Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Post #5 - Final Part

Here is an update on my PLN that I have worked on. I have used both Symbaloo and Twitter the most. I have found both to be extremely useful, but I think I will use Twitter the most in the future out of the two and I think I will begin working on my PLN in Google+. This has been inspired by Mr. Sheninger, my C4T for November, who I found by using my PLN on Twitter.

Screenshot of my Symbaloo

Screenshot of my Twitter page 'PLN'

C4T Summary for November

My C4T for this month has been Mr. Sheninger. He is a principal at a high school who has written books and even given a TEDx Talk. I was looking around on my PLN on Twitter and found that he had a very interesting blog. I decided I would comment on his blog posts for this month.

Mr. Sheninger on the cover of USA Weekend

The first blog post I commented on was The Place to Be. This blog post was about finding a good school system for his children to go to school in. It circulated around the need to find a school that encourages 21st Century thinking and where change is willing to happen. Not only is the school system tech savy, but they promote the arts as well to expand their creativity. He is eager to get to working with the staff at the school to help further improve their school.
I thought this post was very interesting. I also thought it was cool that the students got to have the experiences of dancing and all of the technical aspects that expand the creativeness of the mind.

The second blog post I commented on was Stop Ignoring Google+. Mr. Sheninger wrote about the different components of Google+ and, to my surprise, Google+ seems to be the better option to Twitter. There are multiple plus-sides to Google+, including being able to message with more ease and being able to post something to a particular group, or circle, or to the entire Google+ universe.
I think I liked this one better than the previous one. This post inspired me to go to Google+ and explore it to my heart's delight. There seems to be a wealth of opportunities available through using Google+. I am very glad I came upon Mr. Sheninger's blog and I am eager to read more of his posts in the future. I urge you to do the same.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blog Post #14

For this blog post, my class was assigned to read an article titled Teaching Our Children Can Be a Profession by Joel Klein. I found this article to be very interesting and informative. This article is about some of the changes that need to happen in public schools. The three points that are talked about in this article that we have been assigned for this week are to have the best academic training for prospective teachers with a system to choose the best teachers, have a system of job security that isn't based on seniority, and making radical changes to the system concerning privileges.

On the matter of prospective teachers, Klein stresses the importance of good, quality programs in colleges that teach the future teachers. I think this is very important and necessary because I know I want to be an effective and fun teacher. The system that Klein suggests says that there needs to be a more rigorous system of recruiting new teachers. He quotes Sandra Feldman who says that there needs to be a system in place where the top third of the graduates would be selected to work. I think this is a really good idea and allows for all children to have good, quality teachers.

I agree with Klein on the seniority issue. I think that if there is a circumstance where teachers needs to be cut, then it would make more sense to keep the newer teachers that are effective and entertaining, and cut the teachers that may have been there for longer, but are incompetent. Furthermore, I do think it would be good if there were a pay difference depending on how effectively they teach. This would be a good as a motivation tool for the incompetent teachers to step up their game to become a more effective teacher. By giving the effective teachers more of a pay check, it would be a reward for their good work.

Angry and ineffective teacher

Klein writes about having teachers take specialty exams to gain promotions. I think this is an interesting tool and I would think that there are probably evaluations as well. This would be an effective tool to use in schools. I think it is very interesting that they would restrict the number of teachers that get college aids in their classroom. This makes a lot of sense, and it would give the future teachers the best models and teachers to learn from.

I agree with everything that Klein has written in this article. I definitely agree that the system does need to change. This would be a great path to ensure that our children are getting the very best education that is accessible through the public school system. This education system has not changed much in the past 100+ years. It is high time for the system to catch up with the times and prepare students for the future.

C4K Summary for November

The first C4K I completed for November was on Peyton's Blog. This post was a Declaration of Independence from having a dress code at school. It was written very well and gave supporting examples. It was written very professionally. There were quite a few people who had signed it along with Peyton. I commented about how much I liked it. I also said that I have attended schools that have had a dress code and those which did not. I added that I much preferred wearing outfits that I pick out myself more. After that, I wished Peyton the best of luck on the rest of the school year.

Declaration of Independence clip art

My second C4K was Amira. The post that I commented on was about Thanksgiving. She talked about what it was, why we celebrate it and how we celebrate it in this day in age. It was a nice simple little post but it was written pretty well. She had a couple of minor punctuation errors, which I mentioned in my comment to her. In her post, she said that a lot of people eat turkey and potatoes among other things for Thanksgiving. I replied that I really enjoy turkey and sweet potatoes especially. She used emojis in her post and I told her I really enjoyed those a lot. At the end of my comment I wished her good luck.

My third and final C4K was Reyna. Her post was on Mod2. She said it was pretty easy but she did have a couple of complications with the last two. She said that she messed up counting the rows and making sure her boxes were big enough. She said that she will have to make sure she is more attentive to that next time. I commented saying that a chart can be difficult to read sometimes and that I used to have difficulty with it as well. I encouraged her to keep on figuring out ways to solve these problems because they will help her in her future. I did mention a couple of errors I found in her post, but it wasn't too bed.

The C4K's I have done this semester have been a learning experience for me. I am very glad I got the experience to comment on these children's blogs and help them in any way I was able to.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blog Post #13

For this blog post, the assignment was to write on something that I had not gotten to write about yet. I was reading an article earlier from Edutopia, Empathy and Research: Engaging Parents With Tech Initiatives, which is about helping parents see the importance of incorporating technology into the classroom more fully. This topic seems to be very valid and important. There are many people who are hesitant about technology, partially because they do not quite fully understand how their children will be using it and how it will be useful to them. They may also feel like they don't know how to help their children improve. Many teachers may ask the question "How do I get parents more involved?" This post will discuss these further using a few sources: Empathy and Research: Engaging Parents With Tech Initiatives, Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved, Blended Learning in the Mix: The Informed Parent, and Engaging Parents: An Elementary Teacher's Field Guide.

