea and could be used to make a topic a little more interested to the students.
This week's blog post, Daily Digital Discoveries 09/27/2014, included several links to articles about peer coaching. I told Dianne that peer coaching is very important for teachers to consider. When students talk to other students, it makes things a lot more relaxed and easy to understand in my opinion.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Post #7

This week's assignment was to assess my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to what preparations and skills I currently have or do not have involving Project Based Learning and technology in schools. Then view several videos that introduced ideas for technology in the classroom.

After much thought, I came up with only a few strengths and weaknesses, but they are still important to consider!
Quick learner
Good with basic Apple products
Experience with PBL in high school
Good understand of how to use YouTube, Twitter, Blogger, etc.
Not familiar with most programs being used in schools
Not very creative when producing my own PBL lessons
Do not know the full capabilities of a SmartBoard

1. "How to Make an Audio QR Code" - Michele Bennett from Gulf Shores Elementary School explains the steps to make a QR code that has a link to an audio recording that you can make yourself. To begin with, you can visit Record MP3 to produce your audio recording. After that, you would take the URL from your recording and paste it into QR Code Monkey to have the code generated. It is a very simple process that can be used for easy communication with students, parents, or coworkers.

2. "iPad Reading Center" - An iPad Reading Center is demonstrated by Ginger Tuck, a kindergarten teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary. Her center involves students setting up their iPad and videoing themselves reading so that they can play it back and listen for mistakes to correct. I think this sounds like a really fun idea for the younger children, and it is doesn't even use any confusing apps - just the built-in front-facing camera.

3. "Popplet with Ginger Tuck" - Popplet is a free app that Ginger Tuck uses with her kindergarteners to make notes based on the books that they read. Students can take pictures from the book and type in important things to remember. This could be very helpful for study guides or in lessons about characters, setting, plot, etc.
Children playing with Popplet on an iPad

4. "AVL and Kindergarten Students" - In this video, Ginger Tuck once again shows us a resource she uses in her kindergarten classroom. The Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) is a database with search engines to give students book, magazine, newspaper, website, and other sources for their research. Every week Ms. Tuck gives her students a list of words under a category that they are studying and allows them to use AVL to find out more about them. Then, her students are to draw a picture of their word and write a sentence including something new they have learned about it. This is fun for students and introduces them to doing their own research on different subjects.

5. "Tammy Shirley's Discovery Education Board Builder Moon Project" and "Mrs. Tassin's 2nd Grade Students Share a Board Builder Project" - Both of these videos highlight students in the first and seconds grades at Gulf Shores Elementary using Discovery Education in her class for projects. Discovery Ed has a "board builder" that is similar to a virtual bulletin board. Kids can pin facts and pictures to their board to aid them in presentations.

6. "Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten" - The purpose of this video was to show a conversation among Dr. Strange, Michele Bennett, and Elizabeth Davis. Ms. Bennett discussed students in kindergarten using iMovie trailers to make movies based on the books that they read. They're able to work on creativity, writing, comprehension, and more while having fun making movies. Ms. Davis talked about the Alabama Virtual Library which was much like Ginger Tuck's explanation in an earlier video.

7. "We All Become Learners" - While using technology, students and teachers teach each other. In many cases, children are more technologically advanced than adults are because they have been using these devices their entire life. On the other hand, there are still, of course, things that teachers have more knowledge on. We are able to use these different strengths to work together and succeed in giving our students a great education.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Project #8 Book Trailer

C4K September Summary

The first blog I was assigned to belongs to Kevine. He is in 7th grade at Pt England School in New Zealand. Kevine's blog was really fun, and he seems like a really good kid! In the post I commented on, Kevine wrote about how excited he was for his cross-country meet the next day. He said that he and his team had been practicing all term for it. The comment I left still has not been approved by the moderator. I told him that I was really excited for him and that I hoped he did well, though!

My second assigned blog was for a student in Ontario named Ekisha. She is in 5th grade. Her post was about International Dot Day and the art project she did for it. Her project was a t-shirt that she let everyone in her class sign. They also had other Dot Day activities throughout the day. I actually thought this was really cool because we also had a Dot Day project in Dr. Vitulli's art class. In my comment I told her that I also celebrated Dot Day and told her about what we did. She even responded and asked more about my project.

The last blog I commented on was Ben's blog. He goes to school in Connecticut and is 10 years old. His only post so far just had a few facts about him. I learned that he loves to travel and is visiting Japan next year! I told him that I also loved to travel and was incredibly jealous he was going to Japan. I'm sure that will be a really awesome experience for him!

