Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Final Blog Reflection

I know it's a little longer than ten minutes, but I had a lot of explaining to do. I couldn't possibly sum this semester up into ten minutes. I apologize. I think the tools that I have learned in this class will make a lot of my dreams possible...maybe I'll get to go to Spain. I would also like to say that I do plan to reflect on this blog, and I also plan on creating another blog that is a little more personal. I will share that information when it is up and running. I think my boyfriend has also benefited from this class as well, and he has since created his own personal blog. We are having a lot of fun with this learning tool that is so new to us.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Little Something Extra for Our iBook

This was a lot of fun to make. I am glad we got to give it a go! Thanks to everyone in the lab that helped us create this video.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What tools I am taking with me from EDM310

This will appear in our iBook. I had to make it a little longer, because I addressed what I would like to use as a teacher and a future counselor.

Project #13: Report on Collaboration for Projects #14, 15, and 16

Wow! I can't believe this semester is coming to an end. It's felt wonderful to be back in school. If the Alabama Department of Education will hurry-up and validate my teacher's certificate, I will be starting my graduate studies this Fall. Here's to hoping!

Our group will hopefully be done with our final project tomorrow, and I don't know what I am going to do without these girls. We have had a lot of fun. We have collaborated for projects #14, 15 and 16 through a few different methods. We have used our time wisely after we have filmed our projects, but we covered things forgotten through text messaging, email, Googledocs, and through Google+ Hangouts. It's been a lot of fun learning all these different ways to communicate. I plan out using hangouts more frequently for everything! I like putting on all the different effects.

Final Report on My PLN....For this Class

Final Report on My PLN....For this Class

It's not Over

Like we have said throughout this semester, our PLN is on-going and ever-changing. It's not something that can ever be complete or "Final". In saying that, this is not "My" final PLN. I will continue to add to my PLN.

I am still using Symbaloo to bookmark all of the people, places, and websites that are critical to my PLN. It's great and very easy to use. You can even find suggestions for pages that might interest you. I have maintained a professional PLN thus far; however, I plan to add some of my favorite personal sites soon. Since my mid-term report on my PLN, I have begun to use Twitter more, and I have become a lot more comfortable with it. In fact, I would almost say that I am fond of it. I think I am going to take Ms. Cassidy's advice to her students and create a Facebook account just for teaching.

I would like to share a few new components to my PLN:


Daniel Edward's Blog

Education Rethink - I think a great assignment for next semester would be a blog post found on this site called New Teacher Toolkit. I also plan on using some of the tips I found in Social Studies Project Ideas, if I go back into the classroom.

Living Facebook: Forty Days of Doing Facebook in Person - I love this experiment of Mr. Spencer's. I would love to do something like this in a classroom. I almost wrote a voluntary blog about it. It speaks to me.


As you can see, I am a big fan of John Spencer.

Spencer's Shirt for his Living Facebook Project

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Post #13

 When I was a Student

After watching Back to the Future , I will attempt to illustrate how "one topic can encompass a huge range of learning" in Mr. Crosby's video and in A Vision of Students Today. I thought both videos were excellent examples something that should be a basic skill for all teachers, crossing curriculums. Being the "Grammar Nazi" that I am, I often found myself incorporating a lot of English and Literature into my History class - I always tried my hardest to fit some Science and Math, but it wasn't always possible.

In Mr. Crosby's video he not only was teaching Science (and Science standards), but he was also teaching Technology, Language, Networking, Social Studies, Reading and Citizenship. It's obvious that they were learning Science through their studies and experiments, but these students barely new where they lived when the class started. Through their blogging, wiki, and internet usage, they broaden their knowledge not just nationally but globally. It was also through this process that they bettered their technology skills and also became "networked students". Through blogging, they also improved reading language skills. They are becoming more well-rounded, and it is creating a path to prepare them for jobs of the future (and also meeting the standards dictated by the state). I thought the most poignant statement made in the entire video came near the end, when Mr. Crosby said that this new type of learning was creating a future that some students may have never had. Overall, I loved the video. I could tell he was really enthusiastic, but I wish he could have slowed his speech in some parts. Great contribution to our class!

In the video from Kansas State University, I felt like it was from the other end of the spectrum that Mr. Crosby was talking about. These are the kids that have had more opportunities, but it was still an excellent example of how they covered a wide-range of topics. These were students that were not only learning from their studies, they were learning honesty, statistics, cooperation, and reflection. While I think it's obvious how I think how all these blend, I think that it's also important that these students are recognizing how lucky they have been. They are learning honesty, statistics, and cooperation through their surveys, but reflection (a key element in the world of academia)is probably new to them. They are also becoming citizens of the world through their final reflections by asking for the change they desire. They are multi-taskers, why can't their teachers be as well?

Student Reflection

What I Want my Students to.....

1. To know.... I want my students to know what they have available to them, to be able to use information they have at their fingertips, to be able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information, and most importantly be able to rely on me for help with this shift in leaning (there will be many times we have to learn together).

2. To Be able to do.... While I want them to be independent learners, I also want them to use their imagination beyond what they think they are capable of. I want them to email, use Wikis, blog, search, create and reflect.

3. To have experienced....This is a big one. I was them to experience it all! It's through the impact of technology that they will be able to experience things I never got to as a student. Not only do I want them to experience a meaningful education experience and everything I have stated above, I also want them to experience times and places throughout history that they couldn't before now. I want them to go back in time and experience the chaos following the Boston Tea Party, the horror in Nazi Germany, and the revealing after President Kennedy was elected President. We can all do these things!

Reflection I would love to make a video just for a introduction to a history class. I would first pose a question about how I could help them become more fond of History in the classroom. Followed by questions concerning creating a personal email account for my class. I would them introduce them to several historical figures that would stand-out to them. They could design a blog as their favorite history figure. I have always felt that students could learn history better by reading the history text more like a novel. They could report on their blogs from their figures point of view. It would change over the semester to past, present, and future. Not only would it have them using more technology and being creative, it would give them a new perspective on the timeline of major historical events. I would like them to keep their blogs anonymous until the end of the term. As part of their final, they could create a final project as their character and reveal themselves. They would have assignments to explore each other's blogs throughout the semester.