The first source I found was Empathy and Research: Engaging Parents With Tech Initiatives. This article is about parents' closure to technology becoming involved into the classroom. Some parents get the feeling that they are "out of the loop". They do not know how to help their children improve if they do not know what the teacher thinks each child needs to work on. I can definitely see the concern. They want to see the red markings on the page and get the teacher feedback in that regard. However, by using technology, teachers have all of their students work compiled and it is easier to see the data. Also, teachers can sometimes use technological terms that parents do not understand. For the most part, if a parent can express all of their concerns to their child's teacher, these issues can be addressed. When I am a teacher, I want there to be good communication between myself and the parents. I will use some of the techniques that I will discuss shortly.

Marker Smiley Face

The second source I found was Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved, which is about keeping parents involved in the classroom. There are many ways that teachers connect with parents: agendas, flyers, test folders, phone calls, parents in classrooms, class website, ClassDojo, and Remind.
Some ways that are kind of "old school" can be modified to be more "new school". Agendas are useful because they can serve two purposes. They can be used to write down assignments, as well as notes from the teacher to the parents, upcoming events, minor problems that their child caused during the day, or if their child was well behaved. Flyers can be used to give parents ways to get in contact with the teacher. In addition to that, it can contain important websites to the class. This flyer can be printed and sent home with each student, given to the parents at back-to-school night, and/or attached to the class blog as well. Test folders can be very helpful. These allow parents to be aware of the progress of their children and get feedback from teachers. Phone calls are a very important mode of communication. A teacher should not only call parents for bad behavior, but for good behavior as well. A parent who hears the teacher saying positive things about their child will be more inclined to be involved in the classroom. Having parents in classrooms is another great way to get parents involved. They can be a part of the classroom physically and/or virtually. Students can write a persuasive letter to their parents on their blog, which their parents can reply to on the blog. It would be a fun way to get busy parents involved. They can also be involved by coming to see their children perform or present something. They love to see their children shine and it will also motivate the children to do well.
The rest of these ways to get parents more involved are more "new school" in nature. Having a class website is a great idea to keep the parents updated on classroom happenings. This way, all of the information that parents could need, such as calendar of events, contact information, plan for the week, photos of class activities, and good educational activity websites. I had not heard of ClassDojo or Remind before I read this article, but they both seem like very helpful applications. ClassDojo is an application that allows teachers to send weekly behavioral reports to the parents. It keeps them updated and keeps track of the students' behavior in one place. Remind is an application that allows the teacher to be in touch with the parents without having each others phone numbers. This app is used to inform parents on when tests are, events that are occurring, as well as early dismissals.

Lastly, one thing that I really got from Engaging Parents: An Elementary Teacher's Field Guide was that parents don't really care about your past experiences with teaching, where you went to school or how qualified you are. They really care that you care for their children and they will be loved. This is an important aspect that will determine how involved the parents are going to be.

I really enjoyed all of these articles. I learned a lot from doing this blog post assignment and I am very glad I got the opportunity to research how to keep parents a big part of the education of their children and help them become more comfortable with technology. I hope this blog post is useful to anyone who reads it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Blog Post #12

All of these presentations deal with technology that can help the blind. I hope you enjoy!

Classroom of blind elementary school students

Mountbatten Brailler
by Natalie Thomson

Teaching Math to the Blind
by Patrick Rhodes

iPad Usage for the Blind
by Hannah Armstrong

Project #10 - Interview Video

Interview with Mrs. Haywood

Thursday, November 6, 2014

C4T #3 - Summary of Posts and Comments

My third C4T assignment was Dr. McCaleb, or Doc Horse Tales. To view his blog, it can be viewed here.

Dr. McCaleb's first post that I commented on was The Reality of Transformations. This post talks about the question if you edit something, is it still considered authentic. He took a picture of a sunrise and edited it in iPhoto. He took another picture of the same sunrise from a slightly different location and left it unedited. He went on to ask if a painting, for example Van Gough's haystack, is real. Why or why not? These two questions were very thought provoking. The comment I left answered these questions and his other questions on this post. I said that both pictures are real, but they are different perspectives of the same thing. The edited picture is probably a closer representation of the sunrise seen in person with the human eye. However, the second picture is a real picture taken with a camera. The camera captured the colors and lighting that it could. It adjusted to the light of the sunrise, making the other aspects of the picture darker. Both are real, but different. Same thing with the haystack. There is an actual haystack, but Van Gough's haystack series is an interpretation of it. It doesn't make it not real. It is just another way to look at it.

Edited picture of sunrise from his blog post 'The Reality of Transformations' by Dr. McCaleb

Dr. McCaleb's second post that I commented on was Engagement with Home. This post makes a connection with the challenges in The Odyssey and the challenges with a intense class. He also references Odysseus' search for home throughout The Odyssey. He tied it to his search for home in his life and how the idea of "home" has changed for him. My comment on his post made the connection in my own words. I compared the challenges and search for home in The Odyssey to the challenges and search for home in everyone's lives. I know my "home" has changed considerably throughout my life because I have moved so much in my life. I know now where I enjoy being the best and it isn't just the house I live in. It is the area, the city, the feeling that I have connected to a place. I will always have a connection to Beaverton, OR. I will always have a connection to Lakewood, CO. I will always have a connection to Fairhope, AL. I think that where ever I end up living, I will make it my temporary home and see where I end up next.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Project 14

Group 6 -- Hannah Armstrong, Patrick Rhodes and I -- did the Project #14 PBL lesson plan revolving around the growth of plants for a 3rd grade class. I hope you enjoy.

