Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Assignment #14

What Did Dr. Strange Leave Out?

Dr. Strange asked that we answer this question in a blog post, by creating an assignment of our own, then completing that assignment.

Promethean Planet is a free website that provides countless resources for teachers, including lesson plans, worksheets, games, assignments, projects and much more. A Promethean Board is very similar to a SMARTboard, just a different brand. Promethean Planet has been a great asset to my PLN, and it is a resource I use regularly.

Assignment: Use Promethean Planet to create a SMARTboard activity.

This lesson from Promethean Planet is an introduction to comma usage. It requires SMARTboard software. Students will learn the rules for using commas, and how the meaning of sentences are changed when commas are not used.
Comma cartoon

My Final PLN Report

In the beginning of October, I posted about the progress of my PLN, or personal learning network.

Since then, Twitter continues to be one of the most valuable assets to my PLN. Though I am still cultivating my Twitter skills, I continue to learn a lot from the people I follow on Twitter. One area that could use improvement is my activity on Twitter. I think as I continue to use Twitter and become more comfortable with it, my activity will increase and I will form even more connections that will benefit my PLN.

As part of my PLN I have also continued, and increased, the use of tools like Google, Google Drive, Delicious, Prezi, Edutopia, TED Talks and Pinterest. In addition, I now frequently refer to Evernote, Promethean Planet, YouTube, the Mobile Museum of Art and several C4T blogs, like Langwitches, that I now consider to be valuable resources.

I am still using Symbaloo as the main method of organization for my PLN. I am constantly expanding my Symbaloo page by adding tabs and resources.
I think the most important thing about a PLN is having the attitude of a life long learner, and the willingness to continuously form connections and reach out for help. My PLN is not limited to what I can store on Symbaloo; it includes teachers I have met, as well as resources and ideas from other classes like EDU 301. My personal learning network is always changing, always growing and will forever be a work in progress.

C4T #4

My final C4T assignment was Kelly Tenkely's blog, iLearn Technology.

The first post I commented on was Apprenticing Students in the Art of Learning. In this post, Tenkely discusses her belief that the best way to learn and teach is through a model of apprenticeship. Tenkely recounts stories of her childhood, in which her parents modeled this hands on learning attitude. I agree that the best way to teach students is by modeling the learning process, yourself. To be a good teacher, you have to be ready and willing to learn.

While reading this post, I couldn't help but think of EDM 310, a class in which I have learned A LOT-- but not by being lectured or taught in the traditional sense. The reason I have learned so much from this class is because in EDM 310 we learn hands on. We dive in and figure things out for ourselves, which is a skill and an attitude I will take with me far beyond the walls of the College of Education.

The second post I commented on was Our Little Earth: Global News for World Citizens. Our Little Earth is an international, online newspaper for kids. This is one of many great resources I have discovered through my C4T assignments. Our Little Earth is totally free and is delivered via e-mail every two weeks. This virtual magazine is a great way to keep kids informed, and even has a global map that highlights where news from each issue is coming from. Providing students with a news outlet that is on their intellectual level is a great way to spark their interest in politics, geography and current events.

SMARTboard Project: Part B

This is a video of Group O'Keeffe (Chelsea Hadley, Anna Kern and Kayla Christie) using a SMARTboard to deliver a lesson from our plan, Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover.

November's C4K Summary

My first C4K assignment in November was Flora, from Mr. Marks' class at Pt. England School in New Zealand. As usual, I was impressed by my C4K assignment! Flora's blog is interesting to read, and contains several photos. It never ceases to amaze me how elementary students are becoming so technologically literate at such a young age.

My next November C4K was Allie, from Mrs. Cassidy's first grade class in Canada. I wrote about Mrs. Cassidy in an earlier blog post, and Allie's blog is a perfect example of everything I learned from Cassidy's YouTube video, Little Kids Big Potential. Allie's blog has images of pictures she has drawn and she has even written a few sentences on her blog, even though she is only a first grader. There are also comments from her parents. Seeing these comments further inspired me to have a blog in my future classroom-- I think it's great for parents to be able to monitor their children's progress, and it's great for the child to be able to receive positive, written feed back from their parents.