Jefferson's Blog

Technology Toolkit

Teacher's Toolkit

This is Dorothy Burt's Toolkit List. I will "bold-face" everything I can do...

All our teachers are able to:

check an email account daily and manage it efficiently
use a computer or laptop and trouble shoot basic functions ie on/off, connect to P/I
use the internet to search, find information and to communicate
particpate in online environments eg blogs or forums or Nings or Trademe or Facebook
manage music files in software eg in iTunes
manage photo files using software
download photos from a camera
use a word processing document efficiently
store and retrieve data from a hard drive eg your computer
access Google Docs
edit a short video clip using simple software

All our teachers are able to use the following independently:

video camera
still camera

All our teachers will need to learn quickly (with help available) once on the job:

administer a student blog ie upload content, manage commenting, manage student use
edit online pages e.g blog or Google sites or KnowledgeNet
social networking
store and retrieve from network
Google Apps - personally and with students
how record and edit audio
a graphics programme your level of students is using
create a basic presentation eg Keynote or Google or Prezi or Powerpoint

MacOS basics
saving files in a variety of file formats (e.g .mov,.dv, .jpg, .aiff, .doc etc)
student management system
printing to networked copiers
use of sound field
use of data projector
use PhotoBooth

I think to make the most beneficial learning environment for our students that this is just a basic list. It should be more expanded into content.

Disabilities and Technology

After reading At the Teacher's Desk and watching the accompanying video, I was truly inspired. He's advocating on how technology can engage ALL learners. The little boy is blind. I believe Webb was saying that he was a somewhat reluctant learner because of his disability. They have finally reached him! This is awesome! I have heard of how iPads have helped with Autistic children. There are so many ways to reach all children with technology - it is their language.

Jenny She is a teacher that loves to use technology and social media in her classroom. She lives in New Zealand. I have been following her on Twitter since the beginning of the semester. Big fan of using the iPad in the classroom.

Progress Report on Final Project

Group #5 will be presenting a play-off of the popular What to Expect Series for our iBook. It's title is What to Expect when Enrolling in EDM310. We've been working really hard learning the program, learning the Mac better, formatting the book, finding what pieces we would like to use from the semester, and coming up with a few original pieces. The book is broken up into two chapters and each chapter is broken up into sections. The format is:

Introduction with Audio

Chapter 1: Personal Contributions

Section 1.1:Lindsay

Section 1.2: Shaniqua

Section 1.3: Lacie

Section 1.4: Britney

Chapter 2: Group Collaborations

Section 2.1: Podcast

Section 2.2: SmartBoard Lesson

Section 2.3: Our little Surprise!!!!

Section 2.4 Group produced text...still deciding on our topic.

We have been collaborating through google docs, email, and text messaging. We have only met once together (minus Lacie) - we didn't make this mandatory. I would say we are about half done. We are hoping it will be complete this Thursday.

The process that has become most timely is importing our videos.

It's been a lot of fun. I previewed our book yesterday on my iPad, and I am very proud of what we have done so far.

My annotated picture will be this....

 Gollum with his iPad

I am going to try to add some audio with this.

I can't wait to see what everyone has created, and I hope everyone has had as much fun as I have had....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

C4T #4

Read. Write. Connect. Learn.

For C4T #4, I was assigned to Read. Write. Connect. Learn. It is a blog produced by Will Richardson, a parent of two middle-school aged children, a former public school educator for 22 years, and co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, a unique professional development program that has mentored over 5,000 teachers worldwide in the last five years. He's written three books that I think I am going to read: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (Corwin Press, 3rd Edition 2010), Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education(Solution Tree), and Learning on the Blog, was published in August of 2011 by Corwin Press and is a collection of blogs.

There's No Eye in Team

On June 30th, 2012, Mr. Richardson posted a blog entitle Co-operation vs. Competition (vs. Collaboration). In his blog he discusses the problems with "cooperation" and "competition" in classrooms throughout the United States, and that we should be focusing more on "cooperation" and "collaborating" together to have better learning environments for all. His blog touched close to home being that I am a former ball player and coach. I understand competition. I understand collaboration. I do not understand cooperation with "other teams" as well, and it is something I can grow from as an educator. We all can. Often times we are concerned with "I", and "I" can be us as a individual teacher, the students we have in our classroom, or simply the school we teach at as a whole. We are all familiar with there being no "I" in Team. That's why we all our in the field of Education, but there is too much emphasis on who has the best test scores, who's students get the most scholarships, and who's students are going to the best colleges. We should focus more on "collaborating" and learning together throughout our country - our students would thrive more, and it would make our education system better overall. It does make me think about the perfect Utopia though, and we all know it works best on paper and not in real life. How can we make this really happen?

Utopia, Next Exit

How Radical are You?

Standardized Tests

Think about this:

- We don’t need better assessments; we need different assessments that help us understand students as learners and constructors of their own ongoing education instead of knowers of information and narrow skills.

- We don’t need better teachers; we need different teachers who see their roles as master learners first and content guides or experts second.

- We don’t need better schools; we need different schools that function as communities of inquiry and learning instead of delivery systems for a highly proscribed, traditional curriculum.

In Redefine "Better", a blog posted by Will Richardson this week, he reflected on one of Umair Haque’s essays that appeared in the Harvard Business Review. He often reads the review and the comments. He says there are always comments that jump out at him. In this essay there was a comment involving education:

“…We can’t merely call for a set of broken institutions to work slightly better, to restore the present to the state of the past. We’ve got to redefine better; to redesign the future.”

I would like to pose two questions:

1. Do you think we need to improve or become better at education as a whole?

2. Or do you agree with what I post earlier, do we need something different?

Is there a need to redefine education? That's what Richardson and Haque are attempting to create.

