Friday, November 30, 2012

Movie Project # 16

Smartboard Project #2

C4T # 4

For my fourth C4T, I commented on Brian Bennett's blog, "Educator, Learner: Trying to Lead By Example". The first entry I read was posted on November 5, 2012, and is about altering the school schedule for all ages to prepare them better for college and professional life. Bennett says that flexible blocks of time where students can choose when to come to class would be best. Like picking your schedule for college classes and working a 9-5 job, this schedule would be more realistic. I commented and said I have never thought about this before, but to a degree I think it makes sense. I think it's interesting and could better prepare our students for their future.
The second post I read is more recent and is about students' apathy about education in general. The unthoughtful response of "I don't know" has taken over Bennett's classroom and it troubles him. I commented and said that it is difficult to motivate students who don't really try and I wish there was some way this could be changed. I agree with him that giving the answer to a student who won't even attempt to discover the answer on his or her own is only making matters worse.

Final Progress Report on PLN

As I stated in my last progress report, my PLN is compiled of a series of links on my Symbaloo account.

C4K November

C4K Assignments from November
Brandon L. from Mrs. Mrseliskar's class wrote a story about an assassin and poison bullets. I commented and said that I found it very interesting and suspenseful and I hope he keeps up the good blogging.
Kate P. from Mrs. Cornetti's class wrote about Marie Antoinette and events from her life. I commented and said that it was interesting to me because I am not very familiar with Marie Antoinette.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Progress Report for Final Project

I am in a group with Rachel Beaugez and Hillary Hayes. Hillary made an outline of topics to discuss in our video about surviving EDM310. I have written the script for our ten-minute movie, and we are practicing and filming this week. Rachel will be the primary speaker, so the roles are very equally divided. We have parts divided up, and everything is going well. We should be done early.

Blog Assignment # 13

On Michael Wesch's "A Vision of Students Today"
In this video, problems with the traditional classroom are brought to light. Many students that attend large universities typically attend classes that include hundreds of other students. This reduces the likelihood of an instructor knowing a student's name. Many instructors require their students to read 40 to 50 pages for each class, which depending on the subject of their other classes, is nearly impossible to complete in their tight schedules. Many students; however, are guilty of bringing their laptops to class for use of social networking sites rather than note taking purposes.
There is a debate brought up at the end of the video about whether or not writing on the chalk/white board is effective. This is interesting to me because I've always benefited from a visual aid. It helps me keep up with my note taking if I get behind. Although, with technology like projectors and Powerpoints, Smartboards and Elmo projectors, etc, it is almost unnecessary to have a chalk board anymore.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Assignment # 12

I think a good idea for a blog assignment would be to write about how your classroom would be (how it would be organized, what your class rules would be, and why you choose it to be this way). If there are any teachers in your life that have influenced you, write about how they did that, how old you were, and why you think it had such an affect on you. Look for pictures to illustrate what you're describing. Be detailed, and be sure to incorporate how you would or would not use technology in your classroom. Also include how you would conduct your classroom (would you do warm up questions, play games, have pop quizzes, etc.) along with what age group you will be working with, and what subject if applicable.

My Classroom
As I've mentioned before, my mother teaches the fourth grade. I have always admired the way she arranges her desks differently every year, but there is one way that I particularly like. It's a square of desks where everyone faces each other. This is good in uniting your class and giving everyone an equally good view of what's going on. I would like to have this arrangement with a one-desk-length gap where I could walk in and out of the center, and potentially lecture in the middle. I choose the format of a square rather than a circle because that would have a tendency to get messed up. As much as I'd like to think that the desks won't move, they will. They always find a way to scoot around a least a little, as I have found from my experience in a classroom. I found a lot of good classroom organization and decorating ideas from this search in Google images.


My class rules would be three very simple ideas: 1) respect your classmates and teacher 2) try your best in everything that you do and 3) don't be afraid to ask questions. Although these may seem trivial, most of the major things will most likely be covered in the school rules and therefore are not necessary to bring up about my personal classroom.

I have had three teachers in the past that severely influenced me and made me want to become and educator in the first place. That is, aside from my relatives that have inspired me in this way as well. My fourth grade teacher taught me a lot about trying my best and how to write a structured essay. My tenth and twelfth grade English teachers taught me about appreciating literature, doing my best in school and in other areas of life, and expressing myself. If it hadn't been for my tenth grade English teacher, I don't know how or when I'd have realized how important it is to put forth your best effort in school and get good grades. Up until that point, I did as little as possible just to get by. Every once and a while I am still guilty of this, but for the most part and I am very dedicated and serious about my education. These people are a large part of why I want to be a teacher. I want to have an impact on my students' lives like my teachers had an impact on me. I want to help someone realize their full potential, to help them discover how important your academic life is, to help them appreciate reading and writing like I do.


I believe that it is a necessity for every teacher to be technologically literate. I intend to use tools like a Smart board, Elmo, clickers, iPhone or iPad apps, personal computers, the internet, etc. I believe that it is important to introduce kids to all sorts of technology at an early age. Although I am in secondary education, I still believe in incorporating technology into my classroom not only to introduce students to it but to get them used to working with it and using it to do assignments.