My final C4K assignment was Beth from Ms. Metzler's fifth grade class in Guatmala City. I enjoyed looking through Beth's blog because it was so interesting to read! Beth shares some personal stories and thoughts on her blog, and reading them reinforced everything I have learned about blogging in the classroom, especially that it's a great platform for students to express their opinions and ideas.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

After watching Shane Koyczan: To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful , dreamerquotewe learned many things about bullying and different things we can do as educators to help our children grow, instead of putting them down. We all remember being little and wanting to do the things we thought would be fun such as being an artist or an astronaut.As Mr. Koyczan said, despite all we dreamed about or aspired to be, we were told to think about things more realistic. How can we ask our students what they want to be, and then, tell them it is not really possible and to think about something else? As educators, we learned we must always shape our students around their aspirations and dreams. That is what inspires creativity and promotes happiness. We learned the importance of continuing to follow our dreams. It is important to have a belief in something for yourself, no matter if you are five, twenty-five, or fifty-five. Dreaming is important.

We also learned much about bullying and depression from this video. We learned that it is important to stand up for yourself but do not resort to violent means. This is important for us, because we want our students to know the importance of bullying in and bullyingoutside the classroom. One thing that really stuck to us is how bullying sticks with you. Mr. Koyczan discusses a story of a woman who was bullied at a young age for a small birthmark, and even as an adult, she does not feel she is beautiful. Depression, as well, as bullying is something that also needs attention in schools. It is important as educators for us to know that we have to bring the light to these children. We must continue to help them see their dreams and differences from other people as a strength and not a weakness. As Mr. Koyczan said, “there is a reason why you keep trying, despite when everyone has told you to quit.” We have to guide our students in to seeing what each and every one them tries for.


Mae Jemison: Teach Arts and Sciences Together

As an astronaut, doctor, and someone who has had a lifelong passion for art and dance, Mae Jemison knows better than anyone that art and science go hand in hand. In a TED Talk, Jemison discusses how important it is that educators understand the link between art and science. According to Jemison, teaching these subjects together will create the bold thinkers of tomorrow.

kid's drawing of bugs and flowers in a jar
Jemison's mission is to inspire educators to reintegrate arts and sciences. It is important to understand that the idea that art and science are unrelated subjects is an outdated opinion that limits students. The fact is, art and science are intertwined to the core. It takes creativity for a scientist to think outside of the box and make a discovery, and an artist is analytical when he or she creates a sculpture or decides what to paint. The stereotype that people are either artists or scientists is very limiting to students because it tells them that they can only be one or the other. Why can't we be creative, intuitive and logical at the same time? We can. That's why keeping arts and sciences separate in schools is such an outdated method.
We agree with Jemison that it is crucial educators see the links between art and science and begin to reintegrate these subjects, as one, into the classroom.

In this video,A girl who demanded school, Kakenya talks about her life. She is a member of the Maasai Tribe in Africa. Her mother stayed at home and took care of the animals and children. She also grew the crops to feed her family. Kakenya’s father was a police officer and he only came home once a year. Kakenya went to school until 8th grade. After 8th grade she had to go through a ceremony where she was to become a woman and after that she was to get married to who she was engaged to. She had been engaged since the age of 5. This did not work for Kakenya because she had a dream to become a teacher and if you were married that couldn’t happen. Her mother did not get the opportunity to chase her dreams and get an education so she always pushed Kakenya to get an education. So Kakenya went to her father and told him she would not attend the ceremony if she couldn’t go back to school. Her father agreed to let her return to school because all children were supposed to attend the ceremony. Kakenya attended the ceremony and her father made her get a female circumcision. She healed for about three weeks and then returned to school. While in school she met a guy that was from Oregon. Kakenya then got accepted into Randolph Women’s College in Virginia. She needed help though with the travel expenses so her community came together and helped her. She came to the U.S. and learned while in school that the ceremony she went through was illegal. Kekenya then went back to her community in Africa and started a girls home. She helped 125 girls achieve their dreams and finish school. This video taught us to never give up on your dreams. Kekenya was determined to chase her dreams and to make a change and she did just that! This was a wonderful video, and we hope to show our students this video to show them how important it is to never give up and to always chase your dreams.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #12