I am more of an advocate of the latter. I believe that we need different assessments. Maybe it's because I taught History for so long, and I understand objective-based tests can really limit the student. I began giving essay tests my second year of teaching. Sure, I still used some of the tests that came with the book, but only because my students would see these types of questions on their CRT's, graduation exams, and ACT's. It's more work on the teacher, but there are so many kids out their that can explain an answer to me and still not have the ability to pick "A", "B", "C", or "D".

I don't think we need "new" teachers as a whole. I think there are teachers out there that do a wonderful job with what they know. There are teachers out there that are in it to be off at three, summers off, Spring Breaks off, and a longer Christmas break. These are your same teachers that don't understand the concept of their roles as "master learners first and content guides or experts second". We have to be continuous learners to be Masters at anything in this world. You can't stop the day you walk across the stage. We also have to prepare our students for changes to come.

Here's where it hits home for me...

"We don’t need better schools; we need different schools that function as communities of inquiry and learning instead of delivery systems for a highly proscribed, traditional curriculum". This is so true. Our school systems are "messed up". I would like to preface this with saying that I was never an advocate of "Now Child Left Behind". I think it was a concept put into play to fix a irreversible decaying problem.

1. Schools for kids - Schools are not places of learning. It's more social than anything. Students often don't even know what they should be learning.

2. School for a majority of teachers - It's a job that doesn't require a huge amount of time. Very few teachers understand that they are key to establishing a learning community, and those that do feel shunned for thinking this way. Thus, making their job meaningless, unfulfillable, and squashes a process that is in the beginning stages.

3. School for parents - It's become a babysitter, and they usually end up only blaming the teachers. They don't ever take into account that they have a role in preparing our students for the best education out there.

Why did I mention "No Child Left Behind"? It's fundamentally the same thing. They were trying to create a equal learning environment that was supposed to be better and all could benefit from. Guess what? We aren't all equal. We all learn differently. We all learn at a different speed. It's part of being human. While I am for inclusion, I am not for full inclusion. We have I.B. and Magnet schools? Why can't all schools have a primary focus. It eliminates the issues with inequality. It's something I have toyed with for a long time. This would also eliminate for students that need help in specific ares, the more advanced students wouldn't become bored (and allow grades and ambition to slip), and help teachers with classroom management. I guess I am radical, but I really don't care. Equal learning environment? Why not a learning environment that knows how to specify specific needs.

There is a need for redefining education with the changes that are happening.

How radical are you?

The Future Classroom

Friday, July 6, 2012

Blog Post #11


I love Skype!

After watching First Graders in Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom and Ms. Cassidy's Skype interview with EDM310 students, I was amazed at how well she has implemented technology in her classroom with such young learners. There were some major key points from the interview that she’s used in her approach to technology that I think could benefit any teacher.


 They Will Find Ways Around It

I am going to take Randy Pausch’s advice in The Last Lectureand go ahead get this one out their – I have gone on and on this semester about how I feel “social media” should have a limited role in the classroom. I think that I am hesitant to incorporate sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to some extent into the classroom for safety reasons, and it might have something to do with me being a mother. While it is a cause of great concern in the elementary classroom, I think that risk only becomes greater with high school students. Why? High School students are going to be the students that click on that “shiny link” outside of the assignment that I have given to my class. They have also been around longer, and they are going to be the ones to find a way around the firewalls the school board has set-up. There is also going to be a greater risk of these students giving out personal information (i.e. last name, city name, etc.), because they are not only more inquisitive but more defiant. These kids also have a great chance of meeting someone they have met online outside of school, because they can either drive or have friends that can drive. They are your rebellious group. I think there needs to be stricter boundaries set-up with the older a student gets. That’s just my opinion and it could be wrong.


Help them See the Stars

Ms. Cassidy said that the best way to approach becoming more involved with technology is by beginning in your comfort zone – I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying that a teacher should limit the use of technology in the classroom based on individual students’ wishes. For example, Kelley, my 9th grade World History student, may be comfortable using Facebook, but that doesn’t mean she should only use Facebook in her PLE. Kelley should START with Facebook and expand from there. Let’s say that Kelley is also interested in theatre and watching herself perform on the stage (through videos her mother or others have filmed). I think this would be a great place for a teacher to start. I have been thinking a lot how I could implement class blogs into my classroom or a blog for counseling. Hypothetically, my class could be studying about the Renaissance. Having already established the classes’ initial first blog, I would already know some of their interests. If Kelley seemed hesitant to participate in blogging, I could ask her if she had ever done any Shakespeare. In all likelihood she had probably done a little at her age, and I could ask her to share some of her work on Facebook. She already has an established comfort zone with Facebook and videos of herself on stage. I could suggest she post some of it to Facebook. Hopefully, it would spark some interest with her classmates. Now, she can include her feedback from her Facebook posts to her blog about Renaissance culture. With positive feedback and a little more self-confidence, I can probably successfully suggest that she expand into YouTube.


The Golden Rule

I thought the way she addressed inappropriate commenting was great! A technique that I often used with my students I carried into my career as a mother. How would you like it if Joey pulled your hair? How would you like it if Ashlee borrowed your book and didn’t return it? How would you like it if Kalen locked you out of the bathroom? Turning a situation around on a student always seems to get through to them, and I think it is a great way to implement successful peer editing. I also think that you should also prepare students for retaliation – although, you should always stress that two “wrongs” don’t make a “right”. The fact is that it is going to happen – Ms. Cassidy said it was inevitable. You can’t get away from it, and I think it’s something that should be addressed by a teacher at the beginning of every school year or semester.

I think there are some problems that are going to arise in every new technique that is introduced into the classroom:

It Wasn't Taught to Me During my Student Teaching

1. There are always going to be “bumps” in the road. Like Ms. Cassidy said, we are continuous learners. It’s our job to prepare our students for their future, and in return, we are gaining knowledge in the process.

2. There are going to me Administrators and fellow teachers that don’t like the change. They are also not going to be interested in how well it’s working for you. It’s not that they don’t agree with you necessarily, but it’s more like they aren’t ready to accept change. I don’t think we should push it through ignorance – show them that it works and be proud of what you accomplish.