Diagram of the life cycle of a plant

PBL Lesson Outline

PBL Week Plan

PBL Group Rubric

PBL Individual Rubric

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blog Post #11

The question for this week's blog post is "What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?"

The first video was a TEDxTalk from Denver presented by Brian Crosby, which can be viewed here. During this video, I learned that learning is messy sometimes. We all make mistakes and that is how we learn. Without mistakes, I don't think that we wouldn't be able to learn as effectively. A great way to learn from other students from around the world is through blogs. Without this system, being able to communicate with children around the world wouldn't be as possible. Another way that technology is extremely beneficial is being able to accommodate for children who cannot attend class. One of Mr. Crosby's students had leukemia. Because of her inability to attend class, she had to be enrolled into a school, but she would be doing home studies. Mr. Crosby did not like that idea at all. He used Skype (or another tool like that) so she was able to participate in class without being presently there. I really liked that. Mr. Crosby is giving those children opportunities that they are new to. This class for them can help them achieve goals in their lives that they couldn't dream of achieving beforehand.

The second video was an introduction to blended learning by Paul Andersen, which can be viewed here. I really liked what he said about engaging students with the 5 E's. The teacher starts with an engaging question. Students can then explore the topic. Then, the teacher explains the phenomenon. After that comes the expanding of learning. Finally, there is the evaluation. When a teacher pairs this with the "compelling parts of online, mobile, and classroom learning and blending them together", the teacher has a great structure for a blended learning lesson plan. This will make learning more enjoyable and engaging for the students. Another way to structure the blended learning cycle is through QUIVERS: Question, Investigation/inquiry, Video, Elaboration, Review, and Summary Quiz. I really liked what Mr, Andersen did with the data from his experiments. His students put their data in a Google Spreadsheet to compile all of the data. I thought that was a really great idea. This way, someone can view all of the results at the same time easily. I will definitely be using QUIVERS in my classroom of elementary students, whereas he will continue on with his AP science class.

Screenshot from Mr. Andersen's video when discussing QUIVERS

The third video was a look into Mark Church's classroom on a lesson about making headlines, which can be viewed above the comments section here. This was an interesting project. The students worked collaboratively to summarize the main idea into a simple "headline". This assignment required specific thinking to work together and bounce ideas off of each other. This project requires creativity of a specific nature. It's more intellectually creative than artistic creative. This would be a fun little project to do.

In the fourth video, Sam Pane was teaching a lesson on internet safety to his 5th graders, which can be viewed here. The way he taught the lesson was very interactive. The students created comic books with heroes that made sure that people were being safe and respectful on the internet. This lesson really showed that the students understood what it meant to be safe when they were on the internet. This lesson translates to real world situations really well when students are on the internet.

The fifth video was about project based learning in a high school, which can be viewed here. Three teachers -- a history teacher, an english teacher, and an information processing teacher -- came together to incorporate the three subjects together to create a project based learning class. They had to get special permission to do so from the administration from their school. With this structure, students could learn more, dive deeper into their knowledge and learn more fully to apply that knowledge. These students are going beyond what is required in their curriculum and they are loving it. They are proud of their work. I want my students to feel that way and I will incorporate PBL into my classroom.

The final video was about project based learning in the elementary classroom, which can be viewed here. This way of learning is more in depth and students really get to understand what is being taught. Also, because of all of the presenting in front of the class, it takes away any fear of public speaking. On top of that, the students make a lot of their own choices on how to do things. This creates a sense of ownership when they are doing a project. I think this is great. By doing this, it will help me learn to lay back a little bit and urging the students and asking them questions more to dive deeper in their knowledge. If they do not know it, then they will learn to look it up themselves. I think learning 21st century skills is a fantastic idea because it teaches them to be prepared for the real world.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blog Post #10

As I began watching the first section of the interview with Ms. Cassidy, I was a little surprised when she said that she started having a web page about 10 years ago. I was in third grade then and we were only using laptops very rarely. I had an idea how to use it, but it wasn't a central part of the classroom. Her class room was and is very different, as mine will be from the classroom I was a part of in elementary school. I love that she uses her students' blogs as an online portfolio in a way. I think that it is a great idea so that the students can see how far they have improved over the year as well as allow the parents to see their child's work as well. By incorporating technology in the classroom, the teacher is just incorporating part of the child's world into the classroom. It is not strange or foreign to them; it just is. The teacher is just expanding the students' knowledge of how to use technology. I think it is interesting that she said that teachers are actually handicapping their students and themselves by not incorporating technology. I really like how she said that her students use Skype to talk to other students after they comment on each others' blog posts to talk about corrections they can make to make it better. I think it is a smart idea. I was thinking about her comment on how technological literacy has changed over the years. She said that 20 years ago it was word processing and using a data sheet. I was thinking that that is basically what we used in high school even, which was 3-7 years ago. We mostly used word processing, data sheets and presentations. Now that I am taking this class, I can see that being technologically literate is so much more. To start off with technology, use it in a way that interests them the most. If you enjoy photography, then use Flicker. If you enjoy writing then keep up a blog. Ms. Cassidy explained that having a PLN is a very important tool. This tool exposes us to resources that we would not normally discover. Collaborative learning has been, is, and will continue to be a very important way of learning for students. With access to the internet, it is easier to do and creates collaborative skill that they will need later in life.