Learning From Sir Ken Robinson

Changing Education Paradigms

In the video, Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms, Sir Ken Robinson discusses reforming the education system. According to Robinson, the current system is outdated and no longer working. The culture of schools and institutions needs to shift. Robinson compares schools to factories; there is a production line mentality. Students are grouped by age with no consideration taken for their personal learning styles or levels. This is the old way of thinking. The new way is to focus on the individuality of students and encourage them to be creative, engaged and present in the current moment. What schools once labeled 'cheating' is now collaboration, and should be encouraged. Some of the best learning happens in groups, so schools should support collaboration and recognize the value it has in the classroom.

The ADHD Epidemic

We found Robinson's views on ADHD very interesting. He theorizes that ADHD is not an epidemic, but the result of children living in the most stimulating period in history. Every day students are bombarded with information overload. Computers, phones, advertisements and televisions are just some of the technologies that students are constantly immersed in. Robinson says it is no wonder that kids can't focus in the classroom-- compared to these technologies, school seems boring! This is one reason why it is so important for schools and teachers to implement technology in the classroom. Technology is relevant and engaging to students, which leads to better learning.

Girl Playing Horn

The Importance of Creativity

In this video, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the significance of creativity. He said many things that we agree with as a group and think are quite interesting. One of the first things he said that struck our thinking was when he said, “creativity is as important as literacy.” This, we believe, is completely true. We learned from this video, that in today’s education systems, the arts, keys of creativity, are pushed to the bottom of importance. The basis of education is not to teach exploration, creativity, outside of the box thinking. Education is based on our academic ability, and what will get students the most successful and likely job in their future. From watching this video, we had thoughts about many different things. What if a child is a born-to-be dancer or artist? What if that child is constantly being pushed into math and science, when the child can not stay still and has to move to think? Sir Ken Robinson explains a story just like this. A girl who was brought to a doctor, because her mother thought she had adhd, because she could never stay still or concentrate. The doctor watched the girl and turned the radio on. The girl was instantly dancing. The doctor told the mother nothing was wrong with her, but that the girl was meant to be a dancer. We learned from Sir Ken Robinson and this story that every person has different strengths, and our education system should be based on that and not just academics.


Another thing we learned from Ken Robinson is how children take chances at their age versus when they grow up. By this, I mean that when we were little, we might say something that we did not know the meaning of but wanted to say it anyway. This could have been a bad thing or a good thing depending on the word. As adults, we are afraid to make mistakes or say something wrong. In education, students are taught that mistakes are wrong. The students are based on a system that the more mistakes you make, the lower your grade will be. One thing we, as a group, agree on, is that mistakes are how we learn! If mistakes are pushed as wrong, then how will students be creative? They will not want to think outside the box, because of their inner fear that the thought might be wrong. Our education system is pushing our students out of creativity, and we have to change the fundamentals of our education system in order for students to take full advantage of their greatest strengths and creativity.

How to Escape Education's Death Valley

We really enjoyed watching Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk,How To Escape Education’s Death Valley.

