Friday, May 3, 2013

Blog Post #15 Final Reflection


Part 1:

This assignment calls for me to revisit Blog Post #1. In my first blog post, I talked about my aspirations of teaching high school, specifically 11th grade, English. One of my biggest desires is to teach students about writing, grammar, and literature in a way that they can relate to. I want my students to understand that clarity is imperative in all messages. While I would not necessarily change what I wrote in my first blog post, I would certainly add to it now that I have learned about several tools available to my students and my classroom.

In my prior post, I blogged “How will I inspire high school students to view writing and grammar as a vital component of everyday life? I know that I will hear at least one student utter, ‘You know what I meant. So, why do I have to say it correctly?’” I still do not have these answers. And I would predict that I will take a trial and error approach in the beginning. With the expansion of technology, I feel both written and visual communication are a strong part of people’s lives today. This is true for students especially.

With technology being such a large part of students’ lives, I believe we as teachers should take advantage of it. As an English teacher, it can provide a way for me to relate grammar, word choice, clarity, and mechanics to students’ daily lives. I mentioned in my prior post that I would like to have students bring in copies of (school appropriate) texts, letters, emails, and social networking posts from friends. Together, we can read over them and discuss the many ways of interpreting the messages, as well as the correct way of conveying one’s intentions through written language by the utilization of correct grammar, word choice, and syntax. I believe it is seemingly insignificant activities like this that will slowly capture students’ attention. I would like to have a different quirky grammar quote on the board each day. Something like: “Let’s eat Grandma. Let’s eat, Grandma.”

Basically, I want my students to learn in a way that relates to their lives. For the grammar portions of the curriculum, I do not want my students simply completing worksheets. I want them analyzing, examining, and synthesizing. They can look over real life examples and correct and critique. Through the use of technology, students no longer have to rely on examples from textbooks, but can use their own writings, even if these writings are simply text messages. I want my students to understand that all symbols and text are rhetoric and convey some sort of message that we interpret based upon our own knowledge and experiences and that a speaker can give clues through body language. However, an author does not have this option. Therefore, clarity is at utmost importance.

Prior to this class, I had considered personal blogging but had never considered it as a classroom tool. Now, I am extremely interested in the use of blogs in my classroom. I would like to set up a class blog in which students are assigned a free writing session as well as have a specific assignment to reflect on. Blogging is a great way to teach students to write for an audience. There is a big difference in writing for peers, a teacher, and writing for something to be published to the web for academic reasons. If I can teach high school students to adapt to the different needs that such writing entails, I will have achieved a goal of mine and will have provided them with a real life essential. I feel that our writing improves the more we do it. Blogging is a great way to exercise writing and is a wonderful alternative to student dreaded journal writing. It also offers a lot more variety. For instance, students will have the ability to utilize multimedia writing.

Multimedia writing is a tool I would love to use in my classroom. I feel there are many ways to introduce and utilize this concept. The possibilities are endless and right at students’ fingertips. Pardon the clich├ęs, but multimedia writing would be a wonderful way for students to reflect on and explore literature.

During this class, I stumbled upon a website called ReadWriteThink. It offers some wonderful interactive tools for teachers and students. I have bookmarked it and added it to my PLN. One of the tools is a Venn Diagram. These are often used in the classroom to list similarities and differences among characters, works authors and so on. An online interactive one would be much more interesting than filling out a handout.

Overall I want my students to understand that learning never stops and the world that they are growing up in provides a way to access knowledge at all times. I want to teach them to look beyond simple text and to dig deeper and to learn on their own. Technology provides a way of achieving these goals by allowing students to connect and interact with the entire world as opposed to simply a textbook and a classroom full of 30 students

Part 2:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Final Report on PLN Project #9

my symbaloo

This class has introduced me to a lot of useful resources. I positively love Symbaloo and Google Drive. The Twitter connections during this class have also been a big help in getting a Twitter account focused on education and technology going. I now have a personal Twitter account and an education inspired one. I love checking my education one and seeing the articles educators tweet and retweet, as well as the events going on inside their classroom. Another great resource, I learned about in EDM310 are blogs. I enjoy looking through teachers’ blogs and seeing what works for their classroom and what does not.

Since my last PLN post, I have added some diversity and multi-cultured education focused websites, such as TeacherVision and Teaching Tolerance. Both of these sites offer wonderful information regarding activities, lesson plans, and assignments that promote diversity. Many of the assignments can be adapted to include technology as well, which is a rather large plus.

I think a collection of resources including both professionals and tools are necessary to become a successful teacher. My PLN is still in its beginning stages, but I intend to continue to develop and add to my PLN. Thank you Dr. Strange for pointing me in the right direction.

C4T#4 Summary

Andrea Hernandez

Comment 1
This is the second time I have been assigned to Andrea Hernandez's blog. Her blog posts make for an interesting read. Her blog is titled Ed Tech Workshop. Her latest post is Learning is Messy... Cause Life is Messy. In the post Hernandez discusses the concept that it is okay for learning to be messy because life is messy. She claims that "Learning is messy because life is messy. And learning is life. And there's really no way around it." But she says accepting the mess does not necessarily mean liking it. She has been working with a librarian and fellow teacher to discuss research projects for second and third graders. She plans to post reflections giving tips and strategies. I told Andrea that I agree life and children are indeed messy! I also commented that I have been to several class functions with my boys’ and craft time turns into quite the mess. I am sure elementary education teachers will appreciate her research and tips on keeping elementary research projects messes to a minimum.

Comment 2
Hernandez has not posted since my last comment. I looked back through her blog and found an interesting post on blog commenting. In her post Writing Commenting Policies for Student Blogs, Hernandez explains how she encourages her students to recognize quality work, both by themselves and others. Each student makes up a rubric of guidelines and expectations for his or her own blog. She states that upon presenting the concept, her students engaged in a discussion about quality verses quantity. They discussed rather it is best to leave a bunch of "junky" comments or a few good ones. The students were provided with examples of rubrics, and then they created their own. Hernandez states that they "embraced the process." The students' products demonstrate their ability to communicate the idea of quality comments. Hernandez provides examples of her students' work in the post. I commented that I enjoyed viewing samples of her students' work. I think this is a wonderful way to help students improve their writing by examining their own writing and other students' writing. It's great that the assignment goes beyond simply evaluating but evaluating in accordance to a rubric created by the students themselves. I would like to use this concept in my classroom one day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

C4K #9-#10 Summary April

new kids on the blog


Dominic is a 4th grader in Nevada. His post My Best Coolest Snow Day Ever is a creative post in which he either reflects on a snow day or imagines one. He talks about playing in the backyard with his brother and sister. I told him that here in Mobile, Alabama we do not have snow days often. I told him I believe the average to be around every eight to ten years or so. I also told him that I enjoyed reading his blog. I noticed the last blog post is dated February. I encouraged him to do more blogging in the future.


Conner is a 4th grade student in Australia. His first, and only, blog post Welcome to My Blog details several facts about him. He says he really enjoys blogging, his classes, and the fact that he has his very own netbook. He likes his teachers and football. He poses the questions: "Do you have anything in common?" and "Do you have any tips on my blog?" I commented and told him that I too am new to blogging and enjoy it. I also told him that I have always enjoyed school as well. The biggest tip I had to offer him on blogging is to proofread, proofread, proofread. I told him my class has been trained to do so. I closed commenting on how I enjoyed reading his blog and that I hope he will continue to blog.

