Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Final Reflections

       This is the final week of EDM 510 and my classmates and I were instructed by Dr. Strange to complete a "Final Reflections" movie as part of our final examination for the course. I have learned so much this semester about integrating technological tools into the classroom and taking a PBL stance to the presentation of classroom lessons that I had a difficult time narrowing it all down into a five minute video!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My PDP and PLN

A picture of a man's head with objects representing information falling into his open head
I want this as a poster for my classroom (FYI)!
       My Professional Development Plan includes applying current and relevant technology applications into my Secondary Science Classroom. These applications include and are not limited to:
  • Google Apps
  • iTunes U
  • Schoology
  • Prezi (and other presentation tools)
  • Wonderopolis
  • Symbaloo
  • Twitter
       As an educator I want to strive to incorporate 21st century skills into my curriculum and day to day lessons. I also want to incorporate them into project based learning assignments. Another important part of my PDP will be iteration. I will try new programs and styles and remain in an evolving state, willing to change everything if I notice that I'm not reaching my students in the way I intended to. One very important aspect of my PDP is my Symbaloo account. Whenever I discover new applications or important websites I always make sure to add them to the management program. This way I can access the websites from any computer (Plus it looks pretty cool on the smart board!). Another important aspect of my PDP is my Professional Learning Network. I am currently building my PLN through my professional Twitter account. On my account I frequently find great ideas for my future classroom and I am able to connect with successful teachers from around the globe. I love having this technology at my fingertips. When teaching in today's world you never have a reason to be alone! There are tons of wonderful teachers on the web who you can reach out to. I am really excited about continuing to build and refine my PDP and PLN.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

C4T (Rotating) #9-10

Post and Comment #9

Quote by Steve Ballmer with a picture of a doll painting on an iPod
       This week in EDM 510, I was assigned the blog Teacher Reboot Camp, which is operated by Shelly Sanchez Terrell. while viewing Terrell's blog I came across a blog from March 31st titled:Passion, Potential, & Heroes That Fail Us. In her post, Terrell provides information about her background stating that she grew up in a city that had the 2nd highest occurrences of teen pregnancy. She goes on to say that it was her father's goal for her to graduate from college as the first Sanchez to ever do so in her family. Terrell mentions that she is blessed to live in a time when technology is available to provide all people with vast amounts of information. She goes on to mention that she has failed her audience (in some respect, not mentioned in this post) in the past. At the end of her blog post Terrell talks about how technology plays such a major part of our student's lives. She mentions that schools should be embracing the use of devices in the classroom and curriculum, opposed to lecturing and "teaching to tests".
       In my comment to Terrell's post I introduced myself and mentioned that I am new to education. I also expressed that I want to be a part of changing our schools' views and use of technology in the classroom. I also mentioned that with the resources available today, we should be striving to incorporate technology into the classroom, not ban it from our schools! In the end of my comment I thanked Terrell for sharing her post.

Post and Comment #10

A cartoon of a man speaking to a Psychologist about being at Starbucks without anyone knowing it
       This week I was assigned by Dr. Strange to Lee Kolbert's blog titled: A Geeky Momma's Blog. While exploring Kolbert's blog I came across a post from December 21, 2013 titled: Why I'm Deleting Foursquare and Why You Should Too!. In the post Kolbert talks about how she has used her Foursquare account to score discounts on products and services in the past. She mentions, though that Foursquare has undergone a recent privacy change in which all of your locations that you post at and regularly visit will be displayed for the general public to see. This privacy breach has the potential to make the job of criminals much easier. By viewing a public Foursquare account a criminal could find out your daily movements in order to stalk you or find out when you are out of house so a burglary can be staged. For those who have provided links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, a criminal or stalker could easily find out more information about you. The purpose of Kolbert's blog post was to help raise awareness regarding online privacy. In today's digital age this is a very serious matter.
       In my comment to Kolbert's blog post I mentioned that I have never had a Foursquare account; however, I do have a Twitter and Facebook account. I also expressed what a serious problem the lack of privacy is. As an educator, I feel that is important that we keep our students informed about internet privacy, especially when using social media. By providing your current location for the public to see online, you are setting yourself up as a future victim of criminal activity.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Average is Over: Book Review

       This week in EDM 510 I was required to compose a video book review. The specific book I chose was Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen. I thought that I would really like this book, but I found it to be a slightly boring read overall. Cowen makes several good predictions about our future with machines. Overall, I feel that he could have gotten his point across in fewer words and pages.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blog Post #10 What Did Dr. Strange Leave Out?

       This week in EDM 510 my classmates and I were asked to come up with an assignment for a blog post pertaining to our area of specialty. I am a secondary education instructor and I am qualified to teach any science course from 7th to 12th grade. During the process of coming up with an application that I feel that I would really benefit from I decided to go with a learning/management program called Schoology. I first discovered the program while watching the latest episode of Dr. Will Deyamport's online show: The Dr. Will Show (Episode 4).

The Assignment

       The assignment for this week is to explore the Learning Management System: Schoology. What is Schoology? What are some ways that this system could be a benefit to your specific content area? What are your "likes" and "dislikes" for the program? You have the choice to complete the assignment using Google Slides, Prezi, YouTube video, or a written essay posted to your blog. I encourage each of you to complete the assignment using a program that you have never used before (great learning experience!).

My Final Project

       For some weird reason my Prezi is sporadically showing up using the embedded code. So here is the link to it: Science & Schoology. Enjoy!

C4T ScienceFix # 9-11

Post and Comment #9 (04/15/14)

Picture of ScienceFix Condensation Balloon Trick
       This week while exploring Mr. Darren Fix's website ScienceFix, I came across a post from October 31, 2012 titled: Condensation Balloon Trick. In the post Mr. Fix explains that he used this demonstration with his students while covering changes in matter. He also said that he had his students draw the balloon and flask and write on the picture what processes are occurring (liquid taking up less space than gas). In the post Mr. Fix also provided a video demonstration for the experiment.
       In the video Mr. Fix has heated up a flask of water to boiling. He then removed the flask from the hotplate and placed a balloon filled with water on the opening. When the flask was on the hotplate, Mr. Fix explains that the water molecules were moving fast and were spacing further apart (while moving to gas phase). He went on to explain that when the flask was removed from the heat the water molecules lost energy, slowed down, and moved closer together. This occurrence led to lower atmospheric pressure inside of the flask than outside the flask. This difference in pressure pushed the balloon into the flask. In the demo Mr. Fix also shows what happens when a balloon is too big for the flask opening and how to remove the balloon from the flask without popping it.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's post, I expressed how much I enjoyed his video demonstration. I also mentioned that I agree with him that students would benefit from drawing out diagrams and explanations for what is occurring in the experiment. In my comment I also mentioned that I like how he presents essential questions in his demo videos. These types of questions are great for promoting critical thinking within our students. I concluded my comment by expressing that I am going to add this demonstration to my growing list of "ScienceFix" experiments for next year.