Screen shot of Ms. Cassidy from the first video of the interview

My opinion has definitely been altered about technology in the classroom. I think it will be a valuable tool that will help my students in the future to succeed later in their lives.

If you would like to watch the whole interview, here are links to the three videos: Interview with Ms. Cassidy Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

C4K Summary for October

The first C4K I did for this month was for Chloe. I commented on a post in which Chloe was thanking Mikaila and Christopher for the drawings they sent here, which can be viewed here. She was very genuine and thankful. She also wrote that she loves the color pink, which was a very prominent color in both of the drawings. I commented that I loved the drawings and made a personal connection. I also helped her out with the word "because" because I saw that she had some difficulty spelling it in her post.

Photo of a drawing of a pink rabbit from Mikaila to Chloe

The second C4K I completed was for Bobby. I commented on a post that was his brief argument on voting on test dates, which can be viewed here. He argued that the students should be able to vote to determine when tests are so that they don't have multiple tests on the same day. I commented that I thought that that was a very good idea and I liked it a lot. I wish that we could do that in college. It would make life easier.

The third C4K I was assigned was for Brayden. I commented on his post about Minecraft, which can be viewed here. On this post was a few pictures from his Minecraft and some descriptions underneath. He seems to be pretty good at it from what I could tell, and I commented that I thought so. I also commented that I hoped that Minecraft was fixed soon because it was not working when he wrote it.

The fourth C4K I completed was for Mahana (or Maryann). I commented on her post on "How to Keep Safe in the Sun", which can be viewed here. It was a good post. It was also pretty thorough, although it was pretty repetitive. She did get her point across. It sounded like English was not her first language. She did a very good job overall. I commented on that and pointed out an error with a sentence that was a run on and did not start with a capital letter. I enjoyed reading her post.

Project 12A

Project 12A - Using the SMART board

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Post #9

What Can Teachers and Students Teach Us About Project Based Learning?

I think both teachers and students teach us a lot project based learning. I think project based learning is a great tool for getting students to work out of the box. Below will summarize the resources I used and have my opinions as well.

The first required source was an article called Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning. This source gives an example of each section of a class to explain each part of project-based learning. The project overviewed in this source is about ocean pollution and coming up with ideas to help fix it. I really liked this idea and it sounds like it would be a lot of fun to do. I wish I had done a project like this one in high school. This project would definitely be one that I would remember in a good way. It gets students very involved in a project that is collaborative, involves technology, gets them involved with the community, and asking more in depth questions to dive deeper into the driving question. I would like to do something very similar this with my students. I would somewhat edit it so as to do it on subject matter that is more prevalent. I would like to see how far the students would go with it.

The last required source was a video called Project-Based Learning for Teachers. This video defines what project-based learning provides in the classroom and what ways it helps students. This video does a great job in showing ways to use it and just how useful it is. If anyone has any questions about the general concept of project based learning, this is definitely the video I would show them. This video describes it in a way that is very basic and easy to understand. They are also a great way to teach 21st century skills. These kinds of projects will definitely be integrated into my classroom when I begin to teach.

This finishes up the required sources that I needed to incorporate into this blog post. I needed to include 3 more. I was given the option to use some from given sources, or I could find my own. I used one video from the list and I found 2 other videos that I enjoyed.

Student who is part of a group taking a picture of the group's project

The one video that I am using from the list that Dr. Strange gave us was the Wing Project: Crafting a Driving Question. This video is a recording of a conversation about crafting a driving question. This project revolved around making a functional wing. This project incorporated math, physics, and engineering. This project gave a real world example that these students would probably be using later on in their careers. The driving question is probably the most important aspect of a project-based learning assignment. If the question isn't very clear to too narrow, then it can mess up the whole project.

One of the two videos I used in supplement for one from the list of sources was Project-Based Learning in an Elementary Science Classroom. I really liked this project idea. This project incorporated communication between other students in other countries. This project revolved around monarch butterflies and was an online project. They tracked monarch butterflies through their migration and grew milkweed plants, which the monarchs use to lay their eggs. I think I would like to do this project in my classroom in the future.

The other video I used was School District Uses Project Based Learning Over Testing. The Danville school district in Kentucky integrated project-based learning into the whole school and the result was really cool. The students were really into the projects and very interested in the information. It gives students a change of pace and gives value to the projects so it isn't just busy work. This way, I feel like students understand the information and processes more. The students can discuss it with their classmates and bounce ideas off of each other. It also creates an opportunity to get involved with their community, their country, or the world. With the projects the students need to be able to communicate, use their creativity, and cooperate in their team. This kind of learning demonstrates a deeper learning than the learning that is used for simple test taking. This kind of learning also helps increase test scores. The students are actually learning it, not just regurgitating it.

I think project-based learning is a great idea and I can't wait to learn how to integrate it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Post #8

I really enjoyed Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on achieving childhood dreams, which he gave at Carnegie Mellon University. It was very inspiring to listen to his story and see his outlook on life, even when he knew he was dying. If you would like to read his story, you can read it here. I think we can learn a lot about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch. I will start at the beginning of his talk to address most of the points Pausch makes during his lecture that he used to achieve his dreams. At the end, I will address what we can learn about teaching and learning from the tools he used to achieve his own dreams.