Project #13 Collaborative Tools Report

Alexandria and I used Google Docs, Skype, and Google Chat to collaborate for project #15. We were able to effectively and quickly share information and ideas. Through Google Docs, we were able to post an outline of our video and discuss who would speak and when. We also shared links on Google Docs. Email and Google Docs tend to be more convenient because you can reply and post at your convenience, as opposed to Skype or chat. Our Skype session was short but it is how we decided which grade and subject area our lesson would meet an objective for. Through Google chat, we set up a schedule for videoing and editing project #15. For project #16 we discussed specifics both in chat and on Google Docs. However, we also met face to face for this assignment when we videoed project #15.

Project #15 Smartboard Instruction Part 2

Final Project #16

Blog Post #14

digital textbook

According to the article, “Teacher Knows if You’ve Done the E-Reading” by David Streitfeld, some Texas A&M professors are now tracking their students study habits through the use of publisher provided data regarding the use of digital textbooks. The publishers offer a service which provides educators with an engagement index score. The score is believed to have demonstrate a correlation between achievement and success and is based on how often and how long a student uses his or her textbook. The service also lets instructors know passages the student has highlighted. This information is available to students; however, only if the professor chooses to share the information with them. This article was published April 8, 2013 and states that this concept is expected to go broad. Clemson, Central Carolina Technical College, and Stony Brook University are also experimenting with the data. Streitfeld states critics question how well it measures learning. The author also notes that publishers see an opportunity to dominate digital textbooks by offering this constant stream of information to educators, as well as using the information to enhance future editions of digital textbooks.

I think the information could be beneficial in helping students who are trying but are still struggling. It would “prove” that a student is studying but may be falling behind as a result of a learning disability or weak study habits. I could see the idea of an engagement index making its way into the grade book as a participation grade, and I do not see that as being a good thing. Such a concept would not be fair to a student who has a busy life but manages to grasp the material in a short time frame and does well on exams. I do believe using the information to adjust instruction and material could be extremely beneficial. The data may help teachers have a better idea on what students are enjoying, what students are struggling with, and what students seem to grasp easily. As a teacher, I feel the student should have access to any of the tracked information.

As a student, I guess my biggest concern is with what the teacher will do with the received data. Will he or she simply adjust instruction or requirements? For example, I would struggle to understand why a student who makes a “B” but has a higher engagement index than I while I make an “A” is theoretically learning more than I am. I’ve completed several classes in which I never opened the textbook. I took notes, and I searched for other resources. I suppose for the average student, the engagement index and success may have a correlation, but as a student I see a lot of variables in the mix. As the article pointed out, what if I just simply open the book and not read? And whose business is it if I highlight a passage or not? If the gathered information wouldn’t affect me but would serve as information for the teacher to use, then I would be comfortable with it. However, if my study habits are criticized due to an engagement index score based on my textbook usage, while I am clearly demonstrating that I am grasping the material, I would have issues with it. I don’t study out of a textbook. My study habits, which have proved to be extremely efficient for me, include note taking and review. And my notes must be in my own handwriting. I’m sure my engagement index would be low for all of my classes, and I am a 4.0 student.

If I were to talk with a teacher of the class I would ask:
1. What do you do with the data received? Adjust instruction? Additional assignments?
2. How accurate do you find the index to success correlation?
3. Will you factor this information into students’ grades?
4. How does this information affect students?

If I were to talk to students of the class I would ask:
1. Do you feel the pressure to use your textbook more often?
2. Do you benefit from this data? How?
3. Do you actively use your textbook in order to increase your index?
4. Do you study or simply leave your book open?

I personally believe this whole concept is based on sales for the publishers. I don’t believe it will enhance education in a manifest way. I can see how teachers may use it to get an idea of which students struggle or have to work really hard to receive a good grade, but I also believe such information is available without tracking students’ study skills. I feel the information received may prove a correlation between those at severe ends of the spectrum, failing and aceing, but for those in the middle, who are less obvious anyway, I feel the data will not have a direct relation to the students’ achievement. Personally, I don’t believe it is any of my instructor’s business if I opened my book or not. I’m there to learn. If I choose not to, I don’t need an instructor hunting me down, especially at the college level. However, if the instructor wants to use the information to try and adjust the presentation of material, then so be it if it can help him or her.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Progress report on Final Project #16

a report magnified

Final Project #16 Progress Report:
Alexandria Higdon and I had already planned and laid out our ideas. Today, we met and videoed sections for our iMovie. We have pieced it together and have only a few minor adjustments and additions to do. We are well on our way to wrapping it up. We have already completed Project #15 and plan to be finished and have Project 16 posted by the end of next week.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog Post #13

Paul Anderson's Blended Learning Cycle diagram

Brian Crosby
I found it interesting that Brian Crosby referred to learning as being "messy" in his Back to the Future video post. My assigned C4T4, Andrea Hernandaz, blogged about learning being messy in her post Learning is Messy. Interesting coincidence.

I find Crosby's ideas interesting. I like how he begins at point A and expands to many different approaches and viewpoints. This approach helps students apply their own knowledge and experience to learning and allows them to relate to the material while learning. He stated that we have been teaching students to be taught by teaching them to sit quietly and raise their hand when they have a question; now, it's time to teach students to learn through doing.

It is heart touching that technology has allowed students with health issues to stay at home while taking part in the classroom such as Celeste in Crosby's video. This allows a child to experience something he or she would not be able to without technology. It also can show students inside the classroom the value of having the ability to be there.

Paul Anderson
In his video Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Anderson explains how he flipped his classroom into a student centered learning environment through a blended learning cycle. He details an interesting concept that he refers to as QUIVERS. During each lesson or unit he follows this outline:

QUESTION: Anderson begins each unit with an intriguing question in order to capture his students' attention. He is creative in the way he presents the question.
INVESTIGATION: This is the stage in which students begin to check into the question. They begin forming questions of their own.
VIDEO: Videos can provide students with knowledge and information to begin researching.
ELABORATION: This is when students actively research their questions and learn through doing.
REVIEW: Anderson works with small groups to check their understanding. Students are not allowed to move on to the quiz until they can demonstrate that they fully understand the lesson and unit.
SUMMARY QUIZ: Students take a brief quiz on what they have accomplished.
After several learning cycles, students take a comprehensive exam as well.

I like the concept of QUIVERS. I think it is a great way to flip the classroom and give students some control in a structured environment. As Anderson explains, QUIVERS is easily worked into a science classroom; an interesting concept of science is a great way to capture students' interest and give them something to expand on. However, it can be worked into any subject area. It will take some creativity, but I could adapt QUIVERS to fit into my English classroom. The most difficult part would be presenting a "question" that is intriguing to the students and motivates them to want to learn. I really like that the flipped classroom is more doing and less lecture. I think this is the best way to learn. Doing leads to experience, and it is through experience that we truly learn.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blog Post #12

Wordle: Blog Post

Part 1) Create Assignment

Blog Post #12: Create an iMovie trailer for future students in your classroom.

School starts back in a few weeks, and you have a list of emails to the students enrolled in your classroom for the upcoming year. Create an iMovie trailer depicting your teaching philosophy, values, interests, special class assignments, or just general information you care to share with your future students in order to offer them a glimpse of the upcoming year in your classroom.

This should be fun and creative!

Be sure you tell us what grade and subject matter you are addressing and credit your sources. Also, how could this assigment further benefit your classroom?

Part 2) Do it

I will be teaching English at the high school level. In the future this trailer could be composed of pictures and videos from prior years. And could serve as an example assignment for having students utilize media writing. For example: Students could make a video welcoming the next class.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blog Post #11

21st century classroom.  All digital. title=
Ms. Cassidy

Ms. Cassidy offers some inspiring tips in her video Little Kids...Big Potential, as well as in the Skype video between her and EDM310. I love that in the video, her students pointed out that they enjoy blogging because other people see it. Blogging provides students with an audience, and allows students to share their work with friends and family who otherwise may not get to see it. Writing for an audience gives students a purpose, even if the writers are first graders.