 Post and Comment #10 (04/21/14)

 Screen shot from ScienceFix blog magic experiment
Screen shot from ScienceFix blog magic experiment
       This week while viewing Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix I came across a blog post from October 30, 2012 titled: Using Magic as a Discrepant Event. In the post Mr. Fix discusses that discrepant events are extremely important in teaching science. He explains that a discrepant event as an event in which students observe a phenomenon that challenges how they believe a process or object works. Mr. Fix expresses that "magic" constantly does this. Students who are confronted with the phenomenon have to use critical thinking skills and logic to try to explain the actual science behind the "magic". In his post Mr. Fix included a video demonstration of using a magic trick to get students thinking about frictional forces. In the video Mr. Fix makes a bottle with a string in it appear to levitate. What is really happening though is the science of friction. Mr. Fix had placed a cork in the painted bottle so when the string rubbed against it he was able to pull the bottle off the table.
        In my comment to Mr. Fix's post I mentioned what a great idea it was to use "magic" for demonstrations. I also expressed that using "magic" would be a great way to hook students into a lesson at the beginning of class. When concluding my comment I also expressed to Mr. Fix, that I bet he has full student engagement when he begins class with a discrepant/"magic" event.

Post and Comment #11 (04/25/14)

Screen shot of Darren Fix's blog post from ScienceFix. It is a picture from the lens of a microscope
       This week while exploring Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix, I came across a blog post from September 30, 2012 titled: Observing Microorganisms From Your School Using a Smartphone. In the post Mr. Fix mentioned that he purchased an adapter for his microscope that allows a smart phone to be attached to the microscope's lens (I totally want one for my future class!). He mentioned that the adapter works well; however, it requires a student who is pretty adept with their microscopy skills. He also proposed that students could simply use their smartphone for recording through the lens without the adapter (the quality would suffer though). Mr. Fix goes on to say that students could use their recorded data for microorganism identification and would be able to share their recorded data with their peers. Mr. Fix suggested that this would also be an easy way for a teacher to check what the student is viewing in the microscope without having to use the lens on 20+ microscopes.
       In the post, Mr. Fix also included a video outlining how to conduct the microorganisms lesson using microbes around your school's campus. He suggested finding a wet spot of grass on campus that doesn't drain quickly and sampling water, grass, and dirt from the area. Next, Mr. Fix said that the samples should be placed in a jar and covered with a plastic bag to prevent all of the water in your little "habitat" from evaporating. Then, the jar should be placed in the window so that it is able to get lots of natural sunlight for a few days. After a few days have passed your "habitat" should be full of microorganisms and algae for students to observe using microscopes and record using their smartphones. Mr. Fix even suggested that students try to identify "mystery" microbes and use slowed down playback (via an editing app) to get a better sense of the microbe's morphology.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's blog post, I mentioned that I really liked the adapter he used for his smart phone and microscope lens. I also expressed that in my undergraduate classes I frequently used my cell phone to record microorganisms through microscope lens. The recordings helped me study the microorganism in better detail and I was able to easily share my recordings with my peers.

C4T (Assigned by Dr. Strange) Peoplegogy # 9-11

Post and Comment #9

Picture of the Google Hangouts' logo
       This week while viewing Dr. Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy I noticed that he had not posted a recent blog post or episode of his new Dr. Will show, so I went searching for a post to read/view. While searching, I discovered a post from June 25, 2013 titled: Google Hangouts Training. In the blog post, Dr. Deyamport provided an embedded YouTube video of the same name that he created explaining how to use Google Hangouts and possible classroom applications. In the video Dr. Deyamport mentions that he prefers Google Hangouts to Skype because it is totally free and has more apps associated with it. He goes on to mention that Google Hangouts are a great way to collaborate, explore, connect, and engage people. Using Google Hangouts with a normal Gmail account, Dr. Deyamport said that you can have up to ten people "hanging out" at the same time (although he doesn't recommend this due to congestion, about 3-4 people max). If you have an "edu" Google account, Dr. Deyamport mentions that you can have up to fifteen people "hanging out" at one time. Dr. Deyamport shows viewers several ways to initiate a Google Hangout. He also provides information about the differences between a traditional "private Google Hangout" and an "On the Air" Google Hangout. Using an "On the Air" Google Hangout, your hangout is live and is automatically archived and uploaded to YouTube for you to post on different social media sites.
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's post, I mentioned how much I enjoy using Google Hangouts currently to connect with friends from undergrad who have since moved to other parts of the country. I also expressed how I think Google Hangouts would make an excellent addition to the classroom and could provide students with a chance to speak with experts on topics or connect with students from around the world.