Pausch outlined his talk before hand. Pausch had 6 childhood dreams: being in zero-gravity, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being a Disney Imagineer. He achieved most of these dreams; the dreams that he didn’t quite achieve, he learned a lot from the path he took.

His first dream was being in zero-gravity. He achieved this dream by riding the “vomit comet”. This was sponsored by NASA. This plane takes a path as shown below. At 20 to 45 seconds, there is zero-gravity in the plane. Some of his students won a contest to ride in the “vomit comet”. Pausch, however, could not join them because he was a professor. He learned that a journalist was allowed to go with the students. So, he resigned for a short time as a professor and applied to be a journalist. Lo and behold, he was able to go with his students to ride on the “vomit comet”. What we can take from this first dream, and from most of these dreams, is that persistence and creativity is key. Without these, he wouldn’t have been able to join his students in this once in a lifetime opportunity or achieving his first childhood dream.

Graph showing the arc the vomit rocket flies

The second dream Pausch had was to play in the NFL. This was one of the two dreams he did not achieve. However, he did learn a lot from this journey. He joined a football team when he was 9 and he was "the smallest person on the entire team". He learned two lessons from his time in football. The first was from his first day at practice. When he and his teammates came to practice, the coach didn't bring any footballs. They asked the coach why and the coach replied, “How many men are on a football field at one time?” The kids replied, “22.” The coach asked, “How many people are touching the football at any given time?” “1.” “Right, then we will be working on what the other 21 people will be doing.” The other thing he learned from football was from one of his assistant coaches. His coach was on his back all practice and his assistant coach mentioned it. Pausch agreed and his assistant coach replied that it was a good thing that he was on him. He told him "When you screw up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." Pausch expanded on that by saying, "Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you." Pausch got a lot out of the experience of playing football without playing in the NFL. He said that “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

His third dream was to publish an article in the World Book Encyclopedia. Once he had gotten to a good standing because of his virtual reality projects, they called him and asked him to do an article on it to be published in it. If you go look up "virtual reality" in the World Book Encyclopedia, then you will find his article in it.

His fourth dream was to be Captain Kirk. This of course is not really possible. But he could do the next best thing: meet Captain Kirk. He did how ever get to meet William Shatner who played Captain Kirk. Pausch taught classes on creating virtual realities. He ended up making a virtual reality of the cabin of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and William Shatner was able to experience it. It was a really cool experience for him that Schatner sought him out. What I really liked that Pausch said was that Captain Kirk wasn’t the smartest person on the ship, but he had the leadership qualities that the rest of the crew on the Enterprise did not have. This made him an important asset on the Enterprise.

Pausch’s fifth dream was to win stuffed animals. This was a very interesting, maybe a little mundane, dream. He did, however, achieve this dream as well. He wanted to be one of those guys that you see with those really big stuffed animals. Well, he became like one of those guys and he won A LOT of animals. Below are two pictures of the stuffed animals he brought with him to the lecture to give away so a few people could have part of him.

3 of the 5 bears Pausch won

3 of the 5 bears Pausch won

His sixth dream was to become a Disney Imagineer. This dream was a very hard dream to achieve. Pausch made a reference to the brick walls in life at this point. The brick walls in life “are there to “let us prove how badly we want things.” He applied to become an Imagineer after he graduated from getting his PhD at Carnegie Mellon. Disney rejected him with the nicest rejection letter he had ever received. A few years later, Disney was in the process of making a virtual attraction for Aladdin. At the same time, Pausch was asked to brief the U.S. Secretary of Defense on virtual reality. He contacted Disney because he knew that they had one of the best systems in the world. They eventually agreed. He was linked through to Jon Snoddy, who was in charge of the Imagineers at Disney. He went and met with him for lunch. He asked about coming to work with him and Snoddy’s reply was “…you’re in the business of telling stuff and we’re in the business of keeping secrets.” He also taught Pausch, “Wait, and people will surprise you.” They eventually signed a legal contract and, to make a long story short, he was able to work with the Imagineers. He was offered a position at the end of the project, which he declined. He continued to work a little bit with the Imagineers, but he continued to teach.

There is a lot we can learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch. Fundamentals are the not so fun things to learn anything. Fundamentals are the support system for the hard stuff later on. If you don't learn how to add, how are you going to do any sort of calculus problem? Without learning words, how are you going to write a 1,500 word essay in English? No, they are not fun, but they are VERY important. All that is needed is some persistence. Persistence is very important. Never give up and keep up the dedication. Dedication is very important for teaching and learning. Dedication is needed to continue on when you are faced with a difficult situation. When school gets hard, dedication is needed to continue to study and do work for school. Something that helps your dedication is your outlook. Pausch compares it to either being a Tigger or an Eeyore. It is your decision on your outlook is and it can be changed. He also talks about how support from others helps a lot. If a teacher encourages a struggling student, it tells the student that their teacher cares about that student and how they do in their school work. If the teacher stops doing that, then the teacher has given up on the student. When you are working in a team setting, which takes place as a student and a teacher, support is needed throughout the group. He also gives great advice: there is a good way and a bad way to say “I don't know.” It is more helpful to say “I don’t know” in a good way. Both teachers and students need to be able to say “I don’t know" if they don’t know something. He mentions that “as a teacher, you are enabling childhood dreams.” What a statement. What an inspiration. “The feeling that you have done something to make other people happy is priceless.” I believe every word of that. I know that it is true. We also need to help others. That “is what everyone should be doing.” People that help us are teachers, mentors, friends, and colleagues. His advice to get people to help you succeed is to “tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you mess up, and focus on others, not yourself.” Doing this will help you build connections and make friends, which helps in the teaching and learning process by having some resources and a system of people to depend on. The brick walls in our lives show us how badly we want something. Being able to teach their students valuable information as well as learning from their students is valuable for teachers. Teachers will overcome whatever obstacle to achieve that dream. Students have many dreams. It is a teacher’s job to help achieve their dreams by helping students figure out who they are. Students learn a lot from teachers, but they can also teach their teachers. They can teach and remind them why they do what they do. Overcoming whatever brick walls they have is part of life. It is our job to use that perseverance, that determination, that helpfulness, that gratitude and that drive that helps us become who we are meant to be. If the outcome didn't turn out the way you thought it would, that's ok. "Experience is what you get when you didn't quite et what you wanted." That is most of what I learned from Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch giving his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon

R.I.P. Randy Pausch. He is one of my role models in my life now. I hope this gives a peak at who he is. If you have not seen his lecture, it can be found here. It is one of those life changing moments, like those moments he had in his life that changed his life for the rest of his life.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

For this post that we were assigned, Dr. Strange gave us this data from Zogby Analytics to use.

1. 87% say their smartphone never leaves their side.
2. 80% say the very first thing they do in the morning is reach for their smartphone.
3. 78% say they spend 2 or more hours per day using their smartphone.
4. 68% say they would prefer to use their smartphone instead of their laptop or personal computer for personal use.
5. 91% say that having a camera on their smartphone is important (61% very important)
6. 87% say they use their smartphone camera at least weekly. 59% use their smartphone camera at least every other day. 44% use their smartphone camera for still or motion picture taking every day.

In addition, Dr. Strange gave us this information as well:
"Cameras were added to smartphones starting in 2002. The first iPhone also had a camera. It became available in June 2007. Seven years later there are over 1.75 billion smartphones worldwide. (Source: emarketing) This means that 24.1% of the entire world population (7.263 billion as of 3:32 CDT 9/27/2014 - Source: World Population Clock) now has a smartphone. Your students will have lived all their life in a world with smartphones containing cameras."

iPhone with Apps flying out of it

From this data, I can conclude that people are pretty attached to their smartphones, if they have them. These devices are used to use social media, text, call, play games on, take pictures and videos on, and much more. This data also shows that pretty much all smartphones have cameras. I think this because I don't think that many people have smartphones from before 2002.

Technology is a huge part of the world that we live in. This means that technology has to flow into the classroom, and it has. Most classes in the area that I live in use computers/tablets in their classes. Smartphones could be implemented into classrooms, but a little more creatively. This would be more difficult to do with an elementary class setting, but tablets could be used instead. In a high school or middle school setting, this would be more feasible. Pretty much all of the parents of these children have smartphones these days. This can be used as a quick and easy communication tool between the parent and the teacher. Also, having a Twitter feed that the parents can subscribe to so they know what the plan is for the week ahead.

There are many ways that a smartphone or a tablet can be used so that it helps cover the requirements for Alabama College and Career Ready Standards. One way I could incorporate one into the classroom is having the students use to use it to record a choreographed routine for the dance requirement. It could also be incorporated by creating a station where students record themselves reading so they can go back and hear their errors and correct them, just as in iPad Reading Center. The students can also take pictures of different plants and leaves for science to compare and contrast the different plants. This also helps create a diversity in plants throughout the class.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

C4T #2 - Summary of Posts and Comments

My C4T teacher was Ms. Cassidy who teaches Kindergarden in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. She keeps her students very busy and it looks like they have a bunch of fun.

The first blog post that I commented on was Whisper Phones. This post showed a student using a whisper phone. A whisper phone is made out of PVC pipe and made to look like a phone. It allows students to hear their voices, which helps loud readers by helping them become more aware that they are loud when they read. It also allows students to hear what they are saying and help them recognize what they are saying if they are not pronouncing something correctly.
I began my comment on her post by introducing myself and I also said that I really liked the idea of using it. I also said that I should remember to use one when I teach. I came into possession of a whisper phone recently and was very intrigued about it. I think it is really cool that I came across the two right around the same time.

Student using whisper phone

The second blog post was about Fishtail Bracelets. This post documented what the students did in class and how much fun they had working on a project that they loved to do. She used this project to reinforce patterns in math.
My comment on her post was that I thought that this would be a fun project to do with my future students to reinforce patterns. It would also help improve the students' fine motor skills and help them in their creativity.

I really enjoyed seeing this teacher's blog and getting ideas from her. I might continue to follow her blog after this week.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project #13

Group #6 did our Project Based Lesson Plan on the Seven Continents. Take a look at the plan we compiled and the rubrics the students will be graded on!

Physical Map of Earth

Lesson Plan
Project Rubric
Individual Rubric
Week Plan for Project

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blog Post #7

I think it's hard to pinpoint what my strengths and weaknesses, so I may miss a few. I think my strengths are that I'm a pretty fast learner once everything clicks, I have a pretty open mind, and I am open to approaching a problem or a way of doing a task from a different angle. I think some of my weaknesses are that I could want to help my students too much and want to be a little to overbearing and controlling. I am not a teacher yet and haven't observed in a classroom yet, so I do not know what kind of teacher I would be. I think once I start going to classrooms, I will be able to more accurately pinpoint what my strengths and weaknesses are. I think I will also learn a lot from the classes I will be taking in the next two years. I will have to learn how to apply what I will be learning in classes in the classrooms I will be observing and teaching in.