I really like the idea of a classroom webpage and blog. This is a great way to relay information to parents and guardians as well. I will be teaching English and language arts at the high school level. I really want to incorporate blogging into my curriculum. I believe being able to share your ideas and thoughts with a world full of diversity is a learning experience in itself. Teaming up with other classrooms across the world and allowing the students to communicate with one another will promote diversity and acceptance of people who are different as well as enhance their learning experience.

I also love her idea of using a Wiki. A Wiki would be a great way to have students research and understand assigned literature readings. Many students are bored with literature assignments. However, allowing students to create a Wiki and communicate with other students in a different school may encourage students to be more involved in discussing elements of literature. For instance, students could make a Wiki for plot or symbolism.

I have heard from several teachers that Mobile County is pushing small group instruction for the teacher to get more one on one time with the students. Technology can be used to enhance this activity. While the teacher is working with one group other students can be at centers. Students can work with a smart board, computers, iPads, and their own devices. A common way to teach grammar is through worksheets as it calls for repetition. There are many grammar quiz apps available for tablets. This would be a great alternative to the worksheet. In an attempt to engage students, a teacher can make a grammar game and have students play it on the smart board.

A big obstacle in using technology in the classroom is funding and access. But with a focus on small group instruction, every student in the classroom does not have to have a tablet or computer. Students can rotate and work with one another in cases where lack of access is an issue. Another obstacle will be those students who do not wish to share their work publically and those parents who do not want their students work to be shared. This can create a great issue. Informing and educating both students and parents on the advantages and the safety measures in place can help alleviate this issue.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

C4K#5 thru #8 Summary March

a little boy blogging
Sam is second grader in Miss Mac’s class in Birmingham. His blog posts are exceptionally well written in my opinion for a 2nd grader. I have a 2nd grader of my own, and I would love for his class to do such an assignment. Sam’s latest post is about Minecraft. He incorporated some neat images in his blog. I told him he has been doing a wonderful job on his blogs. I also told him that I am not familiar with Minecraft. I also told him that I really enjoyed his post and his images, and Minecraft looks like something that would interest my 8 year old also.

Reilly is a 6th grader who posted a creative writing post. He posted a picture of a hissing cat. From the picture, he came up with many ideas to write about. He gave reasons why the cat may be mad, and he also mentioned that if he was the photographer he would not stand so close. I told Reilly I really enjoyed reading his post. And so far, it has been my favorite post. I enjoy reading students’ creative posts. I can remember being assigned a picture and having to write a story about it when I was in school. I told him he done a wonderful job and that I enjoyed his creativity. I also asked if he enjoyed blogging, and he replied saying blogging is fun and he enjoys it very much.

C4K7 In Rebecca's post Autism, she blogged about a few questions she has pertaining to Autism. I commented and told her I do not personally know anyone with Autism, but I do find the disorder interesting. I suggested she check out the website Autism Speaks because it has some really interesting information on it.

C4K8 Jordan's class blog has been my favorite so far. It seems to be well maintained and put together. His post Nunavut, shows that his teacher tries to have an innovative classroom. He said his teacher had them Skype with another teacher. The students asked yes or no questions in order to figure out where the teacher was located. His Skype teacher was from Nunavut. He learned about the population, the capital, hunting habits, and the surprising fact that there are no trees there. I told Jordan I think it is great that his teacher is leading an innovative classroom. A technological learning game of clue sounds like fun learning time. I also complimented his class blog, as well as his post.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

C4T#3 Summary

teacher talk

C4T3 Comment #1
Angela Maiers is an author, speaker, and teacher. Her post Three Ways to Avoid New Teacher Burnout is geared toward aspiring and new teachers. She mentions that the statistics for new teachers still teaching after the first five years is low. This is something education students hear often. She gives tips for first year teachers. She says:

1) Realize you can’t do it all.
2) Don’t sign up for everything.
3) Solicit the help of expert teachers.

I commented that professors are still warning students of the statistics today. And that I think her tips are definitely something teachers should keep in mind during the first few years. There is a lot of pressure on new year teachers to take on extra activities. It can become too much for teachers who are new to curriculum and instruction. New teachers need to realize they cannot do it all.

C4T3 Comment # 2
Angela’s post You Have to Show Kids that They Matter was written after Angela spoke with two teachers on a radio network. Angela states that students need to know they matter. She says it is an innate need for humans to know they matter. She reports that after asking kids, “What would you pledge yourself to?” The results boiled down to 12 things including: “I want to be noticed. I want you to smile at me. I want you to say my name.” Angela makes a good point when shes adds that “the need to hear one’s own name is why two hundred million people are sending Tweets everyday.” We like to be noticed. She concludes that she would love hear from other teachers on the following:

Pledges made in their classrooms.
Feelings on being a teacher and friend of students.
How do you make your students feel that they matter?
How do you make your students feel noticed?

I think Angela’s outlook on making students feel important and noticed should be highly valued. Some students spend more time with teachers than they do their own parents. Teachers can be a friend, authority figure, and educator all in one. And they should be. I believe if students feel important and valued they will be more interested in learning.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blog Post #10

Papermate verses Ticonderoga.

I believe this cartoon is symbolic of technological devices. It is hip and cool to have up-to-date devices and such. But our world did come a long way with the use of pencil and paper. It does not matter how new or advanced a device is. If the user cannot or isn't motivated to use it, the device is worthless. Though technology has opened up a whole new world for us, I won't criticize the pencil. A lot of inspirational ideas begin on paper.

Scott McLeod
Scott McLeod is an inspiring blogger, author, and professor. He is a leading academic expert on K-12 technology leadership issues. He is the founding director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE).

I enjoy a good sense of sarcasm in writing. McLeod's poem in his post Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff, Please? exhibits just that. At first, I thought it was composed by an instructor at South. I'm kidding. But seriously, I know several who are against any type of technological devices in the classroom. For the reasons listed in McLeod's post.

I side with Mcleod in his argument. I appreciate that education is changing and technology is beginning to shape the classroom. Ignoring technology and relying strictly on traditional books, pen, and paper simply won't cut it in today's world. Though I believe these items have their place, technology enhances the learning process and our way of living. Students need an audience when writing. Writing for a teacher and writing for the world require very different skills. Social networking and blogging allow students to learn to accommodate their audience and adjust their style accordingly. However, I also agree that today's technology has dumbed down some writing skills. The use of text speech and auto-correct has played a role in hindering spelling, grammatical, and mechanical skills. I can say that when I was in school, there were no computers in the classroom. My work was done on paper. Therefore, if I didn't know how to spell a word, I had to look it up. Through looking it up, I learned how to spell the word because I didn't want to have to thumb through the dictionary to look it up again.

John Spencer
John Spencer's blog Adventures in Pencil Integration is an enjoyable and entertaining blog. His post Why Were Your Kids Playing Games? is a dialogue between a teacher and a principal. The teacher played a game with his students that was engaging and exciting for the students, which resulted in fun learning time. The principal is set on following the rule of "no games." He focuses on drilling memorization rather than engagement. The principal cuts the teacher off several times when the teacher tried to explain the concept of the game and how it enhanced learning. Though rules are to be followed, the rules should be student centered and geared toward enrichment. This dialogue is the perfect example of the school hierarchy and how it limits teachers and students.

