Wednesday, October 31, 2012

C4K for October

On mfliegz28's blog post
This student is in an AP Government class, and he wrote about the importance of voting. He is very passionate about being able to express his opinion, and is excited to be able to vote in the presidential election for the first time. His post is entitled "There's Still A Point". I can completely relate to him in this post because today's youth has become so apathetic about political opinion and the act of expressing it.
On Anna's blog post
Anna is a 7th grade student that wrote a blog post about the characterization of Ponyboy in The Outsiders. I think she did a very good job organizing her post and properly identifying Ponyboy's mannerisms. I commented and told her that I love that book and that she is doing a good job with her blog.
On "October in Ireland"
I was assigned to read this post based on the title. It just said that they were going on a trip to Ireland and that there would be posts throughout the month of October. I read some of the posts from October and commented on this post. It looks like they are having a good time and learning a lot.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PLN Summary # 1

I have been working on putting together my Personal Learning Network, which consists of people I can contact, websites and tools I can use, among other things I can do for help in my teaching career. I started by creating an account on Symbaloo. I can organize the links into categories using a color coded system. I have just barely gotten started, but I think by the s of the semester I will have a very helpful system of keeping up with all of the resources I will need in the future.

Project # 12: Book Trailer

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Assignment # 9

On Joe McClung's Blog Posts
Joe McClung writes his blogs on "At The Teacher's Desk". I read Volumes one and four of Mr. McClung's reflective blog posts that he writes at the end of every school year he teaches. In Volume One, written after the 2008-2009 school year, McClung talks about the lessons he's learned from his class his and experience in his year of teaching. Some of the tips he has are as follows:
1) Don't focus on evaluations to be made by your superiors more than your class.
2) Spend just as much time checking for student comprehension as you do focusing on the delivery of content.
3) "No lesson is perfect. The lesson you teach and the one you plan are always different."
4) Don't beat yourself up over your mistakes or lessons/activities that didn't go well
5) "Communication is the best medicine." Listen to your students and constantly treat your teaching career like the learning experience it is.
6) Don't have unrealistic expectations for your students.
7) Don't be afraid of technology.
As I was reading this, it occurred to me that this is extremely good advice for first year teachers, and while most of us know these are very good advice, some of us will make the very same mistakes. The first few years of teaching never honestly reflect your teaching style or methods, because you're just getting started. It is terrifying to enter a new chapter of your life by finally becoming a professional after countless years of training. I both look forward to and dread this day. But it comforts me that most students pursuing the same career feel similarly.

In Volume Four, Mr. McClung has three main tips after the 2011-2012 school year:
1) Don't focus on what your peers think about your teaching.
2) Don't get lazy in your teachers, or your lessons will "start to suck"
3) Don't let your students resent school- make your class interesting and interactive.
I discovered after reading this that not only do teachers constantly learn, but they grow. Mr. McClung's lessons have changed immensely. These are all good pieces of advice. I think that writing a reflective blog like this is a healthy way to document the things you've learned from experience and fish for feedback and potential professional advice from peers. While worrying what your peers think is not a good thing to constantly dwell over, getting advice from them is never a bad idea. Whether you take that advice should be decided depending on what it is, however.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blog Assignment # 8