Post and Comment #10

Screen shot of Dr. Deyamport's blog post
       This week while exploring Dr. Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy I came across his latest episode of the Dr. Will Show (Episode 3). In this episode titled: The Dr. Will Show (Episode #3) The PhD Game with Dr. Raq he interviewed a fellow Doctoral student named Dr. Raq. In the interview Dr. Raq explained that she started off her career as an elementary teacher for six years. She then moved away from elementary education to a position in San Diego as a District Resource Teacher. Now she currently works for an education consulting firm called EL Achieve and serves as the Director of Elementary Services. When asked what made her decide to pursue a doctoral degree, Dr. Raq responded that growing up she knew that she wanted to go to college and while in college she was recruited by a minority Sociology program that encourages students to apply for the PhD program. Dr. Raq also mentioned that she wanted a PhD because the more education you can gain, then the more doors will open for you. She explained that this is particularly true in the education field.
       Another question that was presented by Dr. Deyamport to Dr. Raq asked about choosing her graduate school and the requirements of the application process. In response to this question, Dr. Raq discussed that when looking for a school she selected institutions to apply to that had a history of strong education policy creation. She also stressed how important it was to her to attend a school that was truly diverse in terms of students and faculty. Dr. Raq also provided a tip about applying to a Doctoral program. She explained that it is important to have a strong Personal Statement, Resume, and Portfolio. She also mentioned that while some programs rely heavily on GRE scores, there are schools that only use the GRE as a formality and really focus on ACT/GPA scores.
       Next, Dr. Deyamport asked Dr. Raq what was most challenging about her Doctoral experience. Dr. Raq explained that one of the hardest parts of her studies was the process of researching, forming,writing, and defending her dissertation. She mentions that choosing the right path for yourself is sometimes the lonely path. She went on to mention that the year she wrote her dissertation was a lonely year where she had to make many social sacrifices in order to stay on track with her education. Dr. Raq also expressed that it is so important that you are completing your Doctorate because it is your passion, due to all of the tremendous sacrifices that you have to make. She also stressed the importance of taking time while writing your dissertation to "recharge your batteries".
       Later on in the interview, Dr. Deyamport asked Dr. Raq where the topic of her dissertation came from. She mentioned that she was influenced on her topic by her work (at the consulting firm) and by her adviser. Dr. Raq went on to mention that her work and school at this point was "meshed" together so it was easy to base her dissertation off of both experiences. Dr. Raq ended up studying and basing her dissertation on social and justice issues revolving around education reform for English Learner Initiatives. She talked about how, during her research, she wanted to see if how English was being taught in public schools discouraged English Learners to abandon their native language in the thoughts that English is a superior language.
       The final thing that Dr. Deyamport asked Dr. Raq was how long did it take her to write her dissertation. Dr. Raq responded that it took her about a year to write her dissertation. She mentioned that she started writing the introduction material while she was collecting data in order to keep the focus of her dissertation narrowed down to one central question. She expressed how exhausting this was, due to working full time while composing her dissertation. At the end of the interview, Dr. Raq provided a few "last minute" tips to viewers. She said to make sure that you have a friend who has undergone the Doctoral program who you can relate your experiences to. She also expressed the importance of purchasing and learning the APA writing guide.
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's blog I mentioned that I am new to education and to graduate school; however, at this point I have not ruled out the possibility of pursuing a Doctoral degree in my future.  I also expressed to Dr. Deyamport that his interview opened my eyes to the sacrifices that must be made while obtaining your Doctoral degree. I also expressed that I completely agree with Dr. Raq that you must be passionate about your dissertation. I followed up by mentioning that I cannot imagine making the sacrifices they have made for a topic or degree that I was not passionate about. I concluded my comment by thanking Dr. Deyamport and Dr. Raq for sharing their thoughts on obtaining a PhD.

Post and Comment #11

Screen shot of Dr. Will Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy, specifically his guest on his online show Alice Chen
       This week while exploring Dr. Will Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy, I stumbled across the fourth episode of his "Dr. Will Show" titled: Schoology with Alice Chen. In the video, Dr. Deyamport interviews Alice Chen. Chen is an English/Language Arts middle school teacher in Orange County, CA. Chen is also the school and district technology coach, along with being a Google Certified Teacher (and many other titles listed in the video). During the interview Dr. Deyamport asked Chen numerous questions about Schoology.
  • The first question Dr. Deyamport asked Chen was, "What is Schoology and how did you hear about it initially?". In response Chen explained that Schoology is a learning/management system that she randomly discovered on Twitter. 
  • Next, Dr. Deyamport asked Chen, "How is Schoology different from other elements such as Edmoto, Moodle, and Haiku? In response to the second question Chen mentioned that she first discovered the program a few years ago. She mentioned that at the time of discovery she wanted to find a learning/management program that was more user friendly than the Blackboard program. She looked initially at Haiku; however, it did not have an iPad app at the time (it does now though). Chen also looked into Edmoto, but found that it was lacking some of the features she desired in a learning/management tool.  Once she discovered Schoology, she found that it offered many of the features Chen had been looking for. Features such as: ability for students to turn in assignments, compose assignments online/upload files, ability to post to discussion forums, and impressive quizzing features. According to Chen, these are all good aspects to a rigorous digital extension of the classroom. Chen also noted that Schoology is available as an app for the Kindle Fire (a much cheaper alternative to an iPad for some students)!
  • Next, Dr. Deyamport asked Chen, "What are the benefits of using Schoology over other programs when transitioning a school to a one-to-one device program?" Chen responded that one of the usual goals of applying one-to-one devices is to "go paperless" in the classroom. Chen followed up by mentioning that a great learning/management program is essential and correlated to one-to-one device success. Chen mentioned that Schoology is a great choice because it allows for all student's work to be publicly viewed by the class. This leads to a greater student audience (not just the teacher) and great peer-to-peer feedback. Chen also expressed that because of the public nature of assignments, generally students display a higher quality of work in order to compete with peers. Another great aspect of Schoology is that it reduces that amount of papers teachers have to take home to grade. Educators are able to do many assessments online.
  • Next, Dr. Deyamport asked Chen, "How are you using Schoology and how has it enriched the lives of your students?" Chen responded by mentioning that her use of Schoology has increased peer-to-peer collaborations. She pointed out that students are driving the learning in her classroom. They are asking questions and are finding answers from their peers in discussion forums within the program.  Chen also mentioned that students are asking more critical questions and are developing "digital citizenship skills" such as maturity and formality when leaving posts for others. 
  • Last, Dr. Deyamport asked Chen, "What are some challenges that teachers transitioning from a traditional teaching model to Schoology would encounter?" Chen responded that teachers should be trained to use Schoology (otherwise they are being set up for failure). Chen also mentioned that students are not used to learning/management programs, so classroom examples will be a must for teachers. Chen proposed that a teach new to Schoology could make assignments due during class, and have the class all submit the assignment on their devices with he/she being there for guidance. Chen also mentioned that when starting out using Schoology, not to get stressed out! She pointed out that you should see what works for your students and constantly change your style (be flexible!). 
       At the end of the video Chen provided a tip for teachers using Schoology. Chen said that many teachers using learning/management programs in flipped classrooms often only provide a video and a quiz following the video instruction. Chen stressed that teachers should post these types of videos along with open-ended questions in discussion forums to promote this higher order thinking in students.
        In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's post, I confessed that until today I had never heard of the Schoology program. I also expressed that the program sounds like a wonderful way to get students to interact with one another and use critical thinking skills. I also mentioned that it seemed like a great way to literally "lighten the load" of teachers used to carrying home mountains of paperwork to grade. I also mentioned how much I liked Alice Chen's tip to post videos in the discussion forums section of the site to really assess student comprehension of the material. I forgot to add this to my comment; however, I also really like that the Schoology program is available for the iPad and Kindle Fire.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Can We Learning About Teaching From These Teachers?

       This week in EDM 510 my classmates and I were challenged to discover what we can potentially learn from six different educators.