Spencer's post Capturing Reality is a real eye opener. Through dialogue, the post tells a story of a man that refuses to take pictures. He says to take a picture removes him from the moment he is trying to capture. This post made me think about how technology definitely has two sides. On one side, it helps us to produce more mementos and socialize. On the other, it takes us away from the moments the mementos are from and takes away from personable socialization. I often feel bad because my boys' scrapbooks are not up to date. Majority of the pictures I take of them are sent to Facebook in a mobile uploads album. While I was working on this post, my five year old came to me and asked me to play. I wonder how many smiles on our little ones' faces we miss due to staring at a screen. I know technology is a wonderful thing, but the time it takes out of our day adds up to be a lot. How many people do you see on vacation playing on their phones, neglecting the family and friends that are present with them? Technology is grand, but for every upside there is a downside.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to play a good old fashioned board game with my baby boys. And as much as I would love to share their wonderful smiles with the world, I'll be greedy and keep tonight's to myself. No devices allowed.
Family time is sacred time. Signed Boyd K. Packer

Project #14 Smartboard Instruction Part 1

Project # 11 Short Green Screen Movie

Firework show!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blog Post #9

teachers who love teach children to love to learn.

Joe McClung's Reflections

Joe McClung's post What I've learned this Year is reflective of what he learned his first year of teaching. McClung notes that during his first year he often became so concerned with what his superiors thought of him that he lost touch with his students upon delivering a lesson. He says this cannot be the case. The students should drive instruction, and the lessons should be centered on the students. I agree with him, but I can certainly understand the role superiors can play in making such a goal difficult for a first year teacher to achieve.

McClung notes that being flexible and reasonable is imperative. This is true in life in general but especially true for a teacher who is required to meet certain objectives during a limited time under standardized goals. McClung also says teachers should communicate effectively and listen to their students. A student needs to know the teacher cares about him or her as a person. Listening is a way to show them they are valued and cared for. In addition to listening because it shows value and interest in students, teachers can learn from their students. Teachers should be aware of their students' needs and environment as it will help teachers interact with the students which will in turn promote an enjoyable learning experience for everyone.

McClung's post Version 4 Post (2011-2012) reflects on what he has learned in his 4th year of teaching. McClung notes this 4th year reflection is based on a time in his profession when change is welcomed.

He says "You Gotta Dance With Who You Come to Dance With." During his 4th year, McClung was stricken with a desire to please his peers. He mentions that it took him most of the school year to deal with the anxiety and to cope with the idea of pleasing his peers. Upon reflection, he says worrying about what his peers thought of him as an educator done nothing positive for him, and his main concern is "are the kids having fun?" While worrying about peer approval did not get him very far, taking care of his students and enjoying class has. His goal is to stick to that rule and not divert down the wrong path again.

I believe McClung is on the right track. As long as he is fulfilling the curriculum guidelines and his students are succeeding, peer approval is not needed. When others judge you chances are it is because you are different. Different is not necessarily a bad thing. It takes being different to make a difference, which is something teachers should strive for. It is natural to want to be accepted and approved of, but like McClung, I will place that in the hands of my superiors and my students.

McClung suggests challenging yourself. For three years, he has taught essentially the same course at the same school. After three years, it has become routine for him. He suggests mixing things up by possibly teaching a different course once the course you are teaching becomes too routine. He says teachers can become comfortable and lazy when repeatedly teaching the same course, resulting in lessons that "suck" and unenjoyable lessons for the students.

Teachers often reuse the same lesson plans, tests, and teaching techniques year after year when teaching the same course. Though the course material and objectives may be the same, every classroom full of students has a different set of dynamics. Teachers must adjust their teaching techniques in order to fit each particular class. Though the material covered may remain the same, classroom instruction and lesson plans need to change from class to class. This is not only to benefit the students but the teacher as well. A teacher can always better themselves, as you never stop learning. Learning new ways to present the material and new ways to test the material will help keep the teacher interested and make the class more enjoyable for students by preventing the teacher from becoming too routine as McClung mentions.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blog Post #8

tools for multimedia writing.
A New Style of Rhetoric
Many Greek and Roman classical philosophers studied rhetoric. Several of them wrote instruction manuals for teaching students how to communicate effectively through discourse and dialect. I wonder what the most influential ones such as Aristotle, Plato, and Cicero would think of today’s rhetoric. A rhetoric which, as a result of technological changes and our dependency on the internet, has evolved from paper and books and now revolves around multimedia writing.

Enhanced technology has made many changes to the world of writing and reading. A major contribution is the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips which can be used to explore our beliefs and ideas through creditable sources and data without leaving home. Another major contribution is the speed in which we receive new and updated information. Through our digital environment, we can gain information immediately as it changes, and we can view events live from across the globe. Equally as significant, it allows us to collaborate with others and to infinitely share our ideas. But internet users do not rely on text alone for communication. Today, there is a new genre in writing that combines auditory and visual literacy which results in multimedia writing.

We see multimedia writing all over the internet for the same reasons that classical philosophers viewed writing 1000’s of years ago to persuade or sway, to inform, and to please. Many of the classical concepts are still taught today, such as Aristotle’s cannon that rhetoric includes: invention, organization, style, memory, and delivery. These principles carry over to multimedia writing as well. But this type of writing calls for a different pedagogy, as Richard Miller points out in his videos This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2. In the video, Miller says that today’s writing has the workspace of a desktop. Pencil and paper are no longer the only tools used. With the workspace of a desktop, writing has come to include graphics, videos, and voiceovers. These components enhance the proofs of writing, logos, ethos, and pathos; I believe even the classic rhetoricians would agree.

Miller says the problem is that we do not have the proper pedagogy to teach such writing. He strives to inspire teachers to teach virtual literacy and enable students to write in today’s form without the need of contacting a videographer, graphics expert, and so on. Seems to me that Miller is striving to make writing students technologically well rounded, and in today’s world it has become a necessity to do so. The internet is prominent in all fields, and no website consists of merely just text.

I think Miller’s dream of teaching students to write using multimedia is inspiring. In addition to there being little to no pedagogy for teaching multimedia writing, there is little in the area of a list of concepts, rules, or regulations on such writing. Most styles of writing have a proper form or etiquette to follow, with the exception of text messaging and such, which seems to be blurring the rules for grammar, mechanics, and syntax across the board. Multimedia writing would fall under a combination of AP or MLA with a twist of visuals and auditory. Such writing calls for writing, auditory, and visual skills in addition to creativity. Developing pedagogy for such an assignment would certainly prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.

Again the question arises, "How do we teach students to do this?" We teach the basic steps in combining such components and to many the creativity will follow. But what about those students who struggle with creativity. We have to find a way to inspire them. Students can be provided with examples. For an introduction to such an assignment, students can be paired according to their strengths and weaknesses.

Carly Pugh's Post
I enjoyed reading Carly Pugh's blog post #12. Carly's assignment calls for communicating through text, auditory, and visual components which is exactly what Miller talked about in the videos I mentioned above. It would be really neat to put such a playlist together and make a video which shows my teaching philosophy, goals, and attributions, in order to add it to a portfolio for future review by a potential employers. With the world moving to multimedia writing, I believe portfolios should do the same. I also like the idea of having my students use this assignment to create an about me presentation.

Jamie Lynn Miller's Projects
The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies videos are hilarious. Though it is sad, a lot of people think like Chipper did before her "cleansing." I have never been able to wrap my mind around such thinking. It would be nice sometimes to let go of the stress and pressure and procrastinate from time to time, but I am unable to bring myself to do it.

I think it would be interesting to make a video depicting the importance of a deadline, in particularly in group activities. When working on a group assignment, you have a final deadline. If each member agrees to complete a certain task before a deadline in order to complete the project on time, but the said deadline is missed, someone in the group is going to be inconvenienced. Students in college have families, jobs, church activities, and so on that they have to schedule around as well. When a student misses a group agreed deadline and then the group experiences a difficulty during the project, the project's final deadline is threatened.