On "This is How We Dream"
This is a video in two parts that consists of a speech by Dr. Kenneth G. Miller at Rutgers University. Dr. Miller describes how reading and education has changed over the years, going from pencil and paper to primarily virtual writing and reading. Many people rarely set foot in a library anymore for this reason. Rather than checking out or borrowing material from libraries and depriving others from using those resources, "knowledge can be shared infinitely".
Miller is discussing the importance of collaboration and creativity in education. Creating projects that have textual, visual, and auditory elements is a much more interesting and extensive way to share your research on a particular topic. Through tools like Google Drive, students can work on projects like these together without ever having to meet in person. I think this is a great teaching method, and it relates back to The Networked Student Model that Wendy Drexler composed.
Miller talks about the kind of material that is instantly updated and accurate, there for your immediate viewing. iTunes U has a plethora of recorded lectures available to download, and is a good source of information as well. Miller's "dream" is that one day students will be able to compose projects using entirely digital composing material rather than word processors. He also talks about composition using the web itself, presenting the information produced by news cites, blogs, etc. It creates an emotional profile of the world. I find this fascinating and foreign to me.
On Carly Pugh's Post
Carly Pugh wrote a blog post about an assignment she believes would be beneficial in EDM 310. She provided many links to illustrate what she wanted to do. She created a playlist of videos on YouTube that depict how she will want her classroom to be run, and how her teaching style will be. This relates to Dr. Miller's dream of writing with Multimedia, because she describes all of this without using a word processor or even text at all. It is clear what Carly's ideals are for her students' education through the videos she chose.
On "EDM 310 For Dummies" and the Chipper video
These student-made videos are informative and original. I would be interested in making a video about successful blog posts. The EDM 310 For Dummies video is beneficial to current students because it provides a phone number and a website where you can purchase the book. This includes directions on how to do ALT and TITLE modifiers, embed videos in your blog, etc. Chipper taught us the lesson that working towards a goal in higher education without slacking or procrastinating will get you far.
On "Learn to Change, Change to Learn"
This video was primarily about teaching style and how technology is important in the classroom. Things like televisions, computers and laptops, smartboards, Elmo projectors, and things of that nature are starting to be implemented in our classrooms, but the speakers of this video believe that cell phones, social networking, emailing, blogging, etc. should be as well. This year in elementary schools, "bring your own technology" was set into motion, as I have mentioned in previous posts. Students are now allowed to have electronic devices like cell phones, iPods, tablets, gameboys, etc. to use for educational purposes. There are, of course, kids that will take advantage of this by playing games or texting their friends on these devices. But it is worth the risk of a few abusing the policy to let the others benefit from using technology in the classroom.
Web 2.0 Scavenger Hunt
I created a comic strip about this class, just for kicks. The website was fun and easy to use. I was unable to find out how to post a picture of it or embed it in this post, but you can follow the link to it here.
I found a video tool called, where you can create visually stunning videos out of photos or video clips. It's really easy to use and fun to do. There are many video templates available for use, like fireworks, that you can add clips or pictures to in order to personalize it and make it your own.
Edmodo is a social network for teachers and students. It's set up much like Facebook. You can create a group as a teacher and distribute the group code to your students. You can connect with others on Edmodo at your school, and view other profiles of teachers and students. You can have a calendar of classroom events, and post and review grades in each of your classes or groups.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

C4T # 2

I read Angela M. Rand's blog, My Mind Gap. She is a pursuing her Ph.D. in Design Technology. The first post I read was about PhDChat, a website where you can chat with other people pursuing this degree and ask questions, gather information, and so on. She also discusses Twitter and how it has become such a wonderful tool for not only social networking but research. I left a comment about how I'd never heard of this website for obvious reasons, but that it sounds extremely helpful. I also mentioned how Twitter is helpful to me as well, and it would be good research as long as you could ensure the credibility of the source.
The second post I read was about writer's block and confidence. She talks about the importance of editing and how even though she knows she can write well, she gets nervous and freezes up. I left a comment and told her I have the same problem with writing and also with taking tests.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Assignment # 7

On "The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler
It is interesting to learn how a student can succeed in a class that meets in person and online, has no textbook, and a teacher that rarely lectures.For decades, we have been taught that school is a place where students sit in desks and listen to a teacher speak in front of the class for hours. But this isn't necessarily the only way to teach. Drexler says students can teach themselves by doing their own research for accredited websites, using direct communication with experts in an area, and using RSS (or really simple syndication).
At one point in the video the question is posed: "why does a networked student even need a teacher?". The answer is this: the teacher is there for guidance, and to help the student get started and understand. Also, there is obviously specific information the teacher wants his or her students to learn and get out of the class. Without a teacher, students could get on the wrong track or mistake inaccurate information for a reliable source. This could lead to publication of incorrect information on a blog or social network, making the student look bad.
My first reaction to this was very negative. This is due to the fact, as I said before, that we are accustomed to the typical teacher-in-front-of-the-class scenario. But I think student networking is a wonderful idea. It teaches students to do their own research, have informed opinions, and make connections with people in or out of their area of expertise. I think I could be a networked teacher with more exposure to the idea. I believe it is a more efficient way of teaching students to be able to seek information and do good research on their own.
On A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment
This video depicts a seventh grade student's PLE. She is able to keep up with all of the resources she uses to do research, along with projects and other assignments, on one page. She has organized these links into a section for school and a section for home (including her Facebook account, email, etc.) I like to keep the websites and online tools I use for school in a bookmark list that's titled appropriately.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blog Assignment # 6

On Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
In this lecture, entitled "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", is about how to lead your life, and was intended as a lesson for Pausch's children. Pausch is big into "head fakes", in other words he likes to make you think the you're learning about something in order to teach you about something else entirely. This method of teaching is interesting to me. I believe it could be useful in my classroom, because indirectly teaching kids a valuable lesson without them even having to know they're being tricked- that's genius. It's like that Chef Boyardee ravioli commercial, where the mom knows there's a full serving of vegetables in it and the kid does not. Kids can learn important life skills and information through lessons like the one Pausch teaches us in this lecture.
"Brick walls are there to stop people who don't want things badly enough." Pausch says that brick walls can block your way to any goal; you just have to want it badly enough to knock that wall down and get past it. I think this is an inspiring way to present obstacles that could potentially keep you from achieving a goal. Many children get discouraged when they repeatedly fail, it's called learned helplessness. They get to the point where they don't even want to try anymore. When I was in gradeschool, I struggled with math. I would get upset when I made anything below an A, and it happened a lot in this subject. I think if someone had presented math to me like a brick wall in the way of my "A", I would've felt a lot better about it.
Pausch hits on two very important subjects especially: loyalty is a two way street, and you will need help sometimes. It is vitally important to build relationships with people. Telling the truth, being earnest, apologizing for your mistakes, and focusing on others as well as yourself are all good ways to place your trust in someone, and to make sure someone has your back. I don't think it would be a bad idea to show part of this lecture to my students, and use some of Pausch's advice to teach them the valuable lessons he teaches in this video.
One of the most unique aspects of Pausch's lectures is that he always uses random quotes to support what he's talking about. For example, "Don't complain, just work harder." and "Be good at something; it makes you valuable." Quotes are always a good way to support and reinforce what you're lecturing about. It proves that there are people who agree with you. I intend to incorporate using quotes into my teaching. Bringing humor into a serious lesson can help convey your message as well. The quote "Don't bail: the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap." is a wonderful example. Comic relief is important in teaching life lessons to children because they get bored, and most likely they don't think what you're saying is important. Randy Pausch's methods are great for all age groups.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

C4K for September

Chris's Blog Post
The student I was assigned to comment on this week was Chris in Buenos Aires. He posted an amusing video of a goalie getting hit in the head with a soccer ball. He said he thought it was funny and wanted to share it to give other people a laugh. I left a comment tell him that I enjoyed the video and to keep up the good work.
Vaifoa's Blog Post
This week I was assigned to a student that hadn't posted recently, so I chose to comment on Vaifoa's blog post from Port England School. She wrote a story called "Zach and Alex's Adventure". It was very entertaining, and she included pictures as well. The blog says she's a year 5 student, which I'm assuming means she's in second or third grade. In my comment, I told her I liked the story and the clip art and that she did a great job describing the plot.
Austin's Blog Post
I was assigned to Austin this week, who is a ninth grade student who lives in Canada. He wrote a post about the Quality of Life. he includes the five things that determine your quality of life, and the 11 indicators that go along with them. He described his quality of life as well. Other than a few grammar mistakes, I thought it was a decent post. I left him a comment that said how I enjoyed reading it, it was very well organized, and the bold words made it easy to find focus points. I also reminded him to proofread his work since he missed a few things.