Blog Post #6

     After watching parts one and two of "Project Based Learning: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher," I learned that project based learning is a great way for students to learn, and it is not hard to place into your lessons. The projects Anthony mentioned sounded very engaging. I especially liked his idea about the culture projects. I love international studies, and I think it would be really fun to do something like that with my students and give them each different countries to study. In addition to the students enjoying their projects, he also said that the parents and administrators think he's doing a great job too. Even if you think things are going well, it's always great to get good feedback from important people.
     In the first two videos, Anthony mentioned using iCurio as a resource in his classroom. This was further explained in iCurio: Conversations with Anthony. Anthony said that it allows students to search the web safely. The results from searches are all filtered and appropriate for children to use. iCurio has storage abilities, which I interpreted to be a lot like our ePorfolios or Google Drive. I think this would be helpful for students because it sounds very user-friendly considering it was made specifically for school children to use. I had never heard of iCurio, so this was an interesting video. I'd like to be able to personally see how it works!
     Another resource I had never heard of was discussed in this video. Dr. Strange and Anthony talked about Discovery Education, which is good for finding images to go with Social Studies and Science lessons according to Anthony. He mentioned that a video is worth a million words, which I think is a really good point. In a classroom, especially to get the kids' attentions, I could see where it would be very worthwhile to find a video to go along with your lesson instead of just a basic image. Another good point he made about Discovery Ed is that it brings experts into the classroom. Because teachers actually don't know everything, I think it's awesome for kids to have a resource that allows them to search their topic and find documentaries and expert opinions and explanations about these topics. Watching this video taught me about the existence of this website and made me think about the possibilities that can help enhance my own future lessons.
     "Strange Tips for Teachers" is a very interesting video in my opinion. Since Anthony was a new teacher at the time these videos were made, all of his and Dr. Strange's tips are especially relevant to us as students and future teachers. The most important things I learned involved learning about yourself and your students and remembering to have fun while learning. Dr. Strange and Anthony both brought up being flexible at one point, but for me that goes with learning about myself. I don't think that will be something I'll
Helpful Tips Clipart
learn until I experience it, but I'm kind of excited to find out just how flexible and creative I can learn to be whenever things don't go how they're supposed to. While talking about one of his tips, Anthony said something about several things motivating students. To me, this includes learning about your students. As a teacher I'll have to find out each of my student's personalities and what makes them want to learn so that I can cater to those needs.
     While watching Use Tech Don't Teach It, I learned/confirmed that Anthony is definitely a huge advocate of technology in the classroom! The 3rd graders in this classroom barely have to be taught anything and still usually exceed the expectations of the project they were assigned. It is best to immerse students in technology and let them learn how to use it without being lectured on it. Teachers are usually still learning about technology everyday too. The use of technology in the classroom provides opportunities for kids to be creative and have a nearly endless amount of resources to do their research with. In addition, students can share their creations with the world via the internet, or even just with their classmates or family, which is really important to them. Children feel special when others are seeing what they've done and giving them positive feedback, and I feel like it's our job as teachers to let every student know they are special in some way or another.
     The last video, "Additional Thoughts About Lessons" I learned that while planning a lesson you have to think about how it's going to fit into four different things: the school year, the unit, the week, and the day. There are standards that have to be met by the end of the school year, and when making a lesson plan, you have to ensure that it is meeting a standard and worth your time. At the end of your lesson, if the students haven't learned what they need to be able to move on to the next chapter, unit, or grade even, then in my opinion, that lesson isn't even worth teaching. Next, while making a lesson plan you have to be sure that it is being taught from the units in the textbooks that the state picks out for you. The plan has to fit in with everything else you're doing in class that week. If it's going to take longer than one day, you have to factor that in. Which comes to the last component, which is fitting it into the day. This is important because time is crucial when you only have less than seven hours to cover every topic you need to that day. For example, if all your lesson plans should take two hours, then you're going to run out of time. Time is something to keep in mind the whole time you're constructing a lesson plan.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Post #5

Personal Learning Networks

After reading through this document by Dr. Strange, I learned that Personal Learning Networks (PLN) are the people you can contact to help you professionally or within your interests, as well as other resources and activities that you use to learn. The people or activities in your PLN can be anywhere in the world, and you could personally know the people, or they may be from the internet.
photo of people talking to each other
As a teacher, having a good PLN could be helpful because I could share and discuss ideas and strategies with other teachers or even parents. In addition to that, I could also ask questions and get feedback from people that may have more experience and expertise in certain areas than I have. I think the best way to form a PLN is to put yourself out there. It's good to try to make friends in our education classes because that's where you begin associating with teachers (or future teachers). Another good place to network is probably the schools that you observe and intern at. This is where you're meeting real teachers and administrators that could possibly hire you one day. Lastly, the internet is a great way to meet new people. For example, the teacher blogs that we post on for this class could be really helpful, and if you ever wanted more information on a certain post you could easily get in touch with the author and get more insight on the topic.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Post #4