For example, in my group's podcast assignment we set Tuesday as a deadline to have our parts done. There were some issues, and for one reason or another the work was not completed until Thursday. On Friday, I was told there were more issues with the podcast, and I needed to help another group member put everything together. I had purposely finished my week’s work ahead of time, in order to spend time with my son on his birthday. Because our deadlines was not met in the beginning, we were not aware of the issues at hand until later, which inconvenienced me. I respect that things come up. But for the most part deadlines are made for a reason, and even a “flexible” deadline should be respected. Though we may have days to complete a project, we never know when something will go wrong. Especially when working in a group, procrastination is inexcusable. Luckily, my group set the first deadline in advance enough to accommodate for difficulties along the way, and I did not have to take too much time from my little boy's birthday.

A video depicting how such neglect can interfere with other members' lives would be informative especially with such an emphasis on deadlines in EDM310 and group work.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
Just as schooling underwent reformations in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds, I believe it is time for one now. The world was experiencing changes and growing just as it is today. We have to change with it. Technology is a way of life, and we have to teach students how to make use of it. It is sad that education is below coal mining on the list of technology inclined. But I suppose coal miners appreciate the safety advantages technology provides. As the video points out, students are actively using messaging and networking for communicating, but the schools do not allow for it. I’ve mentioned before that my English professors have not allowed electronic devices such as ereaders. I learn more from an ereader simple because of the define-a-word option. I am not likely to ask what a word means in class, but on an ereader, I am constantly checking the definition of a word. A lot of instructors say the urge to check your messages on a device is too strong. Do they not remember the days when students pretended to take notes while they were actually writing letters? It is definitely time for a change. It may happen slowly and evolve from one region to the next, but I believe the traditional classroom style will soon expire.

Justin Cometti's Scavenger Hunt

1. Poll

Create a poll anywhere at Take my poll here.

2. Comic Strip

View my comic strip here. Make your own at Make Beliefs Comix!

3. Video Tool

Animoto provides users with a variety of tools for creating videos. Its focus is for videos in the classroom and enhancing the digital classroom. Animoto offers a free unlimited video account for educators. Some of the features included are:

Cinematic A.I.
Animoto basically analyzes media for the user, so that the user is free to focus on content and narration of the video.

This allows users to highlight a specific image and give it prominence during the video.

Text and Images
Users can incorporate text, quotes, stats, images, and more in videos.

Sharing and Downloading
Animoto makes emailing, sharing, exporting, and downloading videos easy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

C4T#2 Post and Comment Summary

progress in action caution sign
C4T#2 Comment#1
In her blog post 2013 Photo365 Project, Beth Still writes about how life gets in the way of her sticking to a Photo365 project. This year, she has decided to put her Photo365 project to good use by taking pictures of stuff she wants to clean out of the house. She has decided to remove one item a day and to take a photo of it. I commented on her post that life does seem to get in the way of being able to clean out the overstuffed closets and drawers. I also told her that one of my biggest issues is when I do clean out the stuff, it normally just takes up a new place and sits for a while before it actually finds its way out of the house. I asked how she manages to avoid this and how her project is going.

Beth replied and said she is managing to keep up with her project, but it isn't easy because there is so much to do. She mentions that a lot of what she wants to get rid of belongs to her family members, so she has to be "sneaky." She also mentions that she gives toys to her students for their children. I found that to be really thoughtful of her.

C4T#2 Comment#2
There was no new post by Beth since my first comment. I have looked back through some of her older posts and found some posts she wrote as a result of the Sandy Hook shooting. An interesting read is "Preparing for the Worst Case Scenario." But I was searching for a post that related to technology in the classroom to comment on and to use in this summary. And I found the perfect one titled "I Quit."

Beth teaches Social Studies at an alternative high school. She says her students are failing “because they can’t/don’t/won’t do their work.” She has decided to make the classroom student centered as opposed to teacher centered. In December, she stated that beginning in January, she will have her students make up individualized learning plans. She will provide a list of topics that students will select based on the focus of the class. She says the list of topics will be based on her state’s Social Studies standards. Beth will have students select a topic and formulate questions to help guide their research. She says this will also teach them to do informative and effective research. Beth will incorporate technology and have her students decide on a final project such as a video, slideshow, Wikipedia entry, and so on. Grading can be difficult for such projects, and she states she will work with students on a rubric.

Beth notes that all of her students need to work on their verbal and written skills. She hopes to get them in contact with experts that can provide insight to their chosen topic, much like a networked student plan.

I found this post to be interesting because it goes along with what we have been learning in EDM310, which is a networked, technology based, student centered classroom. I commented and told Beth that this concept is a focus in some of my classes and that lately I have heard and read a lot about the same type of techniques mentioned in her post. I am eager to hear about the progress. I asked her how it was working out for her students, and if she is enjoying the changes.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Project #9 PLN 1st Post

personal network begins with an individual and a computer. There is a world full of possibilities through communication.

My PLN Beginning Stages:

I have recently downloaded Symbaloo, and I love it. I have found it to be very helpful and much more organized and accessible than bookmarking or adding to a tool bar. I have set Symbaloo as my homepage. It has helped me organize both personal and professional resources.

At this time, my professional PLN contains access to and information regarding:

Twitter, where I have a separate account for academics. I am currently following several inspiring and knowledgeable educators and seeking more.

Links to University of South Alabama, my online classes, PAWS, and the university's library. I often use the library's online database to access the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) journal, The English Journal. Which offers many articles for helping English teachers in the classroom.

Mobile County Public Library

National Education Association

Prudue Owl I frequent this site.

Grammar Girl

Contact information for Larry Beason and Nicole Amare, prior professors of mine at USA who are very helpful resources.

Learnist, which is supposed to be a Pinterest type site for education. I have just recently found this. I am not sure how helpful it will prove to be. I will update later.

Lesson plans and activities I have created.

Of course there are interchangeable resources in my PLN, such as Amazon, Google Drive, and Pinterest.

Monday, February 25, 2013

C4K#1 thru #4 Summary February

kid blog
Mai Lee Yang has posted that she was born in Thailand and moved to the United States when she was five years old. In her post, she embedded a map showing her homeland. She speaks Hmong and little English. Mai is 14 now and is taking an 8th grade English language learning class. Judging from her post, she is doing well. I commented on Mai’s use of English and noted that it looks as though she is doing well. I also thanked her for embedding a map. I let her know that I had never heard of Hmong and that she had taught me something.

In her post Why I Like My A.R Book!, Chelsea recommends a book to her friends that she enjoys reading because it is mysterious. In her post Chelsea does a good job by not revealing who the secret admirer is to future readers. I commented and told her that was a good choice. I also asked how her AR reading is going and encouraged her to continue to read to reach her goal of “reading like a rock star,” which she mentioned in another post. I am not familiar with what 4th graders know about book titles and punctuation. So, instead of correcting her misuse of quotation marks around the book title, I was sure to use the title and italicized it. Maybe she will notice and ask her teacher why the difference.

Shaitarn is a year 5 student at Pt England School. He is just starting his blog and has posted an about me presentation. His presentation includes slides of his favorite characters, his imaginary friends, his favorite car, and more. I commented that I see he is just beginning his blog and that I hope he will enjoy blogging. I also remarked on his good presentation and the cool car he included.

Brandon is a 1st grader at a school in Theodore. I enjoyed looking over his and his classmates' blogs. I have a kindergartner and a 2nd grader, and I wonder what my 2nd grader would think of the blogging process. I knew from the C4K assignment spreadsheet that Ms. Vannoy's class is a first grade class, but I wanted to pose a question to Brandon that may generate a response. So, because I didn't see it on the blog anywhere I asked him what grade he is in. His post is about how he loves Christmas, and he says he received cars and trucks for Christmas. I wanted to relate to him. I told him that I have a 6 and an 8 year old and that they love Christmas, cars, and trucks also. I hope to hear back from him. His age and blogging intrigue me.