Brian Crosby

A screen shot of Brian Crosby speaking at the TEDx conference
       As you have probably guessed, Brian Crosby was the first teacher I was assigned to. In the video of him from the TEDx Conference, Crosby shares that he is a fourth grade teacher in Nevada. He also mentions that the majority of the students he teaches come from poverty and are learning English as a second language. During his talk at the conference, Crosby provides a few examples of how these students are experiencing a "disconnect". Many of the students were unable to identify what city they lived in, state, country, and were unable to recall their own home address. Also during his talk, Crosby provides a detailed example of the types of activities that his students are preforming in his class. One activity this students completed was the "High Hopes Balloon". Crosby explained that leading up to the main experiment and after the experiment his students were blogging, creating wikis, and using pictures in order to share their experience with the world. He also showed the audience members how his class is able to accommodate a child with cancer (who is unable to attend school) using a Skype or Google Hangouts type of application.
      One of the main things I learned from Crosby's talk was the importance of providing our students with an audience. The students in Crosby's class were able to connect and receive feedback from people all over the world through their use of current technology. I also learned that we should be empowering our students to actively seek out knowledge using 21st Century tools. These 21st Century tools open up so many doors for our students and really allow them to connect with peers on a global scale.

Paul Andersen

A screen shot of Paul Andersen explaining the Blended Learning Cycle
       The second teacher I was assigned to in this assignment was Paul Andersen. Paul Andersen is an AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana. In his video titled: Blended Learning Cycle he explains how he has combined the components of Blended Learning and the Learning Cycle to create a new entity, the Blended Learning Cycle. After watching Andersen's video, I have learned a new, great technique for teaching students that also involves PBL. Being a science teacher, I understand that initial open-ended questions are essential for "hooking" students into a lesson. I also liked how Andersen incorporated podcast videos that he created into his daily lessons and that the students were responsible for viewing them independently.

Mark Church

A screen shot of Mark Church disscussing his headline classroom technique
       The third teacher I was assigned to this week was Mark Church. Mr. Church is a sixth grade teacher at the International School Amsterdam. In the video Church mentions that his students have just began learning about the origin of the human species. He then explains his "Headline" method. In his method students are branched into small groups and required to come up with a single headline that sums up the topic. After coming up with a headline the students are then required to present their headline to the class and say a few words behind their headline choice. The headlines are then posted around the room until the students have finished their studies on the topic. Once that occurs the students are asked to modify their headline in order to improve it based on the information they learned in class. I had never heard of this method, so I am excited to add the "headline method" to my growing list of ways to engage my students, promote collaboration, and critical thinking. I really liked that Church has his students go back and reflect on their headline after learning the assigned lesson.

Sam Pane

Screen shot of Sam Pane's video about using comic book art to teach a lesson
       The fourth teacher I was assigned to this week was Sam Pane. Mr. Pane teaches fifth grade at an Omaha, Nebraska public school. In his video, Pane talks about how he teaches his fifth grade students about internet responsibility and safety. In Mr. Pane's classroom, his students create comics in order to illustrate internet safety. Students are allowed to create their own comic book super hero and then they include pictures of themselves as well in the comic. Then Mr. Pane requires his students to go to teach others laptop to see and critique their super hero comic. Personally, I love comics and super heroes so this application for the classroom really excited me. I think the activity would be extremely engaging for students! From this video, Mr. Pane demonstrates that you can use integration of super heroes and comics as a way for students to create unique and creative presentations. I also liked that Mr. Pane modeled the new comic application and then let his students figure it out on their own. I agree with many teachers that we shouldn't be teaching our students technology, only quickly modeling how we would like it used in our classroom.

Dean Shareski

Screen shot of Dean Shareski's video from youtube about Project Based Learning
       The fifth teacher I was assigned to this week was Dean Shareski. In his video he shows how three Canadian teachers combined their classrooms to create an excellent environment for PBL. The three classes that were combined were: Canadian Literature, History, and Data Processing. By combining the classes, these three teachers expressed how much more additional time they have to give students feedback on their work. The combination of the classrooms and curriculum also allows for more time for the students to peer-evaluate one another. One important idea, I believe, as educators we can take from this video is that you should never be afraid to try new things (you never know which idea might work best for your students!). By taking a "leap of faith" and trying a new approach to teaching the three subjects, these teachers have created a single class that has yielded much success.

The Teachers of Roosevelt Elementary School

Screen Shot of Roosevelt Elementary's Project based Learning program
       The sixth teacher I was assigned to wasn't just one teacher, but an entire elementary school. The school is called Roosevelt Elementary and is located in Redwood City, California. In Roosevelt Elementary, PBL is a school-wide program. As educators, we can learn a great deal from PBL programs like the one found at Roosevelt Elementary. These programs lead to increased student engagement and more importantly the opportunity for students to learn the material being taught in an individualized way. I believe, that it is important that we strive to implement school-wide PBL programs like this one in more of the schools, all around the country.

Teaching Digital Natives Review

       I had a very difficult time this week working on my video review for Marc Prensky's book Teaching Digital Natives:Partnering For Real Learning. The book was fantastic, but I had a difficult time narrowing down what to talk about. For the book to only be about two hundred pages, Prensky really covers a lot of topics. I also fell victim to something my students often do...forgetting part of the directions. With that said, I have two videos I would like to share with you today! One video is an in depth discussion of Prensky's book that my classmate T'keyan and I collaborated on that lasts about 46 minutes. I am also providing a link to my greatly narrowed down review of Teaching Digital Natives that falls within the posted guidelines.  Please feel free to watch both videos! I was skeptical about this book initially and now I'm very thankful to have read it (and added it to my growing collection of teaching books).

Friday, April 18, 2014

C4K #7-8

 Post and Comment #7

       This week in EDM 510, I was assigned three students from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. Two students are in Miss Walters/Mrs. Barks' class (Lyi Sorn and Aneelis) and the third student is in Miss King's class (Tom). 

Lyi Sorn

A screenshot of Lyi Sorn's blog
       This first student I was assigned to this week was Lyi Sorn in Miss Walters/Mrs. Barks' class. In Lyi Sorn's most recent post from April 14, 2014 she told the fable of Maui and the sun. In the fable she discussed that the sun was moving too fast and people were having a hard time getting all of the work they needed to get done during the day. To solve this problem Maui and his brothers approached the sun at night and tied a rope to the sun and bashed the sun until it slowed down. In the end of the story the people were able to go back to work and get more things accomplished due to longer days.
       In my comment to Lyi Sorn, I introduced myself and mentioned what a great job she did on this post. I expressed to Lyi Sorn that I enjoyed her story and that I am glad that the days are not super short (because I do not like working at night in the dark!). At the end of my comment I reiterated what a great job she did on the post and I told her to keep up the good work.