3. There are always going to be students that are not going to accepting of technology. It could be for many different reasons. It is our job to prepare them. We should do what Ms. Cassidy said – find them an area that they are comfortable in beginning with.

4. Online Predators and unsafe sites! They are there. They aren’t going anywhere. It is our job as educators to protect our students. Do it! Do whatever it takes to provide a safe environment.

5. There are always going to be naysayers. Prove them wrong.

The Road Less Taken

I may go back into the classroom or become a full-time counselor, and I plan to use blogging in whatever path I follow. It’s obvious that I would use a class blog in my classroom, but I have been thinking about how I could use blogging as a counselor. I have already begun developing ideas, and I think that I am going to begin by setting up a Counselor’s Corner Blog at the school I am assigned. I think it would be a great mediating point between teachers, counselors, administrators, students, and parents. I could post information about ACT AND SAT Testing dates, information on the test’s best prep classes, information on remediation classes offered at the school for any subject, set-up an online tutoring system that kids could access from home from students at their actual school, and also have a way for parents to set-up conferences with teachers through the counselors (this is my own little baby, because so many teachers are reluctant to make those calls home). The ways to design this blog are endless, and I am super excited about it! I am sure that I am not the first, but it’s the first that I have encountered.

In closing, I would like to say that Ms. Cassidy’s discussion of Facebook was a little ironic, only because Facebook started on the campus of an Ivy League school.

 The Facebook

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Project #15

Smart Board Presentation: Part 2

The Objective We Chose to Create a Lesson:

Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. [2-MD7]

What I Learned from this Project

Telling Time

Brittany and I brought our kids to interact in the lesson. Caroline was a little shy. Hope everyone enjoys! I would also like to point out that I am better at playing a elementary student than being a elementary teacher. Although I was somewhat out of my element, I did have a lot of fun. I would like to thank my group for pushing to think outside of my personal "box".

In my quest to discover more about my iPad, I have discovered Extras4iMovie. It's an application that allows you to create more media for your productions. One of my biggest complaints about using iMovie on the iPad, is that it is really hard to add and manipulate sound or sound effects. I thought this application might make it easier. It did but it would allow you to add sound and text. I'll keep playing with it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blog Post #12

Creating My Own Assignment

Scavenger Hunt

After our midterm, I suggested an assignment for EDM310 as the subject. My inspiration came from our group work. My group lucked up - we all have personalities that mesh well together, we all have similar priorities, we all have a keen work ethic, and we all enjoy our time together. I am sure that hasn't happened in every group. I also thought about how web-enhanced classes really don't allow us to know one another, and a key concept in this class is connectivism. Are really connected? We all have to write about "About You" blogs, why not build off that assignment? I decided a Scavenger Hunt would be a fun way to do this - a Scavenger Hunt of each others' blogs. I had to tweak my original assignment, because we didn't really have any rules about what to include in that blog. My questions got a little too specific. I think we could learn a lot from this assignment.

The assignment would have to occur after the first blog has been written about ourselves. You or the lab assistants could create a document that lists a variety of questions. The questions would primarily be education based, but there could be a few questions related to personal life that might be relevant to being successful in EDM310 (maybe for forming groups). You could also incorporate Skype somehow.

Note to Dr. Strange – I had to manipulate the questions from the original email I sent. I think it might be beneficial to include a small questionnaire or format for our first blogs. Some people didn’t write enough, some people didn’t elaborate, and I think it would also be beneficial for people to write about computer skills they are bringing into the class or hope to learn from this class (it would help for this assignment).

The instructions are simple:


-To have EDM310 students master the use of Blogger and how to successfully navigate the class blog and other members' blogs
- To have EDM310 students begin building their PLN from the first day of class.
- To have EDM310 students become familiar with their classmates, create a more personal learning environment for a class that does not meet regularly, and have them be familiar with students that have similar interests or majors

Directions: Using the questions provided for you in your email, look through your classmates introductory blogs to find out more about them. Find one person to answer each question. You may not duplicate answers. You may not use any other semesters' blogs. If you find someone that may answer a question but you are unsure, you may use Skype or email to clarify your answer. Also, you may not use yourself to answer any question. Post your answers as Blog Post #2 and include a paragraph explaining how this activity is going to help you in EDM310 (use specific names and examples). You must also include clickable links to each blog.

Questions (examples of something I was thinking of):

1. A classmate that is majoring in Secondary Education/ English?
2. A classmate that is majoring in Elementary Education?
3. A classmate that is renewing certification?
4. A classmate that is a non-traditional student (maybe has children, drives from Biloxi, Ms for class, etc)?
5. A classmate that has used iMovie in the past?
6. A classmate that went to another state or out-of-state college prior to USA?
7. A classmate that enjoys running?
8. A classmate that enjoys reading?
9. A classmate that has just had a child?
10. A classmate that is on Facebook? And send a friend request.

My Answers:

1. A classmate that is majoring in Secondary Education/ English? Hannah Albano
2. A classmate that is majoring in Elementary Education? Jamie Cunningham
3. A classmate that is renewing certification? Courtney Blackmon
4. A classmate that is a non-traditional student (maybe has children, drives from Biloxi, Ms for class, etc)? Angelia Gafford
5. A classmate that has used iMovie in the past? Lacie Brothers
6. A classmate that went to another state or out-of-state college prior to USA? Keith Tardibuono
7. A classmate that enjoys running? Byronn Brye
8. A classmate that enjoys dancing? Courtney Hieronymus
9. A classmate that has just had a child? Brittany Collins
10. A classmate that is on Facebook? And send a friend request. Angl White

My Paragraph:

I was so excited to learn more about my classmates by doing this assignment, especially since we are in a web-enhanced class. I feel like I know a few people now! It really allowed me to see who I had things in common with, who could help teach me things I didn’t know how to use in this class, and who might be a possible group member for later in this class. The repetition of the html code for the clickable links will also help me in my future assignments for this class. I can now navigate around our class blogs so much easier!