Blog Post #7

give yourself permission to dream. -Randy Pausch

Remarks on Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

At the end of his lecture Randy closes by asking, “Have you figured out the second head fake?” He then says, “The talk's not for you; it’s for my kids.” These words gave me chills. Randy Pausch was an amazing speaker. As an English major, I could not help but consider the rhetorical components of his speech, particularly the five cannons and three proofs. His speech is a prime example of the use of ethos, logos, and pathos. The use of rhetoric in Randy's speech makes it extremely powerful. His use of invention itself is inspirational. Through his creative use of composure, organization, and word choice, his message gains a powerful tone. Randy does a wonderful job addressing many audiences including his students, colleagues, family, and unknown listeners. I mention this because of the nature of his lecture. Randy wanted the lecture to be inspirational and he wanted to inspire people to embrace their dreams.

What better speaker to tell about how to explore your dreams and help others to do the same than one who has been successful in doing so? Not only does Randy acquire the credibility of achieving his dreams, but he also uses his positivity to inspire others. At the time of his speech, he knew he was dying. He used his experience and his emotions in a positive way to show how the support he has received over the years has enabled him to achieve his dreams. As a result, it has also lead him to strive to help others to embrace and work toward achieving their own dreams.

I feel there are many lessons to be learned from Randy's message, not only those obviously addressed in his lecture,such as dreams and education, but lessons for life in general. In the beginning of the lecture, he apologizes for not seeming as depressed as he should be about having such a short time period to live. He mentions that we have to play the cards we are dealt. This statement is true in all aspects of life; there are some things we just cannot change. However, the journey through life can be enhanced by striving to reach our dreams.

Randy’s last lecture shows that regardless of how superficial, simple, or extravagant our childhood dreams may seem, they can mold us into the person we become. He says we should not lose sight of them and that it is important to have a specific dream. According to Randy, we should embrace our dreams and our childlike sense of wonder. We may not achieve the actual dream, but an adaptation of the dream may prove to be beneficial. Randy says experience is what we get, when we do not get what we want. I believe it is what we do with experience that makes us who we are.

Inspiring others is equally as important as achieving our own dreams. Randy emphasizes that we should help other people to acknowledge and embrace their own dreams. It appears that Randy has worked at achieving this goal as a professor, a husband, and a father. In the lecture, Rangy gives tips and testimonies that can be applied both professionally and personally. Tips I found intriguing in Randy’s last lecture are listed below.

In order to assist others (particularly my future students, as well as my children)in achieving their dreams:
Don’t put off creativity; encourage it.
Teach the fundamentals first; the fancy stuff will follow.
Push students to do more and try harder.
Raise the bar or students may never reach higher.
Allow students to see where they stand among others, in hopes of encouraging them to do more.
Give feedback and listen to any received feedback.
Be loyal.
Show gratitude.
Most of all, have fun!

Randy felt the need to promote a nontraditional classroom, and he found the results of doing so important enough to share. His nontraditional type classroom helped his students both realize and reach for their dreams. I noticed similarities between the class Randy explained and EDM310. I believe all students should have access to this type of education.

In the English classroom students are provided with an opportunity to be creative while also following fundamental rules. As a teacher, I can provide my students with assignments that allow them to explore their dreams through writing. We can learn a lot about ourselves in our own writings, especially in journals and in personal narratives. I can provide students an opportunity to view their dreams seriously as well as playfully. I would like to put together an assignment that facilitates exploring one's dreams. This would send the message to my students that their dreams, no matter how big or small, are significant.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Project #10: Finding the Right Tool

Teachers Open Your Toolbox

A Tool in My PLN

A valuable tool or resource in my PLN is the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) journal, The English Journal. The English Journal offers many articles for helping English teachers in the classroom. I recently ran across the article "The Students Are the Living Authors: Publishing Student Work Using Print on Demand." In the article, Zachariah L. Heyer tells about how he used a print on demand service in order to publish his students' work. Giving his students the opportunity to become published authors provided his students with “an authentic way to learn the value of a published final copy.” He states that his students really took an interest in the finished product. He also adds that they grasped a sense of value of writing for an audience, and they became interested in improving their writing and following conventions.

I found the idea of print on demand and the values Heyer's students seemed to learn interesting, and I put together an idea for a senior project. I have ran the project by Dr. Beason an instructor at USA and a contact in my PLN. I have outlined some of the details below.

Seniors become Published Authors

This senior class project is aimed at helping students to see themselves as real authors, while allowing them to understand the importance of conventions and writing for an audience. The assignment emphasizes the importance of meeting a deadline and the significance of a published copy. By using a print on demand service, teachers can utilize affordable technology to provide their students with a meaningful reason to write and allow them to become published authors.

Students will create a senior memento. Students will be given a deadline to meet. Before the deadline, each student is to submit a high school themed writing that is in publishable state. Students may choose any style of writing. When presenting this assignment, I will bring in examples to help students develop their own ideas. There will be several class meetings that allow students time to work on the assignment, as well as to address any concerns they may have. Students will take part in peer revision and turn in a draft.

Students who meet publishing requirements will be published in a book that will be available for purchase via the internet. Publishing requirements include both submitting a final piece and returning a parental slip form granting consent. Publishing is not a requirement; however, seeking parental consent for publishing is. Parental consent forms will be sent home for parents to sign either declining or granting consent for their child’s work to be published.

There are several websites available for print on demand services. I suggest choosing one closer to the time of assigning the project.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blog Post #6

Two computers with arms extending out of them and shaking hands

Networked Student is an informative and creative video. The video wonderfully illustrates the benefits of networking that are available for students to take advantage of. The video also illustrates how a teacher can enhance the classroom and learning experience by promoting networking. I feel, in a minute way, education has is already moving to this. Except, it seems the average network is made up of tools instead of people. For example, students have been using the internet for years to access journals, peer reviewed documents, and other resources for assignments. However, students' educational networks are often lacking people contacts.

In most occupations, networking has become a top priority. But with the world so busy and preoccupied with their own interests, how does a teacher help her students build a network of experts and such? In order for the teacher to promote student networking, he or she will need to have established his or her own network. A great place to start, of course, is your inner circle including friends and family. Where do you go from there? Blogging and social networks provide the perfect grounds for becoming acquainted with contacts across the globe. Luckily for EDM310 students, once we complete the class we will have established some valuable connections. One day these connections may lead us to others that will help enhance our classroom and pave the way to communicate with experts, authors, and other valuable information holders.

Blogging and social networks provide the perfect grounds for teachers to network in order to meet experts who are willing to help students build their own connections. Even though a networked student has virtually an unlimited amount of resources to utilize, I believe a student still needs a teacher as an appointed guide. I support nontraditional learning and moving away from the highly standardized learning system that is predominantly in place; however, students need a familiar individual to look to for guidance, praise, and criticism. I believe students need some sort of consistency in education and that turning them loose to explore, experience, and learn on their own without any guidance would not result in a well rounded education.

When I first viewed A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN) video, I thought the screen the student had was from a MAC. I was happy to learn that it was a website I could utilize on my PC. I have now created an account with Symbaloo and have started using it. This is a great way to organize bookmarks and frequently visited sites. It is much more organized than my tool bar.

The student in the video has an extensive amount of resources perfectly organized right at her fingertips, including both tools and contacts. I have started a list of my contacts including instructors who I can reach out to, as well as both veteran and new teachers I am personal friends with. I believe my PLN should also include quick links to Owl Purdue, which is a site I often visit for grammatical and mechanical information. I will be on the lookout for additional tools to add to my PLN.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Personal Post

I thought I would pass on this photo shared by Teacher Time 123 on Facebook. Thankfully, we can use technology for a quick laugh as well as a resource. I guess this is what we as future teachers have to look forward to; I look forward to it all!