Screen shot of Aneelis' blog page
       The second student I was assigned to this week was Aneelis who is also in Miss Walters/Mrs. Barks' class. In Aneelis' post he mentioned that he and his classmates went swimming at the GI pools. In his post he provided a narration using the application Vocaroo and his post also contained a picture of the students practicing kicking in the pool. In his post, Aneelis said that the pool was nice and warm. He also mentioned that some of the students swam fast and that they had a lot of fun.
       In my comment to Aneelis' post, I introduced myself and mentioned what a great job he did on this post. I also mentioned how much I liked his narration using Vocaroo. I told Aneelis that I love to swim and that I used to be a lifeguard before I started college. I also told Aneelis that as a lifeguard I taught boys and girls how to swim and dive into the pools. In the end of my comment I reiterated what a great job he did on his post and I encouraged him to keep up the good work.


Screen shot of Tom's blog page
       The third student I was assigned to this week was Tom in Miss King's class. In his post Tom wrote several sentences about an event that the school put on called Fiafia night. In his short paragraph, Tom talked about getting ready for the event, racing up to the stage, and jumping around on the stage. Tom also included a picture of the students on the stage having a good time.
        In my comment to Tom's post I introduced myself and then expressed how much I enjoyed all of his sentences about Fiafia night. I also told Tom that it sounded like he had a great time and I encouraged him to keep up the good work.

Post and Comment #8

       This week Dr. Strange assigned me three additional students from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. Two of my assigned students are in Miss Lavakula's class and my third student is from Mrs. She's class.

Shyla Lee

A screenshot of Shyla Lee's blog page
      The first student's blog post that I read belonged to Shyla Lee in Miss Lavakula's class. In her post Fiafia2014 she discussed what a wonderful time she had during Fiafia night. Shyla Lee explained that she was dressed in a traditional Indian dress, complete with twenty five bracelets. Shyla Lee also described the acts that she enjoyed the best and provided reasons why she liked the particular acts. In her blog post, Shyla Lee provided a Vimeo video of her group performing their dance at Fiafia night.
       In my comment to Shyla Lee I introduced myself and told Shyla that it looked like she had a wonderful time at Fiafia night. I went on to express that I loved her performance and I think she did a wonderful job creating her costume. I also mentioned that I found her description of her costume to be very descriptive. I concluded my comment by restating what a wonderful job she did writing this blog post.


A screen shot of Russel's blog post
       The second student I was assigned to this week was Russel. He is also a student in Miss Lavakula's class. In his blog post titled "Russel Fiafia" he included a video of his performance that night with his classmates. Underneath the video Russel mentioned that he thought his group did well. He also said that his group was the "Kapa Haka group".
       In my comment to Russel's blog post I initially introduced myself. I also mentioned that it looked like he and his group had a wonderful time at Fiafia night. I also expressed that I enjoyed his performance and that he did a good job on his blog post.


A screen shot of Danielle's blog post
       The third student I was assigned to this week was Danielle, who is a student in Mrs. She's class. In her blog post titled Danielle's Camp Story she provided a picture that she had drawn and colored of herself camping. Danielle also provided a video in her post explaining what she and her fellow classmates did while camping. She said that they ate lots of yummy food and went swimming during their camping trip.
       In my comment to Danielle's blog post after I introduced myself, I expressed how impressed I am with her drawing. I also mentioned that from her video it sounded like she had a really fun time. I told Danielle that I enjoy camping. I went on to ask if she liked to camp. I also mentioned that I like to hear the sounds that the animals and bugs make at night, along with the sounds of the wind blowing the trees. In the end of my comment I reiterated what a great job she did on this post.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog Post #8: Anthony Capps & Dr. Strange Response to Questions

Clip-art picture illustrating Problem Based Learning
       For this week's assignment Dr. Strange posted an audio recording of a discussion between Anthony Capps and himself. Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher in Gulf Shores, Alabama and is a Project-Based Learning guru. Earlier in the semester we were introduced to Mr. Capps through a series of informative video discussions pertaining to Project Based Learning (PBL). This week we were provided with an audio discussion between Dr. Strange and Mr. Capps that answered a few questions pertaining to PBL. I was able to learn a great deal from their discussion. I now know that when faced with students who seem uninterested with a project, I should make sure that the driving question is relevant to my students. I should also make sure the students have a variety of options to choose from (give the students both voice and choice!)and make sure that the students' projects are "chunked" in a way that helps to limit overwhelming feelings. After listening to their discussion, I also realize that it is a great idea to have your projects involve the community in one way or another. I think it is fantastic that Mr. Capps is integrating Rosetta Stone into his class project and Spanish speaking minorities in the community.
       Another important thing I learned from Mr. Capps and Dr. Strange's discussion was tips on how to get started with PBL in my classroom. Mr. Capps let us know that starting off, we should make sure to pace ourselves and create time for PBL every day. He also mentioned that we should rarely have to teach the technology to our students. He proposed instead that we should model the technology for our students, because in many cases they will know more about the application than we will. It is also important to make the students involved in the PBL process. By the end of teaching with PBL methods, students will be able to set up there own PBL projects.
       The last thing that I learned from the audio discussion was from the perspective of an administrator. Mr. Capps expresses that PBL is not just limited to one classroom, but it needs to be implemented by the entire school. Mr. Capps' process of setting up PBL in a school reminded me of my C4T teacher, Dr. Will Deyamport. Dr. Deyamport suggested a similar process to integrate technology into classrooms. They both suggest that, as an administrator, you initiate the program with a small group of volunteer teachers. From there you should spread out to more teachers and expand your initial group of volunteers. The last step you should do is extend the program to all teachers at the school or in the school system.
       Overall,  Project Based Learning seems like an effective method that certainly increases student engagement and excites them to begin daily lessons. With the plethora of  information that has been provided by Mr. Capps and Dr. Strange, I am excited about implementing PBL into my daily science classroom lessons!

Monday, April 7, 2014

ALEX Assignment

Picture of the Alabama Learning Exchange website emblem 

       This week in EDM 510, my classmates and I were challenged to explore the free online resource: ALEX. ALEX stands for the Alabama Learning Exchange and it stores everything from lesson plans, Alabama Courses of Study, and even Professional Development! On my Website I have uploaded six PDF files:
  1. 2x Alabama Content Standards I found (7th and 8th Grade Science)
  2. 1x Alabama Technology Education Standards I found
  3. 2x Lessons Plans out of the Five I found (7th and 8th Grade Science)
  4. 1x PDF of my Personal Workspace with all of my Lesson Plans (5 Lesson Plans Total)

C4T (Assigned By Dr. Strange) Peoplegogy #5-8

Post Summary and My Comment #5 (03/16/14)

Cover of Tracy Brisson's Book Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter
       This week while visiting Dr. Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy, I stumbled upon a post from August 19, 2013 titled: Peoplegogy TV: Interview with Tracy Brisson. This post contained a video interview that was initially live-streamed between Dr. Deyamport and Tracy Brisson (author, recruiter, education consultant). In the interview, Brisson is promoting for her new book Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter: How to Create an Extraordinary Resume & Hook Your Dream Job and provides several helpful tips for teachers looking for a new job position. Brisson explained that in today's teaching field there is a high number of teachers; however, there are limited job openings. With that said, Brisson expressed the importance of a competitive, extraordinary resume.