 Happy Hunting

Saturday, June 30, 2012

C4T #3

Larry Ferlazzo

 Help Reduce Summer Slide

I was assigned to Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day for this C4T assignment - he posts a lot and he rarely approves comments. Sad day. He's been blogging more about the Colorado Fires, the upcoming elections and the health care reform. The first blog I was going to post on was part three of a series, so I decided to go back to the original blog, The Best Resources on The Summer Slide", because that is how I roll. It was very informative and creative. He offered some demographics on the 'summer slide'. If you aren't familiar with the term, it is the academic losses that many young people, especially in low-income communities, experience during the time they’re out of school. He discussed how he was going to create a lesson that was student-directed about 'summer slide', and he already presents them with demographics on the effects of the process. He also encourages students to read more over the summer and maybe seek out extra credit with their teachers before the end of the school year. Some of the resources he suggests for teachers are (and the one's I found most informative):

Free Books Block Summer Slide in Low-Income Students from USA Today

Summer Must Read for Kids. Any Book. from the New York Times

A Primer on Summer Reading Loss

Overall, I like his idea of turning this into a lesson for his students! I think students want to learn more when they know they might be the weakest link.

In How I am Helping My Students Try to Avoid the Summer Slide posted a few days later, Mr. Ferlazzo discusses his concerns with recent budget cuts limiting the number of students allowed to take summer school. Apparently, they have a lot of lower income students that view summer school as a advantage and not a disadvantage (I can't relate because all the summer school students I have taught have had to be there), but I am sure there are some students out there (especially ESL students). Because of the cuts, he's decided to create virtual classrooms to allow his students to avoid the 'summer slide'. I think this is wonderful - he's had to personally create these classrooms - there aren't a lot of teachers out there that would do this. He's even offering extra credit for students he's going to have next year to participate. He's also offered his colleagues a chance to be part of this. One of the coolest sites he's going to use is Zondle. It has a ton of learning games. It’s easy to set-up the class and have students enroll on their own. The only negative to it is that you have to either create or identify the learning activities you want them to use. It’s not that big of a deal — he just searched for things like “EFL,” “vocabulary,” etc. and found a bunch.

I think Mr. Ferlazzo is really using technology to it's fullest advantage, but I am seriously worried about this man's social life.

I also looked at his class blog, United States History Classes - it's very interesting.

Blog Post #10

Adventures in Pencil Intergration

I'm a PC

Ha, ha, ha! I get it!

"MAC, I guess you are a little better at the creative stuff."

I do have to admit I love Justin Long.

Probably not the best cartoon to convince me to start using a MAC (mainly because I loathe 'Hipsters'), but it was very creative. The cartoon did peak my interest to investigate the history of MAC and the history of PC (Microsoft), maybe because I was taken back to the area of New York state during the French and Indian War (Ticonderoga reference). Who do you trust? Functionality or creativity? France or Great Britain? MAC or PC? Papermate or Ticonderoga? While I am most comfortable using a PC, I am willing and ready to learn how to use a Ticonderoga (a Mac). I think I am just scared of messing up. I am scared of not knowing. I can see the ease and convenience of it. I can see the countless opportunities. I am a hands-on learner, but I am afraid that I become somewhat overwhelmed in the differences between the two. I get to the lab, sit in front of a Mac, and I become dumb. While I don't have the money to purchase a new home computer right now, I can afford a class in introducing the Mac. It all comes down to my comfort level and being scared. I know my way around a PC, someone please teach me the basics of a Mac. It's a whole different world to me.

No Hipsters

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games

Classroom Games

Before reading the rest of this blog, please watch Education Rethink: Anyone Can Teach.

Mr. Spencer is my guest speaker today. I am a teacher, why? He has done something I could never do. It's apparent in both Why Were Your Kids Playing Games? and The Con Academy. During my first year of teaching and the two and a half years that followed, I strove to make sure I had lesson plans complete, I incorporated the MCPSS Pacing Guide and the Alabama Course of Study into every lesson. Yes, I included my own activities and lessons (some from life's experiences), but I often found myself never stepping outside of the box and trying something new. I never found myself standing up for what I had found to work with my students to my principal or 'the man'. I never allowed my students to fully enjoy an entire class period to a fun, learning game, because I knew that I had to rigidly stick to those guidelines to reach our end of the year goal and 'rote memory assessments'. My students were always on pace to make high scores on their CRT's. They always went in prepared. What would have happened if I would have used other teaching styles? Would their scores have been the same if I had allowed them to be the teacher? Probably.

During my second year of teaching, my department head told me that I was going to be assigned a new class. Knowing that I had been on the bandwagon with Coach Donaldson at the school to broaden our history electives (he taught a class dedicated to the Holocaust and I wanted to teach a class just on WWII), she prefaced this new assignment with the fact that I didn't have to follow a pacing guide of any sorts. Enthusiasm and excitement were my initial emotions. I was jumping up and down, and I think I gave her a hug that lasted about two minutes (I was thinking we had gotten my WWII class approved). I quickly realized that she was not returning my hug with the same enthusiasm. I sat back down. I looked at her. She was always so sweet and chipper. She looked stern. I took a deep gulp and asked, "What new class am I teaching". She said in a whisper, "Remediation for the Alabama High School Graduation Exam: Social Studies". With all my excitement somewhere in my stomach, I signed the paperwork but not before I asked a few questions. I am 21, how in the hell am I going to teach 18, 19 and 20 (yes, I had two that turned 20 before graduation) year old's? Are y'all crazy? Are y'all insane? My 9th graders pass me love notes. Why me? This class is designed to help kids pass the history portion of the AHSGE and is based on state standards, how am I free to teach without standards? She said that's all part of the idea. These kids are older, they want to be here, they want to graduate or they wouldn't still be trying to pass this test. They couldn't learn the information during their core classes. I could experiment. I could do whatever it took to reach these kids - they were hoping my age would help me reach them. Guess what? I did. We did. That particular class was never an option for an administrator to observe me. We did everything. I didn't just have these kids for one semester or until they passed. They were stuck with me year round - that was partly my doing. Those that passed stayed to help me reach other students. We were all teachers - I was just their guide. We started with improving basic reading skills. We moved on to writing assignments. We watched movies. We used the computer lab once a week - that's more time than most of you will be allowed. We searched for every resource available for passing this test. My last shot in the dark (with 24 of the 32 original students already having passing scores) was breaking into groups and creating games. Any games. They could base their game off of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, or a game that they came up with on their own. The only criteria was using facts relevant to state standards. Guess what? By the end of the summer following that school year, all 32 had passed and 30 walked with their class at graduation.