The first video on the list was How to make an Audio QR Code. This video was very informative for me. I had no idea how to create a QR Code. Ms. Bennett's video was very easy to follow and understand, so that helped a lot.

The second video was iPad Reading Center. This video was informative because it taught me a different way of teaching reading. This way allows students to help teach themselves and help them become more observant. There are a couple different techniques that can be used to help students hear their errors when they are reading. There is this way, but I saw one on my second teacher's blog for my C4T. This tool is called a whisper phone. A whisper phone has the same look as a phone, however, it is made of PVC pipe pieces. This tool doesn't record like the iPad, although the two could be paired. Having them paired would allow a student to hear themselves more immediately with the help of the whisper phone, and after he or she is done reading, the student can listen to the recording of his or her reading. This way, the student can listen to the recording and further assess their mistakes.

Student using whisper phone

The third video on the list was Poplet with Ginger Tuck. This video was very informative for me because I have never heard of Poplet before. It looks like a very useful tool and quite easy to use, and it is. I downloaded it on my iPhone and it is versatile, and it is pretty cool.

The fourth video was AVL and Kindergarten Students. This video covered the ways Alabama Virtual Library can be used for Kindergarteners. I have used AVL in the past and have found it to be very useful. I find it very interesting that kindergarteners are doing research at the age that they are at, but I think is is beneficial for them. AVL has pictures, a read aloud feature, and a definition or explanation of what that child is looking up. I had no idea AVL had a read a loud feature, and I imagine that helps the younger grades a lot. If they come across a word they do not know, they can listen to it so they know how to pronounce it, and look it up.

The fifth video was Tammy Shirley Discovery Education Board Builder Moon Project. I found it to be very informative. I have never heard of Discovery Education before, and appears to be very easy to use. It also looks like information is easy to access through it. The Moon Project was done well and informative about the Moon. I also enjoyed the student's story.

The sixth and seventh videos on the list were Mrs. Tassin 2nd Grade students share Board Builder Project and Mrs. Tassin students share Board Builder Project. These two videos are about the same kind of project, but by two different groups of students. The sixth video, Mrs. Tassin 2nd Grade students share Board Builder Project, talks about whales. They researched the internet to find all of the information the students needed and found pictures as well. They also uploaded the pictures they found into the project. Both projects were very well done and it shows me what 1st graders are capable of.

The eighth video on the list was Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten. I think it's amazing that kindergarten students can research and make iMovie Book Trailers. I had no idea that they could do that. The ability of students continue to amaze me.

The ninth and final video was We All Become Learners. This video covers that teachers teach their students, students teach other students, and students teach their teachers. Also, because many schools in today's day in age have iPads or laptops, everyone can teach each other which makes technology a great tool to utilize in classrooms.

Friday, September 26, 2014

C4K Summary for September

My first C4K student was Joshua who is a student in Kansas. His blog post that I commented on was a book preview of The Red Pyramid. The Red Pyramid is about 2 siblings and their father. Their father ended up getting captured by the Egyptian god Set and it was the children's job to rescue him. In my comment on his blog post, I told him that he did a very good job on it and that the book preview sounded so interesting that I want to now read it. I gave him one small correction concerning his post, but overall it was easy to read and understand.

Student working on MacBook Air

My second C4K student was Kris who is a student in New Zealand. His most recent post was a Google Presentation on a stained glass window that he created. It demonstrated some math calculations that he used to create his window. His Presentation did not seem to be complete when I viewed it. In my comment, I complimented him on his window and I asked him how he figured out all of the equations. I also complimented him on his Google Presentation and wished him best of luck.

My third C4K student was Jack who is a student in the US. His most recent post that I commented on was a response to the question around the lines of "Which is more important: talent or hard work?" He responded that hard work was more important than talent. He also said that hard work corresponds with achieving your dreams. He used Jeremy Lin, who is an NBA player who worked hard to achieve his dream and goal to be a starter. Jack had a lot of grammatical issues, some of which I provided suggestions for him so they would be brought to his attention. I commented that I agreed with him about his opinion that hard work is more important than talent. I also commented that I had never heard of Jeremy Lin before and his post was very informative and that his story is fascinating.

I enjoyed being able to comment on these kids blogs and can't wait for my assignments for next month.

Blog Post #6

The prompt for this weeks blog post is "What did you learn from these conversations with Anthony Capps?" Here are the links for the videos for east reference: Project Based Learning Part 1, Project Based Learning Part 2, iCurio, Discovery Ed, The Anthony-Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1, Use Tech, Don't Teach It, and Additional Thoughts About Lessons from Anthony.
I feel like I learned quite a bit. I learned that Mr. Capps' 3rd graders are on the same level as Dr. Strange's students at the University of South Alabama, which includes myself. In a way, that is not surprising to me at all. So, 3rd graders are about 9 years old. Children are very impressionable at that age and they pick things up very quickly. Also, they are very curious for the most part, so they just work on something until they figure that out. They also haven't put up many walls at this point in their lives yet, so I think that helps them be more open to exploring technology. In addition to this, they have grown up using technology from pretty much the time they were 3 to some degree. College students around my age (20 years old) are adults at this point. We have put up walls and have been taught a different way than children are being taught today for our whole lives. We didn't use technology that much in the classroom. We didn't make iMovies and Presentations when we were in 3rd grade. We have been brought up with a certain mindset that we need to alter to become fun effective teachers for the years to come. My generation is very tech-y, but there's a lot about technology we don't understand, myself included. So, there are a lot of things we can learn.

