Sunday, April 29, 2012
I have stuck with using Symbaloo; I really like the layout it provides, and it makes my PLN so much easier to organize. On the top row (the first eight), I still have the tools that I use the most: Facebook, Gmail, Google, YouTube, Blogger, Twitter, Timetoast, and Apple. The first seven tiles of the next row has blogs and Twitter pages for Arvind S. Grover, Silvia Tolisano, David Wees, and Jenny Luca. These were the four people I had for my C4Ts. Then in the top right corner I have two students' blogs and Twitter pages that I really enjoyed. Their names are Lindsey Edwards and Diane Boudreau. On the fourth row on the right-hand side, I have Dr. Strange's blogs and Twitter page. Then the last two rows are full of blogs and Twitter pages that have in some way come from this class. Here I have Sir Ken Robinson's blog and Twitter page, Laura Holifield's blog and Twitter page, Lauren McKenzie's blog and Twitter page, Joe McClung's blog and Twitter page, John T. Spencer's blog and Twitter page, Kathy Cassidy's Twitter page, and Paige Vitulli's Twitter page.
Here is the PLN I have come up with so far:
Arvind S. Grover - Blog and Twitter
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano - Blog and Twitter
David Wees - Blog
Jenny Luca - Blog and Twitter
Lindsey Edwards - Blog and Twitter
Diane Boudreau - Blog and Twitter
Dr. Strange - Personal Blog, Professional Blog, and Twitter
Sir Ken Robinson - Blog and Twitter
Laura Holifield - Blog and Twitter
Lauren Mckenzie - Blog and Twitter
Joe McClung - Blog and Twitter
John T. Spencer - Blog and Twitter
Kathy Cassidy - Twitter
Paige Vitulli - Twitter
Jenny Luca is the Head of Information Services at Toorak College in Australia, and she has a blog called Lucacept - intercepting the Web. The first post I commented on was titled, "Is it just me?" In it she discusses how much importance is placed on someone who made a photo sharing app versus someone who is trying to make the world better. As you can imagine, more importance is placed on the person who made the photo sharing app, but can you tell me why? There's no logical answer to that question. We have to change what the world views as important. It's not going to be easy, but if we start early by teaching our students this then maybe it'll catch on. However, no matter what we just have to push through the criticism we'll receive and try our hardest.
The second post I commented on was titled, "Using Evernote to record a lesson." I thought Evernote was more of a text-based program, but apparently it can be used for voice recordings as well. She used it to record a lecture for two of her students that would be unable to attend class one day. Then the next day she asked the students if they'd like her to record it again, and many of them said yes and had her e-mail the lecture to them. I think this is a wonderful idea because it gives students the chance to revisit the lesson. Students still need to take notes, but this way they can use them to reinforce what they hear when they listen to the lesson again. It's also great for students who have to miss a class but don't want to get behind.
8:30 - The mission began.
9:55 - My boyfriend and I went and saw a movie at a movie theater.
12:30-8:30 - I slept.
10:00-2:00 - I went to the Leadership Summit for the Jaguar Marching Band.
2:00-6:00 - I went shopping.
6:00-8:30 - I took a nap.
Some people asked me why I didn't just pretend I did the assignment and make up stuff, and I told them that I wanted to see if I could actually do it. It turns out I can. I did break a few of the rules, though. I used my cell phone as my alarm, and when I got a text message, I looked to see who it was from to make sure it wasn't important. However, I didn't read the messages (most of them were from Facebook). I think this is a good assignment to participate in because it really shows our dependence on technology. I had to go shopping and find things to keep myself busy just so I wouldn't be tempted to use technology. I almost failed a few times, but luckily it only took one try.
Our students are going to come into our classrooms not knowing a world without technology. Pretty much everything they do in their lives will revolve around it so we need to accommodate that and incorporate it into our classrooms. We will have to teach them the importance of technology and how to use it effectively for learning. We owe it to them to teach them in ways that they will understand, and technology is that way.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I'm an elementary education major so I'll have to teach all subjects. This kind of made this assignment hard because I'm not really sure how to make my own blog post assignment that covers all the subjects I'll be teaching. This is why I decided to focus on these four subjects: Mathematics, English, Science, and History. Think about which subject you have the most trouble with, and then find and share a website that helps you better understand it (or do this for each subject). Also, try to make the website interactive so you are actually engaged and learning something.
I have done this for all four subjects.
Make sure you are actually finding useful websites so you can refer to them later if you need some ideas on how to get through to a student. I have picked websites that are student based, but your websites can be teacher based if you think those would be more useful.
I want to begin this post with my favorite poem. Here is "Curiosity" by Alastair Reid:
may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.
Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die–
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.
Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do."