My point isn't that I created something that worked and did basically what I wanted. My point is that I would have never created this class, and if I ever got questioned about technique, I would have reverted back to past methods. Mr. Spencer doesn't do that. He puts the students first. His methods work for him. Rather it be a paperless classroom or a game of hangman, he will stick to his guns.

The Only Resource I had to go By

Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please.

Dr. Scott McLeod is an associate professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky, but he is taking a leave of absence beginning this week, July 1, to serve in Iowa as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He is also responsible for writing Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please., a often true and sarcastic poem about the shift towards technology and it's use in schools. I really enjoyed his poem, but I think I am still somewhat in the middle. I am still wary of the use of some social media in the classroom, but I agree with everything else. I just feel that it should be up to the parents' discretion. I have numerous friends that do not allow their children to participate in Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. I think the students should be made aware of the benefits, but the decision to allow them to use it should remain with the parents. I feel like I am right their with him. My kids (not my daughter because she just turned six), I am learning with my kids. I think all parents owe that much to their kids. I also agree with Dr. McLeod in that technology should have a bigger and more influential role in today's classroom. We have already discussed that we may not see the jobs in our students' future, but it is our job to prepare them for it. I fully support that argument. I am just not an avid supporter of removing the teacher as a vessel of knowledge - the teacher still has more importance than just a 'filter'. I'm afraid I won't change that opinion, and I feel that a lot of the videos and blogs we have read have reinforced that notion.

Social Media: Are there boundaries?

The First time I will be Implementing What I have Learned this Summer in EDM310 (in a classroom setting)

Tanning Bed Safety

Tanning Bed

I will be teaching in HS 351 next Monday, and I decided to incorporate some of the new things I have learned thus far in EDM310. This isn't all of the lesson, but it will be my introduction. Feel free to take a look and comment as you see fit. I appreciate the feedback.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Project #14: SmartBoard Presentation Part I

SmartBoard Instruction

We had a lot of fun making this video! I have to brag on my group...we had very few retakes! We have a large group and we all like to talk a lot. It seems to make our videos longer, so we have once again had to post it in two different videos on YouTube. Hope everyone likes our little extras...I had fun doing it!

I would also like to say that I couldn't wait for this project - SmartBoards were on their way in, when I was on my way out of the classroom. I never even got to play with them. I apologize to my group for constantly picking up the markers.

Act I

Act II

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blog Post #9

Love, Love, Love This Assignment! I read all three of his blogs, but I thought it would be fun to blog about what he's learned about from year one to year three - the greatest span.

Mr. Joe McClung

You are No Longer the Student

After reading Mr. McClung's blog on Wednesday, May 27, 2009, I was reminded of my first year teaching. I think he was extremely insightful, and I would also like to point out that every aspect he talked about involved building better relationships.

"I fell like that this year I have developed immensely in regards to this aspect of teaching. In order to be effective you have to be able to let your audience drive your instruction." - Joe McClung, At the Teacher's Desk

He quickly realized like most teachers that once you are in the classroom all alone that you are no longer in search of your grade - it is your job to become the evaluator. How do we do this? Make student-centered lessons. What else? Consistently check that our students are comprehending the material.

How does this relate to building better relationships?

Take a look at our group project Part 1 and Part 2 reflecting Rafe Esquith's book Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire. In our reflection for our project, we discuss building a better relationship with our students and designing lessons that appeal to our students. It is one way of building trust with our students without using fear tactics.

You Don't Want Them to Fear You

There's no point of being scared of doing this. Sure, we'll have the occasional administrator come and visit your classroom. Stop trying to impress with your knowledge. Get down on the students' level and relate the information to THEM!

Mr. McClung also discussed the importance of being flexible. I taught for four years - it took me two years to become more flexible in the classroom and in the school. I am afraid that I am still not very flexible at home.

"While I always plan to have that elusive perfect lesson, I don't let it get to me and I do not kill myself over my mistakes any more. When things go wrong, simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face!" -Joe McClung, At the Teacher's Desk

Flexibility is important for two reasons:

1. The classroom is never going to be perfect, lessons will never be perfect, students will never be perfect, teachers will never be perfect. There is going to be things that you can't avoid. While structure is a great thing and helps build a better learning environment, there has to be room for change to better the learning environment. You have to plan, but you should also plan to allow time for things that may occur unexpectedly.

2. If you can't be flexible, then your learning environment will not be a fun place to learn and your job won't be fun. I learned that when I taught, and I am constantly reminding myself that at home.

How does this relate to building better relationships?

Like Mr. Esquith said in his book, his classroom was often a refuge for his students for a number of reasons. YOU WANT THAT! Your students will come into your classroom feeling safe. Your students will come to you for advice. Your students will come to you for help. Your students will feel comfortable with you, if they feel like you CAN work with them. Never make them feel like an option. Like your own biological children, they will become a priority (without you even realizing it. I have students to this day that email me, call me, and message me on Facebook, because they feel like they can. They feel like I have time for them. They won't ever interrupt my schedule - I took on that responsibility when they walked into my classroom. It feels amazing.


Bettering communication and listening to your students were also topics Mr. McClung said were key to having a successful first year of teaching - this is also true for life.