A Few Helpful Resume Tips From a Teacher Recruiter

  • Provide Details
    • What Grade do you teach?
    • What is your certification?
    • What are your accomplishments?
  • Your Niche
    •  What is your specialty?
      • Discover this your first year teaching!
        • Sign up for a committee
        • Be an extracurricular sponsor
        • Try new things!
    • Are you a "jack-of-all-trades"?
  • Resume Formats
    • More than 1 year experience teaching
      •  Lead resume with your experience
      • Follow with your education
    • Alternative Masters/Career Changer
      • Lead with your education
      • Follow with your experience
  • Follow Application Directions
    • Always attach resume as a PDF document
      • Also print off a "hard copy"
    • Submit the Application to the correct online address
      • Do not bypass application process and directly email employer
        • Can put you behind others in line who followed directions
  • Resume "Don'ts"
    • Do not be vague
      • Provide specific details
      • Do not make employer have to search for information
    • Do not forget to include your certification information
      • Wastes employers time searching for your information
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport, I expressed how awesome his posted video was. I also let him know that I will be searching for a teaching job this time next year, so all of this information will be helpful when sprucing up my old resume. I also told Dr. Deyamport that I found the information about listing your education before experience very helpful as an Alternative Masters student with limited teaching experience. This was a fantastic video and I made sure to post it on my Twitter account. I also ordered Tracy Brisson's book off of Amazon after watching this interview.

Post Summary and My Comment #6 (03/23/2014)

Collage of words pertaining to a personal learning network
       In this week's blog post from Dr. Deyamport's blog: Peoplegogy he posted a video from his new Web Show Dr. Will. The video titled: Dr. Will (Episode #1) "The Connected Educator" Dr. Deyamport interviewed Canadian educator Dana Ariss. In the video Dr. Deyamport asked Dana Ariss a series of questions pertaining to being a "Connected Educator".  In the video Dana Ariss expresses that in order to be a "Connected Educator" you must be a teacher who is  willing to reach out to the world to connect with colleagues and an educator who has a drive for learning new methods and techniques. Ariss went on to explain that she first started on the road to becoming a "Connected Educator" after hearing George Couros speak at a conference in her district in Canada.  She said that she was then inspired to create a professional twitter account and started following teachers from around the world. When asked by Dr. Will about how being a "Connected Educator" has changed her practices, Ariss expressed that through twitter, she has now been able to get feedback from teachers world-wide. She also mentioned that her students were now able to get peer feedback from around the globe as well. In the video Ariss also mentioned that she has a education blog and she regularly posts about her classroom's activities. Ariss also said that her students have blogs as well for connecting with other students. The biggest piece of advice Ariss had to offer about becoming a "Connected Educator" was to create a Twitter account. She said to take it easy at first and watch what other educators are posting. She also mentioned that sometimes you will find ideas that are perfect for you to implement in your class and other times you will discover ideas that do not work for you.
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's blog post, I mentioned that I am also working on becoming a "Connected Educator" by creating a professional twitter account (which I provided a link to). I also mentioned how I am learning to utilize blogs for my future as an educator (I have already supplied Dr. Deyamport with a link to my blog). I personally thought that this was an informative video and I am looking forward to the next video in his series.

 Post Summary and My Comment #7 (03/31/2014)

Picture containing words related to education, professional development
       This week while exploring Dr. Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy, I came across the second episode of his new web series The Dr. Will Show. In this episode of The Dr. Will Show, titled: Flipped Professional Development, Dr. Deyamport interviews technology specialist Jennifer Carry, at Ransom Everglades in Miami. In the interview Dr. Deyamport asked Carry a few questions regarding her implementation of Flipped PD in her school. One such question presented to Carry asks "What brought her into Flipping PD?". Carry expressed that she began to Flip PD, out of necessity at first. She went on to say that the short instructional videos she makes for teachers, allows her more free time and the teachers have seemed receptive of them. According to Carry, one thing that teachers like about Flipped PD is the accessibility. With some of the training on video, teachers are able to access the information from any location and are able to re-watch the information 24/7. These videos can also be shown to students when teaching how to use Google Apps and other tools on the web. One important thing that Carry pointed out was that Flipped PD only needs to be used as a supplement to traditional professional development and should not replace the one-on-one contact during training sessions.
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's post, I mentioned that I personally love the idea of Flipped PD. The aspects of it I like the most are: the 24/7 accessibility, the ability to re-visit the training, and the empowerment it gives teachers. As a teacher if you have the information provided in a video, you do not have to call or email anyone for help. In this case you can just watch a training video and solve the problem yourself. As a self-sufficient person, I particularly like this aspect of Flipped PD. I also agreed with Jennifer Carry when she mentioned that Flipped PD should only be used as a supplemental resource. While I am completely in love with the idea of Flipped PD, I also know that one-on-one contact in training sessions is also extremely important. This holds especially true for individuals who are not as self-sufficient or may be technologically inexperienced. This was another great video, and I am looking forward to the next episode!

Post Summary and My Comment #8 (04/07/14)