You know you are a teacher when you wake up with textbooks in or around your bed.  A list of teacher jokes

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Post #5

I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will do exactly as I say.

If I Could Build a School

Krissy Venosdale is an inspiration! On her Twitter account, Krissy refers to herself as an elementary teacher who is always learning and is "continually working to inspire kids." Krissy's ability to inspire extends beyond kids. As a future teacher, I am inspired by her lively blog posts. Her posts are enlightening and positive. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her posts and have subscribed to her blog. The positive attitude she promotes is something every teacher should possess. Krissy's If I Built a School post details a dreamy school that all students would want to attend and all teachers would want to teach at. The creation of the school itself would be an innovation. Practically speaking, we know this dream is far fetched, but the ideas and goals in the post should be addressed in other ways. Let's face it, a tree house in the library would be awesome! I agree that students need a school that inspires creativity and makes them not only want to attend school but to succeed. Bland walls, uniforms, non-flexible scheduling, state curriculum, fluorescent lightning, and practicality do not provide a good basis for inviting our students in and inspiring them to think creatively.

Physically, I would want the school to be inviting, modern, and comfortable. Why not offer students the chance to learn in a relaxed environment as opposed to one that is so structured and uncomfortable? Every chair would be padded. Tables would be used as opposed to desks, in hopes of promoting collaboration and discussion. The entire school would be integrated, and teachers would collaborate and work together by having students do projects that require knowledge in several areas, such as making a movie or composing a book with illustrations. There, of course, would be a studio for making movies. The classrooms would be arranged for engagement and not simply to make the best of available space. Students would sit in a semicircle with the teacher in the center. The library would be a lounge area complete with device charging stations and a coffee shop. Students who could not attend class would have the option of joining the classroom virtually. The cafeteria would offer several chain restaurants in order to give students a choice. The cafeteria would be designed more like a sit down restaurant with cozy booths and pleasant lighting, as opposed to a prison cafeteria with straight line folding tables. Uniforms would only be mandatory for those students who failed to meet a relaxed but appropriate dress code.

With the day dreaming out of the way, I would like to say that my goal would be to build a school that goes beyond the typical student-passive curriculum we see today and that promotes student constructivism. A school where educators and students work together to enhance the learning process. A school where teachers view their students as contributors to the classroom and not merely buckets to dump information in. I can only start in my classroom, and I believe “flipping the classroom” is a great way to begin.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir (6:20)

This video is an amazing piece of work. At first glance, the virtual choir seems somewhat impersonal. But after listening to the story and the testimonies the virtual choir has a different feel to it. The use of technology to fulfill dreams and connect people to produce such a magnificent piece is very moving. Utilizing the internet in this way offers people the experience of being part of something truly special, along with 184 other people, without even leaving home. Such a project would be a great way for a music teacher and a computer teacher to work with one another to create a technology based assignment for students.

Teaching in the Twenty First Century

Kevin Roberts believes educators have to teach in a way that is engaging and challenging, as well as relative to life. While there is a wealth of facts and information at our finger tips, anyone searching for information must be able to synthesize and process the information found, before it can become knowledge. Today, students do not struggle with obtaining information. They need to learn the skills of processing the wealth of information available, checking a source for credibility, and actually applying the information they have learned. I do agree that teachers are now a filter. While, the textbook and teacher are no longer the only sources of information, students still have to be taught the skills of processing, analyzing, assessing, applying, and synthesizing.

As an educator, I believe it is necessary for me to teach my students how to apply available information to their daily lives. As an English teacher, a great way to help develop these skills is by having my students blog and tweet about real life situations. I could assign students a scenario such as, “Which checking account would best suit my needs?” I could have each student research and write a blog post describing the information they have found and how the information is relative to them. Such an assignment would enhance writing skills and critical thinking, as well as help students learn to research real life situations that they will soon face.

Flipped Classroom

At first, I had concerns about whether or not the students would actually watch the videos and those students who may not have access to the videos. After watching the FAQ videos, I fully support the idea of flipping the classroom. Requiring students to watch a video and take notes for homework in preparation for the day’s activities is not much different from having students read a chapter before coming to class. I believe a video would be more helpful than an in class lecture because students have the option of rewatching, taking notes, and researching the information on their own. I like that students will come to class already knowing what the day’s lesson is about and have the chance to work with and learn from peers on a similar pace. I could use this approach inside my classroom in the areas of grammar, writing, and literature.

I believe the biggest concern is access. Though most students have access to the videos at home, there has to be a way for several students to catch up on the videos if they by chance do not have access. As a mommy, if we did not have internet access at home, catch up time would not be during my child’s lunch time. If my child simply neglected to watch an assigned video, that would be a different story.

I believe a flipped classroom can be beneficial and is a way to engage the teacher, students, and parents.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blog C4T Post and Comment Summary

Blog button on a keyboard

C4T#1, comment 1

In her blog post Schooly Non-Discussables Andrea Hernandez reports reading Miguel Guhlin's post The Undiscussables of Tech Leadership. Hernandez states that she has spent years working to be the best educator she can be by trying to understand both in a pragmatic and an academic sense. However, there are a few things that she does not understand. Hernandez poses the question "Are we too obsessed with technology, gadgets, and devices?"

Her question sparked me to share my views on the recent BYOD (bring your own device) day my boys’ school has adapted. While my kindergartner's class is attempting to utilize the technological resources a tablet offers to the classroom, my second graders class is simply playing popular games while waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. In my comment, I told Hernandez about these recent events and how a weekly BYOD day at an elementary school, which calls for a 5 year old to bring a $200 device, supports the theory that we are obsessed with technology. While I am not against the idea of my boys taking their tablets to school, I am not particularly pleased with the usage in my second grader’s classroom. I expressed my concern that our obsession is allowing students to bring toys to class which in turn end up being a babysitting device.

C4T#1, comment 2

In her post Rockin' the PD- part 2: Hatzatah, Hernandez explains that Martin J Gottlieb Day School is trying out new learning styles and tools. The school purchased 20 iPads for student use in 2011. In addition to enhancing students' learning with technological tools, the school aims at engaging teachers in professional development through new ways. The school has adapted the popular presentation format hatzatah, in which each presenter has 5 minutes to present an idea. The presentation consists of 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds. Faculty meetings are opened with a hatzatah, which lead to a hatzatah competition in which teachers answered the question, “How have iPads impacted my practice?” The presentations not only helped teachers learn how to overcome challenges related to iPads in the classroom but also helped teachers relate to their students. Hernandez quotes one teacher who says she wanted to drop out of the competition, but she did not and she was able to overcome her presentation anxiety.

I commented that the hatzatah format sounds like a beneficial format. I like that the method is used to open faculty meetings because it provides teachers with a formal method of relaying information and ideas quickly. I also stated that it seems as though the competition was inspiring to the teachers. The competition prompts teachers to talk about how iPads are used in their classroom and share these ideas with their coworkers, and it allows the teacher to use technology as a way of sharing his or her ideas. The competition also puts teachers in the role of a student by giving them a prompt to answer in a presentation during an allotted time-frame. One teacher stated that she felt she could relate to her students better after completing the competition. To me, that is more important than the technology used to present the presentation and the technology discussed in the presentations.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Special Blog Post Assignment #1

Digital overload.  So many resources, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, Blogger, etc... So little time.
Video from Blog Post #2

Though the rhetoric of the video, Did You Know?, is deceiving, I did not misinterpret the information as meaning that the US was behind the other countries mentioned. Such a determination cannot be made with one sided figures. Numbers, like all rhetoric, can be manipulative and used to show one side of the table. We can gather nothing with percentages alone. Percentage of what? According to WolframAlpha the population of China is 1.35 billion, the population of India is 1.21 billion, and the population of the United States is 309 million.