"I know that sounds obvious, but communication is one of the hardest skills to develop, so practice all you can and build those strong relationships with teachers and students." -Joe McClung, At the Teacher's Desk

Improving communication between other teachers and students is very important to your first year of teaching. Until this point in your teaching career, you are often only thinking about yourself, your papers, your presentations, your grades, etc. Now you must change your mentality. Do you listen to your peers? Maybe not. Now is the time. These people are no longer just your peers - they are the people you work in close contact with daily. They are the students that you teach daily - it's also your job to listen-up for questions, concerns, and problems going on in their life. If you don't really listen to your co-workers and students, you might miss out on that last-minute faculty meeting after work, the fact that John-Boy's mother just got diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, or that much need adult beverage to celebrate good scores on this semester's CRT's.

You should also be open to the idea of suggestion - just always remember that people being critical should be positive and constructive. It's also okay for you to let them know when you are offended. It's called COMMUNICATION!

How does this relate to building better relationships?

If people know that you are willing to listen and willing to take criticism, then they will feel like they can come to you in need! I think this is the building block of ALL relationships.

What do you think?

Another topic discussed in Mr. McClung's blog is being reasonable, and I think this is probably the thing that most first year teacher's over-look. We all have or all will come in on the first day and expect our students to be in their seats, books out, paper ready, pencils in hand, and two dozen apples on our desk to welcome us. We also have or will expect them to do ALL their homework that we assigned. Guess what? You are FRESH MEAT. They knew you were coming, and it's very possible (with technology) that they have done their research on the latest addition to the faculty. It happened to me - it actually stemmed from me getting a head coaching position at a very prestigious 6A high school in Birmingham, Alabama, but it led to them finding out more information about me as a teacher. I am serious. Go in our your first day with reasonable expectations and maintain those expectations throughout your career. It's okay to set the bar high, but you should not set it somewhere on Mars. They are students!

"While its fine to have lofty goals for our students, we set our students up for disappointment when a goal is not met and we scold them for not coming through."
-Joe McClung, At the Teacher's Desk


What to expect, when teaching for the first time:

1. They will not all be in there seats.

2. Most will not have all their supplies.

3. You might get one or two apples a year - you may or may not want to eat those apples.

4. Homework will not always be turned in! - After reading Should Teacher's Assign Homework and with some classroom knowledge, I have decided that teaching my students personal responsibility and time management, will be one of my greatest priorities when I return to teaching.

One of the best ways to establish REASON in your classroom and let your students know that you are reasonable, is by allowing them to help you create a set of classroom rules on the first day of class. It not only shows that you are reasonable but that you respect their opinions. Just make sure you set ground rules for this activity! I am still figuring out how I am going to incorporate my new time management goals and personal responsibility into this activity.

Apply this logic to every aspect of your classroom: the way YOU present a lesson, the answer to your STUDENTS' answer to essay question #3, and when Mr. New Teacher 2013 floats into your room for third block.

How does this relate to building better relationships?

Duh, do you want to have a relationship with a unreasonable person?


Last but not least, a fear of technology and continuous education are important to first year teachers. I think not being a afraid of technology and being life-long learners are part of building a better relationship with ourselves. It's also key to building better relationships with our co-workers and students. It can open so many doors:

Life-long Learners and Technology

"It's never too late to change your way of thinking, learning, or style. We do everything short of beg students to learn on a daily basis, but sadly some of us refuse to learn and grow as professional educators. We work in a learning environment, so why not soak up as much as you can? We owe it to our students." - Joe McClung, At the Teacher's Desk

1. It should be a commitment to ourselves to make ourselves the best teachers that we can be! Learning the latest technology, using the latest technology, and a desire to know more will put you on one one of the highest levels as a teacher. We can learn in so many different ways. We have discussed building our PLN's. The information is there. Why don't we use it? Make those relationships with others like us and beyond.

2. Being abreast of the latest technology and information can help you be a better vessel of knowledge with co-workers and maybe establish new relationships. Help each other! Share your knowledge.

3. Students? They will try to stump you, and they will succeed. Beat them to the punch. No more. They will respect you more! Respect is the foundation of any teacher/student relationship.

How does this relate to building better relationships?

It is building relationships!

Three Year's Later

Three years later...

Being the One Seeking Praise

After reading Mr. McClung's blog, Thursday, June 23, 2011: What I Learned this Year, I thought back to my third year teaching. I had many of his same thoughts. Throughout most of first and second years of teaching, we often still have the mentality of trying to please our college professors, parents, school teachers and coaches. It takes us a little while to realize that there are now people trying to please us! Several of the issues Mr. McClung discussed dealt with knowing our place as a new teacher and how various interruptions can cause a less than desirable learning environment for our students. I wish I would have had this kind of reflection as a new teacher.

First, I would like to discuss the problem of too many bosses.

"As a teacher I find myself doing quite a bit of people pleasing on a daily basis...however, the major issue with this is that it becomes very easy to get wrapped up in what people think of you. If you are not careful you can become completely consume with trying to please some many individuals that sometimes your own students get left out of the picture." -Joe McClung, From the Teacher's Desk

We are no longer graded by our professors, we have been out of high school for a long time, we know our parents will always love us despite our mistakes, and recreational sports really are for fun now! The only people we report to now are our school board, our principals, our department heads, and most importantly we report to our students! We shouldn't be bothered about what Miss Biology has to say about our explanation of where Einstein was on the day he developed the Theory of General Relativity in World History class. We also shouldn't concern ourselves with Mrs. Computer Science's latest date with Mr.P.E. If we concern ourselves with those that our not our superiors, then we forget forget what's most important...the students. They should always be our first priority!

"Our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults." Joe McClung, From the Teacher's Desk

These teachers that care too much about personal lives and staying in the business of other teachers are often the source of barriers built by teachers that are in the profession of TEACHING! Mr. McClung also cited this as a problem for newer teachers. I never let these people get in the way of my optimistic attitude. Nobody should. It could stifle your excitement. If our students see the excitement we have for change, new programs, and learning, then they will also be excited. This will create a better learning environment for the students - the reason we entered this profession. This usually goes hand and hand with being somewhat of an outsider.