Picture of many magnets with different words printed on them
       This week while viewing Dr. Deyamport's blog Peoplegogy I came across an older blog post from July 8, 2013 (Dr. Deyamport hasn't posted the third episode of his "Dr. Will show"). The older blog post titled: Peoplegogy TV: Your One Sentence, contained a video of a Google Hangout between Dr. Deyamport, Jerry Blumengarten, and Jaime Vandergrift. In the video, Dr. Deyamport asked Vandergrift what led her to write her "One Sentence" blog post. Vandergrift explained that her "One Sentence" post was about writing a sentence (similar to a mission statement) that defines what your goals and beliefs are. She went on to discuss that she was inspired to write her "One Sentence" after accumulating years of experiences and professional growth. Vandergrift also mentioned that your "one Sentence" should not be static, but it should grow and change along with you. Her "One Sentence" focuses on creating teacher leadership and change through the application of digital apps. When asked about his views on the "One Sentence", Blumengarten mentioned that when he was a teacher he used to require his students to write out their personal learning objectives for the year. He then discussed how his students would periodically look back on those objectives to see what needs to be modified throughout the school year.
       In the video, Dr. Deyamport also asks Blumengarten what led him to decide to catalog information on the internet. Mr. Blumengarten expressed that after he taught in a classroom for twenty years he moved on to become a librarian. As a librarian, Blumengarten wanted to create a website that was a "one-stop" place for parents, students, and faculty to discover information. By doing this Blumengarten is providing easy access to resources and networking for individuals.
       Later on in the interview Dr. Deyamport, asked both guests if they believed you should be a generalist or have a specific niche when developing your "One Sentence"? Vandergrift mentioned that by having a niche, you are more competitive as an education technologist; however, she is more of a generalist and relies on her PLN (Personal Learning Network) in order to discover specific answers to the aspects of the application she is unfamiliar with. Vandergrift expressed that wanting to create change in education by utilizing all apps at your disposal is still a powerful "One Sentence". Blumengarten agreed with Vandergrift and expressed that you don't have to be an expert at something; however, you should strive to be knowledgeable in all areas. He went on to back up Vandergrift's previous statement that you can figure out what you don't know by utilizing your network of fellow technologist and educators. The last thing that was discussed in this video was to use your blog to help you define your "One Sentence". By looking at your blog you can see what your posting trends are and you will be able to narrow down what your niche is.
       In my comment to Dr. Deyamport's post, I mentioned that as a new educator I am excited about gaining the experiences and professional growth that will help me define my "One Sentence". I also mentioned that I found this video to be very informative and that in the future I am very interested in becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blog Post #7 "21st Century Learning and Communication Tools"

       This week in EDM 510 my class was challenged to find three 21st Century Learning and Communication Tools that we have not already discussed in class. After this semester is finished I will have to rely on my personal learning network (PLN), conferences, and personal exploration in order to discover the newest classroom tools. This time next year, I will be teaching middle school science (Life Science or Physical Science), so I have looked up some unique tools to aid me and help increase student engagement in my lessons.

A screen shot of Poppet's website
        The first tool I want to discuss is Popplet. Popplet is a free online resource that can be used on your computer or on iPads. It is a brainstorming tool that can help students visually place together facts, images, and even videos. In Popplet, students can place "Popples" that include information relevant to the topic. These Popples, in turn, can be linked together in order to expand and organize ideas (this can lead to utilization of critical thinking skills by students). Popplets can be shared via social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to promote collaborative work and to further encourage student creativity. Popplets, that you create, can even be embedded in your blog! I would utilize this tool after asking an open-ended question during class discussion. For example: What makes a Radiometer spin? Students would be encouraged to post Popples using the Smart Board or iPads that provide facts and other media related to Radiometers until we can develop a good hypothesis. I chose this particular tool because it presents a fun way to organize ideas when participating in class discussion. It also helps to promote student engagement during discussions due to its interactive Popples. Here is a video that will further explain how to use Popplet in the classroom!

2. Prezi

A screenshot of the main webpage of the website called Prezi
       The second tool I want to discuss is Prezi. Much like Popplet, Prezi is a free online resource that can also be used on a computer and an iPad. Prezi is also similar to Google Slides, in that it is "cloud-based" and is presentation software. This means that the presentations that you create will not be saved to your computer, but to an online database. Prezi operates in a manner very similar to Google Slides; however, it provides themes and transitions that are very unique and attention grabbing. Prezi can be shared through social media as well for collaboration and creative feedback. Prezi would be a great alternative to traditional (worn-out) Power Point lessons. I especially like Prezi, because of its unique backgrounds. Like other presentation software, you can incorporate videos, images, and even audio into your presentation. I plan on using Prezi when I am teaching my students a new topic. The presentations are designed in a way that, I believe will help keep students' attention better than Google Slides or Power Point.

Screen shot of the homepage of the website called Wonderopolis

       The third tool I would like to discuss is Wonderopolis. Wonderopolis is a specially designed website that provides intriguing questions of the day and a database of other intriguing questions. Wonderopolis also provides in depth answers to these questions and allows for the exploration of related topics. One very important aspect of Wonderopolis is that its content is aligned to the national Common Core Standards and STEM Educational Quality Framework. Using the website you can also look up questions and topics that relate to what your class is learning. I would use Wonderopolis in my classroom daily. I think it would be a great way to start each class (like a digital bellringer) that would promote critical thinking and lead to powerful classroom discussions. I also think it would be a great idea to ask students at the beginning of the year what they want to learn in my science course. Using Wonderopolis I can then help my students learn science topics that interests them, but doesn't necessarily "fit" into the curriculum. Getting our students to ask questions is key to helping them truly comprehend the material being taught. I LOVE this website!


  1. Tools for 21st Century Teacher
  2. Popplet
  3. Prezi
  4. Wonderopolis

C4T (Continuous, Chosen By Me ScienceFix) #5-8

Blog Post Summary and My Comment #5 (03/16/14)
Picture of the Planets of our solar system in scale to one another
       This week while viewing Mr. Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix I came upon a blog post from May 30, 2013 titled: Solar System Scale Model. In his post Mr. Fix explains that you never see our solar system drawn to scale (size of planets and distance) in textbooks. He goes on to explain that this is because the pages in our textbooks aren't large enough for this. In the post Mr. Fix also provides a video using Google Maps to show the size of the planets and distance from one another and the sun by using the "My Maps" feature on the website. In the post, Mr. Fix discusses how his class then walks the distance from the school to demonstrate to the class how far the planets are from one another using a scale. This is a great way to get students out of the classroom and engaged in the activity. Included in the post were also downloadable handouts for teachers to use when teaching (using the Google Maps scale) and also handouts for the students with questions pertaining to the lesson.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's post, I expressed what a great activity this is for students. I also told Mr. Fix that I would have never thought to have used Google Maps for this activity. This is a great way to utilize technology in the classroom as well as provide an activity that students will be interested in (all students like to go outside during class). I also made sure to download both of his handouts for the lesson, because I am definitely interested in presenting the solar system this way. At the end of my comment I mentioned that I would be sharing this activity with my fellow teachers and since viewing it I have posted it on my twitter account.  