The first two sentences of the third stanza are my favorite part of this poem, and I think they tie in perfectly with this assignment.
Schools in the United States don't encourage creativity and curiosity for basically two reasons. They put the subjects they think are the most "useful" in life (as far as getting a job, or so they think) at the top of their lists, and that is tied in with the second reason which is university entrance. They don't make anything in school about the power of learning. They just make it about school, school, more school, and some boring job that they probably won't be happy with. Students need creativity and curiosity so they will have fulfilling lives. One way to increase curiosity in students is to make lessons so interesting that the students can't help but want to learn more. This way the students are always engaged and wanting to learn more. Then there is creativity. Art fosters creativity. Therefore, incorporating art into the classroom will help students show off their creativity. Teachers have to lead by example, though. We need to be just as curious and creative so the students can see how fun learning can be. Also, we need to motivate ourselves to inspire our own creativity and curiosity, and that motivation should come from wanting what's best for our students. Everything we do should revolve around our students. For their sake, we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they have the best learning experience possible because I think they deserve it. Don't you?
We have three ideas for our final project.
1. We will teach a kid how to use a SMARTboard or another piece of technology. Then we will either record us teaching them how to use it, or we will record them using it on their own.
2. We will survey one child from each grade K-6 about how much technology they use outside of class and how much technology they use inside of class.
3. We will interview teachers and see if they think technology is necessary in the classroom.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Emily B is a student in Vermont, and I commented on her blog for three weeks for the world blog challenge. her posts weren't very long, but I really liked how she incorporated pictures into her blog posts. The first post I commented on on Emily B's blog was titled, "Some things you don't know about me." She listed 13 things about herself, and this really helped me get to know a little bit about her. She has a lot of animals like I do so I got to talk to her about animals some, and she told me that her favorite animals were dogs and horses.
The next post I commented on was titled, "teaching my dog." In this post she talked about teaching her dog new tricks, and how good her dog is at learning them. I told her that we teach our dogs lots of tricks. I also told her about how smart pigs are, and how they can be trained to live inside and do other tricks. This is what we're doing with our new pig.
The final post that I commented on was titled, "smoking." she talked about the horrible effects smoking causes to your body, and I backed her up on these points. She also included a picture of what your lungs will look like if you smoke. It's a horrible habit, and I'm glad she can see that.
Each time I commented on one of her posts I reminded her that I'd be looking for another post the next week, and she always had one. On my last post, I also encouraged her to continue blogging because it's a great use of technology, and it is also a great place to practice writing. Not to mention how it's an awesome way to share ideas.
Tom is a Year 1 student of Mrs. Jenny She in New Zealand. Tom's blog post was located in the class blog under March, and it was the tenth post down. It was titled, "Tom had a Wonderful Weekend!" His blog post included a picture that he had drawn on paint, and he had a video of himself talking about his weekend. He got a PSP and some games to go with it. I told him about how my nephews each have one, and how he should use it to learn as well as have fun.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I'm not sure if this is due this week or not since it is not on the master checklist, but here is my progress report anyways:
We have been texting, e-mailing, and using face time to communicate about ideas for Project 15. We had some trouble deciding on our subject because we're good in different subject areas. Also, it's hard not to talk about the project in person since we have another class together, and we run into each other at other places occasionally. However, we've been sticking to talking about our project through only the methods listed above.
Here's a picture of us using Face Time:
Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy
I really enjoyed being able to watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy. Ten years ago she was given five computers for her classroom. She couldn't put any programs on them. However, she wanted to make these computers useful so she began her journey into the world of webpages and blogging. Her administrators were neither discouraging nor encouraging, but the parents liked being able to see their child's progress at any point throughout the year. Plus, the children loved it. Here's a quote she said that I really enjoyed: "Kids and technology just go hand in hand." It's such a true statement. The world these kids are growing up in is full of technology. It's something that they know better than we do, and they love it. Also, the children love blogging because they have an audience, and they get to interact with this audience.
I admire her because she approaches technology with such open arms. She embraces the fact that even once you're a teacher, you have to keep learning. She didn't really encounter any problems with administrators, other teachers, or parents, but I realize her case isn't the norm. I know that my administrators, my fellow teachers, and parents might try to hinder my progress, but I also know that I'll have to show them the importance of technology. The pros outweigh the cons (which I'm seeing less of), and with guidance, the students will be able to fully receive all the benefits that technology has to offer. Technology has a place for everyone. Ms. Cassidy pointed out that if you like videoing, check out Youtube. If you like photography check out Flickr. If you like like writing, check out blogging. Technology offers something for everyone. This is just a starting point.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Do You Teach, or Do You Educate?