Photo from Dr. Strange's video of a conversation with Mr. Capps

During the videos, I learned that everyone is a learner, so therefore, everyone is a teacher. I agree with this. I know I could learn so much from Mr. Capps' 3rd graders. I think they would be so excited to have the opportunity to have that experience as well and it would in turn help them further understand the steps. So, it would be improbable to the teacher to know everything. I do think that a teacher needs to know how to do the basics, like making an iMovie, using Slides on GoogleDocs, or knowing how to upload videos to Youtube. I would encouragingly guide my students if they were genuinely stuck. I would ask them questions to guide them to figure out how to solve their problem. If they still cannot figure it out after trying, I will then help the student personally. I want to challenge my students to do the best they can.

One specific video I learned from is Additional Thoughts About Lessons from Anthony. I really liked how he said that a lesson is 4 layers thick: year, unit, weekly, and daily. A teacher needs to look at how a lesson fits in with the objectives that you need to cover throughout the year. A question a teacher needs to think about is "Does this lesson help cover the standards that need to be covered?" and "Does my yearly plan cover all of the standards that I am required to cover?". On the unit level, a teacher needs to determine if he or she has created lessons and projects that are meaningful in some way and are they all connected. The teacher also needs to make sure the unit is scaffolded properly. They need to make sure that they are stretching out an overall goal that can be stretched for a determined amount of time (like a month). For the week level, a teacher needs to make sure that they have enough for their lessons for that week and that they make sure they can cover everything that they need to cover. Finally, with the daily level, a teacher needs to determine how they are going to deliver a topic to the students. They have to ask "What is the most effective and engaging way for me to teach this subject matter?" A teacher needs to also have some sort of assessment tool so they can gauge how effective the lesson was and how much the students learned.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blog Post #5

Before now, I was not aware of what a PLN was. When I was assigned this blog post, I was a little confused on what a PLN exactly was. So like anything, if I'm confused about it, I Googled it. Here is what I came up with. I found Kate Klingensmith's blog, Once A Teacher... where I found a simple definition of a PLN: "n. – the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online." After I read this, I went on Twitter I looked for people or organizations that could help and inspire me on my road to becoming a teacher. Not only on that road, but when I am on the road of improving myself as a teacher. I want to be a dynamic, fun, inspiring teacher, so I know I need some help to achieve that goal. I am now looking at a list of a little over 50 people and organizations that I have followed in Twitter and I am sure that list will continue to grow.

I have also made myself a Delicious page and a Symbaloo as well as Dr. Strange advised. Here is a picture of my Symbaloo page, as well as my Delicious page. Both are a work in progress and I will work on expanding them as I learn how to work them both fully.

Screenshot of my Symbaloo page

Screenshot of my Delicious page

I am excited to continue to build my PLN and by what I will gain from it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

C4T#1 - Summary of Articles and Posts

For my C4T, I was assigned the Teaching Channel. The first post I commented on was "Your Body Language Speaks Volumes: 6 Tips for Teachers". This blog post was about how body language affects the students' response to the teacher. Body language is a very effective tool gaining control of a class at the beginning and end, as well as to keep students focused in during class time. In my comment on this post, I noted introduced myself and noted the different strategies I liked the most. I will probably use most of these techniques when I begin to teach.

Teacher writing on chalkboard

The second post I commented on was 4 "Big Ideas to Engage Students". This post is about different ways of engaging students. High school graduates were interviewed and they shared the most compelling thing that engaged them in school. They also explained how it changed their lives. My comment on this post concerned three of the four stories and how they are very important in keeping a student engaged and helping them become the best they can be.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Post #4

Asking questions is very important in the learning and teaching process. Teachers have to ask the questions like "What questions am I going to ask my students?", "How am I going to teach this concept?", "How am I going to get my students involved and interested in this concept?" and so on. The students ask questions like "How does this apply to my life?", "How do I do this?", and so on. They also say "This is confusing," "I'm bored," and "I don't understand this." It's the teacher's job to make the "boring" topics interesting. To do this, teacher's need to come up with good questions that make the students talk about it and become interested in it. The articles "Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom", "The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Class", and "Asking Questions to Improve Learning" explain different ways to engage students by using questions.

Exploding box of Question marks

In "Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom", Dr. Weimer suggests to prepare questions for students when teachers are writing their lesson plans. This way, the teacher won't ask questions that don't make sense and leave the students more confused than they were before. This way, the teacher will be able to place questions where they will be most effective. Also, the teacher should allow students to play with the questions. For example, ask a question and base an activity around it. This way, it keeps students more interested and engaged in the question. Also, it is a smart idea to save and reuse good questions. Not only should the teacher record his or her good question, but a student's good question as well.

In "The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Class", I learned that the goal of a question is not to have the students answer it simply. If it doesn't allow the students to think more critically about it, then the students are probably not going to be very interested in it. Also, when a teacher calls on a student, then asks a question, the rest of the students tune out and don't think about the question. When a teacher asks a question, let it sit on the students' minds for a while, and then asks a student to answer it, all of the students will think of the answer and allow for more thinking to take place.

In the third article "Asking Questions to Improve Learning", it is important to ask the student to give evidence supporting their answer or an example. It will show the teacher that the student knows the information or the information they don't know. Also, instead of asking one, multi-layered question (which can be confusing), it is better to ask multiple questions that clear up any confusion. It is very important to not overwhelm a class discussion with questions. The teacher needs to wait until one question is answered to its full potential, then move on to the next question. Also, just to change things up for the students, the teacher should mix different levels of questions to really check to see if the students fully comprehend all of the answers.