In his speech he talks about one major crisis in the education system which is the dropout rate. In American society there is a 60% rate and in the Native American society, an 80% dropout rate. The drop out rate does not include the students still in school that are disengaged in learning or that don't enjoy it. It isn't about not spending enough money or making initiatives to improve education because we spend more money on education than any other country but the problem is that were not teaching the most successful way for our students to learn. Sir Ken Robinson also talks about ADHD and we couldn't agree with him more on what he says about it. He says just because a child is hyperactive doesn't mean the child should be put on medicine to be calmed down. Any child that sits in a classroom for hours when they are young are going to get bored and start acting up. That is why we need to make learning exciting and keep the children engaged and eager to learn. Mr. Ken Robinson then describes what he means by "death valley" in his title. Death valley is a desert by his house that nothing grows on. He describes how death valley and our students are similar. Death valley doesn't have anything because it doesn't rain there so it doesn't have grass, flowers, trees, or anything like that. When it did rain, though, flowers and grass grew. The same with students, If teachers don't teach them anything then they wont learn anything. If we do teach them then they will learn. This is a great video by Mr. Robinson and we cant wait to apply all the knowledge we have learned to our future classrooms and students.

Project #15

Create A Country

A geography lesson plan developed for fourth grade. Through this project, students will answer the question: "What can we learn from the makeup of a country?"

Map created by a student

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Project #10

I met with Nancy Klooz, a teacher at Spanish Fort Elementary School, to discuss technology in the classroom.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #11

What Can We Learn About Technology From Kathy Cassidy?

This video is a compilation of a year of technology in Kathy Cassidy's first grade class.

All teachers should strive to be technologically literate. One thing I know for sure about technology is that it is not going away. The world has changed and we have to change with it.

Benefits of Blogging and Technology in the Classroom

  • Parents enjoy being able to see students' work anytime they want
  • Blogs serve as a portfolio of students work and good way to gage progress
  • Students' quality of work improves because they understand anyone in the world can see it
  • Students are engaged and excited
  • Children love not having to 'power down' when they get to school
  • Opportunities for collaboration with students from all over the world

  • colored dots divider

    Using the Internet Safely

    How does Cassidy keep her students safe on the internet?

    At the beginning of each school year, Cassidy sends students home with a form for parents to sign, acknowledging that they are aware their children will be using the internet.

    Cassidy teaches students not to use their last names, and to never post a picture of themselves alongside their name. She teaches students about digital citizenship and the importance of leaving a positive digital footprint. When a student missteps and leaves a rude or hurtful comment, it is a valuable teaching moment. Helping students understand proper internet etiquette and how to safely and responsibly navigate the web is an important 21st century skill students will use throughout their lives.

    It is also important to protect students from being exposed to inappropriate content on the web. Cassidy explains to her students which links she wants them to click on, and which links they should avoid. Students learn that avoiding advertisements and flashy links keeps them safe. These are great opportunities to teach students how to handle the internet and what to do if they accidentally find themselves on a site where they should not be.

    C4T #3

    Silvia Tolisano's Langwitches Blog

    Circle of children

    Literature Circles

    Tolisano's post, Literature Circle Discussions Part II discusses the value of using Literature Circles in the classroom. As defined by Tolisano, "a Literature Circle is a way to support students in becoming critical readers." This method is an effective way to help students become more aware of the way they are reading. Students break into small groups and record their Literature Circle discussions, which include thoughts, reactions and observations about the text. They edit their videos together, then analyze it to gage the quality of their discussion. Students' final products are reflected in individual blog posts. This method is superior to pen and paper discussions because it allows students to easily collaborate, whether it be with a member of their Literature Circle or a student from across the world. This idea is definitely something I would use in my future classroom because of how seamlessly it integrates technology into literature.

    Official Classroom Scribe

    This is another great strategy from Langwitches. The 'Official Classroom Scribe' is a student who is in charge of digital note taking in the classroom. This is an important role because it keeps absent students up to date, while relieving the pressure off of the other students to meticulously take notes throughout the class period. This idea could be adapted for one class scribe, or several, but the concept remains the same. The notes are posted on the class blog for different students to share, add their ideas and collaborate. This method is great because it allows students to use their creativity and insert additional resources into their notes to give the lesson's topics more depth. Tolisano even shares an Official Scribe Rubric to guide students in their note taking.

    This blog is a great resource I plan to use over and over again.