318 million people in China either know English or are learning to speak English. Assuming they all learn to do so 23.56% of China’s population would speak English. While the amount of English speakers in China may be more than the entire population of the United States, the percentage of English speaking Americans is higher than the percentage of English speakers in China.

And while India may have more honors students than the United States, it is expected as they have three times the population.

Two WolframAlpha searches:

“Compare Mississippi and Alabama high school enrollment”
Mississippi 171522
Alabama 258284

“Compare Mississippi and Alabama test scores”
100% of Mississippi high school graduates take the act; their average English score is 18.6.
82% of Alabama high school graduates take the act; their average English score is 20.4.

WolframAlpha offers students a resource of information regardning statistics, geography, media, genealogy, chemistry, and so on. The spectrum of information offered on this site seems to be endless. This site would be helpful to English students in gathering research for a variety of different types of papers. WolframAlpha can help students not only locate information and data but the site can also help students interpret and compare data.

Social Media Chart

Gary Hayes Social Media Chart is amazing to watch. It is astonishing that the numbers increase continuingly. It is incredible that Hayes has put all this information together into a chart that continuously updates the data. I was surprised to see that the amount of new android phones activated is more that the amount of iPhones sold. I would have guessed the numbers would be fairly close. According to this site, there are about 7 times as many new android phone activations as there are new iPhones sold in one minute. This chart proves that technology is steadily increasing. Not only is technology enhancing but it is also spreading throughout society at a steady rate. More and more people are using social networking sites and tools such as Blogger and Google. As a teacher, I will need to stay up-to-date on the resources available to me both inside and outside the classroom. Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs are a great way to stay informed of technology that is enhancing the classroom.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blog Post #4

Doodle of a smiley face connecting to Earth with a microphone.
In her blog Podcasting with 1st Grade Silvia Tolisano says, “Believe it or not, but having an audience matters… even to 6 year olds.” I could not agree with this statement more. When writing and speaking the audience is important. The author or speaker needs to know what rhetoric to use when delivering his or her message. Creating a podcast is no different. Everyone, youngsters especially, loves praise. Podcasting is a great way to teach students the value of their work through feedback.

Tolisano’s post 1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Book had my mind turning. I have a 5 and 7 year old that would love to do this sort of thing, and we may give it a try this summer when we all have some free time. This is a great way to teach students how spoken language can display emotion through sounds. It can teach them why an exclamation mark is “loud,” as my kindergartner refers to it. I was shocked to see that the book was all script, no pictures. I think this is a great way to get children interested in reading without the use of illustrations.

Tolisano mentions several skills that podcasts activities address:
• listening
• speaking
• presenting
• comprehension
• storytelling
• performance
• voice acting
• oral fluency
• media
• technology

In addition to these skills, I feel a podcast of a book will also encourage a child’s interest in reading by allowing the child to follow along in the book while hearing his or her own voice.

Comprehension is hard work for some students, rather it be reading or listening. I myself struggle with some material and wish it were available in an audio format so that I could read along while hearing the material. The process of critically thinking while logically organizing bits of information does not come natural for all of us. Tolisano’s post Listening-Comprehension-Podcasting is a great way to help students, of all ages, learn to process a message. Creating a sound puzzle for students to unscramble can aid in teaching them how to organize information as well as how to decide what bits of information are important in a sentence or passage. I believe this activity could be particularly helpful in the English classroom when presenting a unit on the parts of speech.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blog Post #3

Grammar Saves Lives by using the correct comma placement in the sentence,
Grammar and Peer Revision

If we do not refresh our memory on the rules of grammar and mechanics, they often escape us. Even as an English major, I make mistakes. As I read through my assigned student’s blog, I did notice some grammatical and mechanical errors. I, like Paige Ellis explained in her blog post, wondered if it was my responsibility to point out the errors.

Though I have been known to “playfully” correct my mother’s grammar on Facebook, I, personally, do not feel comfortable correcting someone’s grammar on a public blog, unless the post is about grammar. I do not feel it is my place to publicly correct them. I am comfortable privately offering the author advice in order to improve his or her writing and noting any errors I have noticed. As a result, I have decided to email my assigned student.

I recognize EDM310 as a class in which writing well is essential to success, I believe it would be helpful to include links to those pesky grammar rules that are often forgotten. Below, I have listed a few links to help with the grammar mistakes that I often see in peer writing.

Possessive, Plural, and the Apostrophe
Quotation Punctuation

I found the video Writing Peer Review TOP 10 Mistakes (4:01) humorously accurate in depicting how I remember peer editing before college. As an English teacher, I predict I will have similar occurrences in my classroom. Over the past few semesters, I have participated in quite a bit of peer review. In my experience, my peers wanted a "Picky Patty" because our instructors counted off for even something as seemingly insignificant as an extra space between two words. There is a time and place for such critiquing. Sometimes, simply acknowledging good word choice or mentioning a grammar rule is enough to help someone understand where he or she can improve.

In addition to the assigned video for this post, I recommend all EDM310 students watch How to Avoid 10 Common Grammar Mistakes (3:26). It has useful tips for writers who are unaware of common mistakes and who simply want a refresher.

Assistive Technology

The Mountbatten is an intriguing piece of technology. Inside the English classroom, this machine would be a wonderful piece of equipment for a student who is blind. The Mountbatten would enable the student to compose a writing assignment without the assistance of another individual, as well as provide the teacher with the means to read it by sending a file to a computer. The machine also receives files which would provide the option of sharing information with the student in written form, as opposed to in auditory format.

I had not given much thought to assistive technology, until I took a class on special education. I, of course, had thought about students with learning disabilities and such, but I had neglected to think about students who are blind or deaf. I am in awe at the technology available to enhance the learning process for blind students. The iPad VoiceOver function for blind users seems quite beneficial. It offers a combination of helpful tools for blind users including the ability to read books and surf the web. After watching iPad Usage for the Blind (6:36) and Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is (5:35) , I would assume learning to use the voice over software would be frustrating for the student, teacher, and parents. However, once the process is learned, the iPad VoiceOver software offers the user a variety of tools. This would be great asset for a blind student in any classroom, particularly in my future English classroom. VoiceOver provides students who are blind easy access to due dates and note taking. It also provides them with a means of reading without the timely use of Braille.

According to Professor Art Karshmer, blind students have extreme difficulty learning both basic and advanced mathematics. In the video Teaching Math to the Blind (3:27) Karshmer introduces a workspace to assist blind students in using Braille, which is “linear in nature,” in a dimensional way. Karshmer’s demonstration of the workspace details how difficult math can be for a blind student.

Watching videos on assistive technology for blind students has brought to light the difficulties they face, especially the difficulty of learning to use the new technology available to assist them. As a teacher, I will have to catch on quickly to the technology available for a student in my classroom who needs assistive technology.

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts (4:51)

I found it intriguing that Vicki Davis was able to adapt innovative ideas to fit her classroom objectives and the curriculum. She is truly an inspiration. I also attended a rural high school and graduated in 2000; I did not have near the technological resources available today. The internet was just gaining popularity, and teachers were uncomfortable with its use. I would have thoroughly enjoyed the resources available today. Connecting a rural high school to the world is an achievement in itself.

I look forward to utilizing technology in the classroom, specifically blogging and web pages such as Wiki. These types of activities will offer students the opportunity to write for various reasons, including personal, technical, informative, and so forth. Also, today’s technology will provide students with a way to “publish” their work. When I was writing papers in high school, the only feedback I received was from the teacher and possibly from peer review. But today’s technology allows students to learn the value of a publishing, and allows them to receive feedback from people worldwide.