Do You Teach or Do You Educate? is a film made by Joshua Bloom. He begins by defining "to teach" and "to educate." He also defines educator, mentor, and guide. These are the words that describe what we should be to our students. He ends the video by quoting Peter Brougham, MLK, and Socrates. My favorite quote was by MLK, and he said, "Intelligence plus character... that is the goal of true education." The reason we have educators is not only to provide the students with information, but it is also to help them build themselves as human beings.
Every day I will have to look for new ways to educate, rather than teach, my students. I'll have to find things that inspire them to learn more by making my lessons interesting and engaging, and they'll feel empowered when they accomplish the tasks I have given them. I also want to enlighten them on subjects that they knew little about by showing them different perspectives, and finally, I want to illuminate their lives with the power of learning. They should see me as someone they trust so I will have to prove to them that they can trust me. I will be their educator, mentor, and guide.
Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home!
Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home is a blog post by John T. Spencer about students not being allowed to take pencils home because it lowers standardized test scores. He argues that this isn't a good measurement of learning. He wants to teach the students to think of pencils in a way other than as entertainment. He also taught parents the skills that he was teaching their children in hopes that it would help to alter the students' thoughts about what pencils should be used for, and the way he is teaching this to the students is by making his lessons so interesting that they can't help but want to learn.
As usual, this administrator is only focused on having high test scores, but luckily this educator, John T. Spencer, is focused on the students. He's willing to find a solution to this problem even though his administrator would rather just take the easy way out. He wants the students to actually learn, not just be able to pass some test that doesn't truly measure what they've learned. By making his lectures centered around the students, he is engaging the students and making learning interesting for them, and in the process he is teaching htem that pencils are not just for entertainment.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
What I've Learned This Year (2008-2009)
Mr. McClung's first post was after his first year of teaching, and he wrote this post to share what he learned. He lists seven things that he has learned. First, he addressed his misconception about who the lecture was actually for. In the beginning, he was so worried about how his superiors would evaluate him that he lost sight of the fact that the lesson was for the students. He also discusses how most teachers focus too much on delivering the content when they should be focusing on if the students comprehend the material, and he has grown a lot in this aspect. Second, he focuses on being flexible. Lessons aren't always going to go as planned so just go with the flow. Third, he discusses how communication in the workplace is essential. Fourth, he talks about setting reasonable goals for the students. Teachers can set high goals, but if the student doesn't achieve them then the teacher should be there to keep encouraging them instead of being disappointed in them. Fifth, he discusses something we know all too well from this class -- the importance of technology. Sixth, he discusses listening to the students. It's more important than most people think. Seventh, he talks about another thing we've learned throughout this class -- never stop learning.
I like the idea of teachers posting a reflection of their work at the end of each school year. It offers guidance to teachers who are just starting out. That is why I chose to read the post about his first year teaching. It offered some helpful advice such as making sure that the lessons focus on student comprehension. I feel like this is something that teachers can easily lose sight of when being constantly watched by administrators. This also ties into being flexible. Another one, that I found especially helpful, was about setting reasonable goals. Students are just that, students. They won't always achieve the high goals that we set for them. This doesn't mean that we should lower our expectations, though. If the students don't reach our high goals then it is our job to encourage them to continue trying. Also, listening to the students is something that often doesn't happen in a classroom. Especially the ones that I have been in. It is crucial to establish a good student teacher relationship, and this is partially done by listening. Then there are the two that this class has taught us all too well. The importance of technology and the want to never stop learning are re-enforced in this post. Finally, there is one that I never really thought about which is the need for communication in the workplace. I never thought about there being workplace drama. Obviously there is, though, and like most things in life, communication is key.
What I Learned This Year (2010-2011)
This post is about Mr. McClung's third year of teaching, and he discusses five of the things he has learned. First, it is all about the students. Don't get caught up in trying to please the administration when your focus should be on the students. Second, don't let the pessimism of others affect you. Always stay positive about change. Third, don't be afraid to not fit in especially if you don't fit in because you focus more on your students than pleasing other teachers. Fourth, don't try to take over when a student is having problems with an assignment because you will end up basically doing the assignment for them. If you take control then the student won't learn as much as they can from the assignment. Fifth, don't get comfortable. Comfort leads to apathy. When teachers get too set in their routines, they are more likely to fall victim to apathy. Teachers must find new ways to keep their careers moving forward.
What I've mainly taken away from both of these posts is that it is always about the students. Now, this isn't something new that I just learned by reading this. I've known this all along, but it is mainly what he keeps saying over and over again. No matter what the problem is, think about the students. Think about how what you do will effect the students in the long run. We want to be teachers because of the kids so our teaching should reflect that. That's pretty much what he learns every year, new ways to focus more on the students, and I can't wait to see what he has to say about this current school year.