Asking Questions

      When asking questions in a classroom, it is good to ask open-ended things. Yes or no questions do not require much thought and don't allow for any discussion. According to Ben Johnson in this article, a lot of children get overlooked because they feel like they are dumb and do not care. When teachers ask questions in a way that doesn't involve thinking, or if a teacher calls on the same group of students every time, the other kids feel relieved that they weren't
question marks
chosen, but don't get a chance to learn much. A good way to ask questions in class is to pose an open-ended question before calling on a student. By doing this, everyone in the class has to think of an answer just in case they get called on.
In another article, I learned that "leading questions" should be avoided because they assume that there is only one right answer. Students should realize that in a lot of situations, there can be several right answers, or not completely right answer at all. In addition, while planning for each class, take time to plan for each question that you want to ask and at what times.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project #15 Search Engine Reviews

1. WolframAlpha - To begin with, the best thing about this search engine is the calculating function. I wish I had known about this website when I was still taking tough math classes! Not only does it give you an answer, but it shows every step it took to come up with that answer. Amazing. As far as searching goes, however, I would probably only use this website if I needed quick facts about something. When I hear search engine, I think of something that is going to provide several websites for me to use and search deeper into the subject. WolframAlpha only gives facts and statistics about the word or phrase that you search. Other than that, I do like the layout; it is very easy to read and follow.

2. Yahoo! - The first thing I noticed about Yahoo is the large amount of advertisements all over the page. The ads take up a considerable amount of space on the web page, and are really distracting from the actual search results.

3. Ask - Ask is helpful because it has the Q&A section on the right-hand side of the page. This helps you quickly scroll and find what you were looking for and the answer without having to search around other websites.

4. Ixquick - This search engine claims to be "the world's most private." There is a link on the homepage with ten ways they protect your privacy. Some of these points include that they don't store IP addresses or cookies, and they're based in the Netherlands causing them to have different guidelines than American search engines.

5. DuckDuckGo - I liked that DuckDuckGo provided tabs under the search bar that included meanings and definitions. This would be useful if you were writing a paper (or a blog post!) and quickly needed to know the definition of a word. Other than that, I would say this is another average search engine that has a similar layout to Google and other websites.

6. Bing - Bing is actually not a bad search engine at all. I like that there are website, image, news, and other results for your search in an organized fashion all on one page. The advertisements are at the bottom and are not overwhelming. In addition to the different results on the same page, there are also tabs to go to a more extended page of the results you specifically wanted.

7. DogPile - This website could be helpful because it has a "white pages" function. If you needed a phone number and didn't have a phonebook or other source nearby, you could easily use DogPile's white pages. As far as search results goes, DogPile is also average and gets the job done.
magnifying glass

8. HotBot - This was different because I had never heard of it, but I wasn't necessarily that impressed with it. There were no special features or functions that made it stand out besides the robot graphics. The same websites as usual were found, so I would say it is average as well.

In conclusion, most search engines find the same results, in the same amount of time, and have very similar layouts. Some have different sections that are especially helpful in certain situations, however. I use Google most often because it is tried-and-true, but this has opened my mind a little bit!

C4T #1 Summary

The blog I was assigned is called Two Writing Teachers. It is actually run by six different women whose titles range from early childhood educators to literacy specialists. The topics of their blogposts are centered around writing in the elementary school classrooms.

photo of an example of a text feature
The first post I commented on discussed using "text features" to help students with their expository writing. Text features are a way to organize words and ideas to draw attention to certain details or add to your story. I've attached an image from the blog as a reference. Anyway, whenever I commented I told the author, Anna, that I was still a student and had never heard of a text feature before; therefore, her post was extra informative for me. I really like the idea because it gives students a visual of what their topic is, and it makes it easier to integrate different subjects into writing like in the example.

The second post was really cool for me because as soon as I clicked on it, I saw a really familiar image. The author, Stacey, was writing about something she had seen in Dr. Paige Vitulli's tweets from my class! Stacey borrowed Dr. Vitulli's idea to write post-it notes about art, and used it to write ideas about writing instead. In her post, she also shared five more ideas to help students see themselves as writers including addressing them as writers instead of students. In my comment, I told her that I really liked that idea. Telling students they're writers lets them know that you believe in them, and I would assume would put them in a good mood and mindset to begin writing.