The Outsiders

Being an outsider is okay! You won't be the teacher that sits in the back of the room during professional development days wishing you were laying by the pool, you won't be the teacher that comes in and shows a unrelated movie because you don't feel like teaching, you won't be the teacher that stands up and lectures for almost two hours to each class. You'll be the teacher that is excited to learn new things. You'll be the teacher that brings in new science experiments for your class. You'll be the teacher that engages your students to discuss instead of you only talking. Kids will come to your room ready to learn. Kids will want to be in your room. Kids will look forward to the next day in your class. You'll be the light in their day. You'll make a difference.

Bryant Football

"This year I have really been fearful of turning into a teacher that has become very comfortable to the point of coasting through their daily work. I began to pick up new tasks that would challenge me and prevent me from developing routines."

-Joe McClung,From the Teacher's Desk

Most importantly, Mr. McClung discussed the importance of not becoming comfortable in your role as a teacher. This is true for every profession. I coached Junior Varsity Volleyball, Varsity Softball, and I was the Model United Nations coordinator. I also taught Remediation for the AHSGE:Social Studies. My extra involvement kept me busy as a teacher, and the coaching positions were permanent from year to year - it didn't leave a lot of room for much else. I always looked for little extras (i.e. Prom Chaperone, Selling programs or tickets at football games, Walking/Helping coordinate Relay for Life, etc.). I have ADHD something fierce. I get tired of the same routine, and it makes me get lazy. I have known this since I was in third grade. It's important as a teacher. It keeps us on our toes, and it makes the students know we care.

I plan to use some of Mr.McClung's suggestions and continue the ones I already used! He's full of knowledge and wisdom. PLN?

We also have to remember to STAY POSITIVE!

Stay Positive

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blog Post #8

Little Miss Scatterbrain: Me, Today Only

I would just like to say that there were parts to this blog assignment that I loved and parts that I disliked...very much. I am afraid it is a bit of a mess, because my logic is a mess with all of it. I don't know why it was so difficult. Bear with me...maybe some of it will make sense. I am rarely at such a loss for words - maybe it's just the end of midterms for all twelve hours I am taking this semester. Here's to hoping.

This is How We Dream

A Good Old Book

I think Richard Miller's point in these videos is to express the change that is already here and how educators can embrace the ease of having all the information at our fingertips - we just have to know how to use it. Being such a fan of the liberal arts, I appreciate a good old-fashioned book more than anything. I like to curl up in the couch or in my bed and flip through pages of adventures that I have never imagined. I have stated before that I have been somewhat adverse to the whole shift in technology. I own a PC, an iPod Touch, an iPhone 4S, an iPad, and a Nook, but I have never used any of these to their fullest potential until I took EDM 310. I guess I have always just liked having the latest technology but only using for what was in my personal comfort zone. But history does repeat itself, and I have found that my comfort zone has grown through broadening my horizons and trial and error. I think that Mr. Miller discussed a lot of important topics about are changing world and some stood out more than others.

First, he spoke of us as witnessing the 'greatest change in human communication in human history'. It's true. The teacher's desk has now become our laptops and digital notebooks. I carry mine wherever I go: class, computer lab, doctor's office, dentist office, to the gym, etc. I can learn and add to my knowledge base with the touch of my keyboard or screen. It's so easy. We can access knowledge without going to a campus library or skimming through thousands of books. We can communicate globally with any teacher, anywhere, at any time. We can collaborate through technology, with so many people, and have so many more tools. With today's technology we can include videos, images, sound, print documents, visual documents, sound documents, and anything published on the web.

Second, new research changes almost immediately before our eyes. This is important for two reasons. The first reason is that it's important for teachers and students to have current and accurate information for the best learning environment. It would do no good to have an English textbook that was based off of a MLA version from 1999 - with technology, we can provide our students with the most current information (that they will also need in higher education) to correctly document resource materials. The second reason it's important is that teachers need to stay one step ahead of there students. I learned this the hard way while teaching IB at Murphy High School - I got caught not being aware of a current event.

Third, we can 'push' ideas into our culture and learning communities. We can produce alternative options and publish them freely. It might take up to two years to have a work published in print. With the Web, we can do it now! We must always also remember that the earliest of efforts are fascinating - that goes for both teachers and students. We can learn from both and through trial and error.

Putting All Our Tools Together

Blog Post #12: Carly Pugh

What Dr. Miller meant by writing with multi-media?

Carly has used a collaboration of video, images and documents to produce her teaching philosophy.

I loved the Colin Firth video...Mr. Darcy.

YouTube Playlists

The Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies

EDM Junkie

I loved these videos! The Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies are very entertaining. Very creative!

There are a few movies that I would like to create and be part of:

1. The proper way to conduct yourself in the EDM310 lab to create the most optimal learning environment for all students....maybe it would be called Today's Miss Manner's for EDM310

2. A video about other software you can download to help at home and include brief introductions of how to get started using each...maybe the title will be Alternative Ways to Succeed in EDM310 from Your Home Computer.

3. How to Create a High School Book Trailer

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
Learn to Change, Change to Learn

School as a Tool for Learning

This video emphasizes opening all for our teachers and students. Schools should just be one tool for learning for the field of education as a whole. Students and teachers should be able to explore museums, community sites, websites and school to better our learning environment. We can't just have this steady regime of meeting objectives and taking standardized tests. We have to open these windows of opportunity to all involved. Although I still consider the teacher to be the best vessel of portraying knowledge to our students, I do think that teaching our students to use other tools to validate information is important for our technological future.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

Web 20.11 is AWESOME! PLN? I think so.

WEB 2.O Kool-Aid Man

My Comic:

1. I used Make Believe Comix

Honest Abe

2. Was the site ANIMOTO?

"Educators can apply for a free Animoto Plus account for use in the classroom. Its powerful features can be used to create stunning presentations incorporating images, video clips, music and text."

3. I created this quiz with the tool link on how to make a poll. I used ProProfs

I apologize for the disconnection...I just could bring it all together.