As for how I would conduct my classroom, I am a firm believer in group discussion. I think that having it count for 10% of a grade is a great way to require them to talk about things they have read or learned about in my class. Discussion always brings new things to the table that some students think about that others did not. My twelfth grade English teacher that I mentioned earlier did this by checking off a student each class for participating. You had to speak each class to get full credit. I think a lot of the things that I get from class are from my peers, that's why I think this is a good way to teach. Also, warm up questions are always a good way to keep track of whether or not students are doing the required reading and things like that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

On USA Today's article, "A world where grades will be left behind"
I read Mary Beth Marklein's article called "A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind", about Sebastian Thrun.
Thrun is a Stanford research professor who created Udacity, an online educational resource that is free, individualized, and for anyone. Thrun focuses on the more abstract elements of higher education, and offers programs from beginner to advanced level. Sal Kahn's idea of "flipping the classroom" is brought up in this article, which I have written about previously. Thrun is asked in an interview if he thinks this type of education will take over and eliminate the form of higher education we are accustomed to. He references film versus live theatre and basically says that although it might become more common, it will not replace traditional pencil, paper, and classroom education. I am excited to learn about this opportunity of taking free classes online with thousands of other eager students, but I agree with the theory that it will not eliminate traditional education techniques. I support any technological advancement, especially for the use of teaching.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blog Assignment # 11

On Ms. Kathy Cassidy's First Grade Class
I watched a video about technology in a first grade classroom, made by Ms. Cassidy, their teacher. In this video, her students describe how they use blogs and wikis, and learn decision making and sharing skills from playing games on their Nintendo DS's.I think this looks like a very effective way to introduce students to technology at an early age. The kids seem to understand what they're learning and how to use the tools they've been given. I like the way Ms. Cassidy's classroom says "graduating class of 2025" on the door. That's a very optimistic way to look at the first grade, and it gives the students something to look forward to. When I was in the first grade, I don't think I even knew why I went to school or that I would ever be done. It's nice to see this perspective on such a young age group.
On Dr. Strange's Skype Conversation with Ms. Cassidy
In Ms. Cassidy's Skype session with Dr. Strange and a few EDM310 students, many topics are discussed. First of all, Dr. Strange brought up his usual poll to see what percentage of EDM310 students believe that teachers should be technologically literate, in which about 5% say no. Ms. Cassidy discusses how important it is to keep up with technology because the way kids were taught years ago (20, 10, even 5) is not the way they should be taught today. As new technology is made available, we should be using it in our classrooms and introducing our students to it as soon as possible. Ms. Cassidy's class blogs regularly, and EDM310 students (among others)comment on their posts. It is exciting for first graders to see that over 100 people have viewed their blog post.
There is also a discussion about Twitter, which Ms. Cassidy says students classify as an "old people's Facebook". She suggests education students should follow other prospective teachers for advice rather than experienced teachers, because they would be going through more of the same thing. This is a valid point.
If I used Ms. Cassidy's methods in my classroom, I think I would benefit, as would my students. My students would be more prepared to deal with technology in the future and even in their professional career, as I aim to become a high school English teacher. Some problems I might run into are lack of resources in the classroom, my students' lack of resources at home, and discrepancies about whether or not my students should be spending so much time on the internet in class. Overall, I think it would be a positive attribute to my class though. As long as I had cooperative administrators like Ms. Cassidy, I believe I would succeed using these methods. I definitely want to use blogging in my class, although I don't think my age level would benefit from Nintendo DS games.

C4T # 3

I commented on Ben Jones' blog on The first post I read was about our personal lives and mood influencing the way we act at work or school. Mr. Jones has funny pictures and videos in all of his posts, which makes them more entertaining. I commented and said that I liked his quote "having a bad day, stay home or stay quiet." It is ridiculous when you take out your personal problems on coworkers or classmates, and we should have more control over the way we act.
The second post I commented on was about teaching from the negative versus the positive. So many teachers and other leaders focus on mistakes people make and what is wrong or needs to be fixed. More people should praise students for their good work instead of getting angry about their bad work in front of the class. He had a funny video of Darth Vader to get his message across.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blog Assignment # 10

On John T. Spencer's Cartoon
To me, this cartoon is about how it's not important what you use to write or express your opinions, but how you go about doing so. No matter how much money you spend on your pencil, it does no good if you don't know how to use it properly. That's my understanding of this comic.
On John T. Spencer's Blog Posts
Mr. Spencer wrote a blog post about a teacher's meeting with a principal. He talks about how he played this game with his students to get them thinking about a certain subject and to get their creative juices flowing. The principal was angry that he had allowed his students to play a game because it is "not learning". But in the end, the solution to the problem is to play a game. But by calling it something else, he pacifies the angry principal. Some administrators, teachers, and parents, are not up to the idea of using abstract methods like playing collaborative games because they believe it to be a waste of time. But there are always situations where students will gain a better understanding of the material through a hands-on activity like a game.
I also read another one of Mr. Spencer's posts about parents. Spencer gives an example of a letter from a parent. The mother is upset that her child, Billy, is being spellchecked by the teacher. If Billy misspells anything, the word is underlined in red and he is asked to correct it by looking up the proper spelling in a dictionary. The mother claims that this will make her son lazy and make him rely on someone else to tell him a word is spelled incorrectly. This of course is absurd, because this form of spellcheck improves a child's knowledge of how to spell words. To make matters worse, the mother's argument is that she never had spellcheck and she writes "real good". She also misspells several words in the letter itself.
On Scott McLeod's Blog Post
Scott McLeod wrote a post about integrating technology in the modern classroom. It's a satirical piece called "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?". He talks about all of the tools we have available in education like computers and the internet, and how none of this is safe to trust our children with. If we deprived students of technology, they would be unprepared to further their education, and eventually their career. This post is funny because it is about adults that are afraid to expose their children to modern technology. There are positives and negatives of all aspects of education, but technology is wonderful if used in a helpful and proactive way. I admire Dr. McLeod for writing this, and I agree that students who work with technology will be a step ahead of those that do not. Scott McLeod is "widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues." He is the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa, and he is on leave from a different position at the University of Kentucky.

Project # 14: Smartboard Part One