Blog Post Summary and My Comment #6 (03/23/14)

A picture of a Radiometer
       This week while browsing Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix I came across a video blog post from April 30, 2013 titled: What Causes the Different Spinning Rates of a Radiometer?. In the post Mr. Fix provides a brief introduction to the experiment and then a video of the actual experiment. In the intro Mr. Fix talks about how many students believe that the Radiometer that sits in his classroom window is powered by heat. Other students believe that the Radiometer is powered by the amount of light hitting the device. The experiment conducted by Mr. Fix aims to "shed some light" on the matter and provide a perfect opportunity for an engaging class discussion. It is also important to note that Mr. Fix employees the use of a smart phone for collecting light data in the experiment (I would have never thought to use a smart phone for data collection!). In the experiment video, Mr. Fix shows the Radiometer in the windowsill of his classroom at different times of the day (8am, 9am, 9:42am, 12:02pm, 12:56pm, 3:00pm, 3:32pm, and 3:41pm). Each time he records the light intensity (from his smart phone reading) and the temperature in degrees Celsius. At the end of the experiment there is a definite correlation between light intensity and number of spins per second; as well as the temperature and number of spins per second. Mr. Fix then proposes the question, "What do you think?".  I believe that the light intensity plays a larger role in the number of spins per second on the Radiometer.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's post I expressed what a cool experiment this was to watch (I can only imagine the levels of engagement he gets from his students!). I also mentioned that I would have never thought to use a smart phone application to measure light intensity. I also shared with Mr. Fix that every week when I watch his experiments for EDM 510, I get more and more excited about teaching my own Science class next year!

Blog Post Summary and My Comment #7 (03/31/14)
Diagram of the science behind a working lava lamp
       This week while viewing Mr. Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix, I discovered a post from March 12, 2013 titled: Differences in Lava Lamp Activity. In the post, Mr. Fix discusses how his two classroom lava lamps provide a distraction for his students and also a point of fascination for them. Mr. Fix decided to create a video of the two lava lamps, exploring possible differences between the two of them. In the video, one lava lamp is visibly smaller than the other one (we will call it LL#1). LL#1 is also running on a smaller 25 Watt bulb, compared to the larger lava lamp (LL#2) which runs on a 40 Watt bulb. In the video it is obvious that LL#1 is "more active" than LL#2.  In the video, Mr. Fix presents several questions as to why this might be.
  1. Could the differences be due to the wattage of the bulb in the two lamps?
  2. Could the differences in activity be due to the size of the metal heating element at the bottom of each lamp?
  3. Could the mass of the "lava" play a part in lava lamp activity?
In the video Mr. Fix does not provide a explanation for lava lamp activity. He does provide an excellent opportunity for student-based inquiry. By providing specific open-ended questions, Mr. Fix's students can then use critical thinking skills to try to solve the question.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's post, I mentioned that I may have to find my old lava lamps from my high school days to place in my classroom. I also mentioned that I like how the central theme of all of his videos are open-ended questions that prompt students to really "jump in" and utilize critical thinking skills. This could also provide a great Bellringer for my students when introducing heat transfers!

Blog Post Summary and My Comment #8 (04/05/14)

Picture of ornaments created using pipe cleaners and a Borax solution
       This week while viewing Mr. Darren Fix's blog ScienceFix, I came across a post from December 27, 2012 titled: Borax Crystal Ornaments. In the post Mr. Fix mentions that as one of his required standards, his students are required to learn the repeating patterns of crystalline lattice structure. Mr. Fix also said that his students created these ornaments before the Christmas break and when they return they will get into the "nitty gritty" science aspect of them. In his post, he also includes a video of the experiment. In the video he provides a time lapse of the borax crystals forming on the pipe cleaners and the final product.
       In my comment to Mr. Fix's post, I mentioned that this particular experiment is a classic! I can remember doing this experiment as a middle school student. I also expressed to Mr. Fix that I believe my mother still puts the ornament on the Christmas tree each year. In my comment, I told Mr. Fix that this experiment is not only fun, but it also provides a physical example of crystalline structure that students can hold and examine (Plus it is a great gift for Mom and Dad!). I also asked Mr. Fix how he created his video time lapse. I asked if his camera had a special feature for the lapse or if he had to physically take one picture every thirty seconds for 5 hours. This was another great experiment from Mr. Fix!

C4T (Rotating) #5-8

Summary and Comment #5 (03/16/14)
David Sladkey's Student Engagement Wheel picture
       This week I have been assigned to Mr. David Sladkey's blog Reflections of a High School Math Teacher. The blog post that I have been assigned to read is titled: Having Students Teach the Class: The Student Engagement Wheel and is all about (as the title suggests) student engagement. In the post Sladkey explains that the Student Engagement Wheel is a way for his students to teach each other the material in each lesson. Students can accomplish this by: explaining a lesson to the class, working in groups, working in labs, and many more ways listed on his Engagement Wheel pictured above. Sladkey expresses that as teachers we should see ourselves as facilitators by letting students explain and teach each other.
        In my comment to Mr. Sladkey's post, I revealed to him that I am new to the education field and a student in EDM 510 at the University of South Alabama. I also mentioned to Mr. Sladkey that as an education student I have learned the importance of student engagement during (and after) lessons. I also expressed that his Student Engagement Wheel provides great ways to get students actively participating in class. This wheel will be very helpful when I start teaching next year!  

Summary and Comment #6 (03/23/14)

A photograph of a man with a camera
       This week I was assigned to read and comment on a blog titled:Jenny's Learning Journey by Jenny She in New Zealand. The post that I read was titled: You Got Snapped and was about a clever student in Mrs. She's class taking a picture of her while another student was reading to her. The blog post touched on a few different topics. In the post Mrs. She mentioned that she was teaching her second graders that day how to be cyber-smart and courteous when commenting on the web (amazing that students are learning all of this at such an early age!). Mrs. She also pointed out that you never know who is listening or recording you while you teach, so it is always important to do your best when teaching.
       In my comment to Mrs. She's post, I mentioned that I think it is amazing how many students are more tech savvy than their teachers. I also mentioned how great I think it is that Mrs. She is teaching her students at an early age how to be cyber-smart and courteous on the web. I also pointed out that I agree with her that the comments you leave for students or classmates should be positive and encouraging. Towards the end of my comment I mentioned that in today's world it is important to always give 100% when teaching, because you never do know who will be listening/watching/recording you!

Summary and Comment #7 (03/30/14) 
A picture of half a heart and a brain

       This week I have been assigned to visit Angela Maiers' self-titled blog. In her post Increase Learning By Securing Students' Hearts she discusses three simple ways you can show your students that you care about them. She refers to it as the 2-5-2 method and mentions that it should be utilized on a daily basis. In Maiers' description of the method, she first says you should greet each student by name at the door when they enter and make positive remarks about several students within the first 2 minutes of class. Maiers also says that you should be sure to commend at least 5 students on their contribution to the classroom lesson/discussion. The last part of the 2-5-2 method is to take at least 2 minutes at the end of class to stop and reflect with the class on what we learned for the day. Maiers expresses that by showing students that we care, they are more likely to let you push them to their limits and succeed in your class.
        In my comment to Angela Maiers' blog post, I mentioned that I am a Masters of Secondary Education student at the University of South Alabama. I also expressed to Maiers that I am new to education, but I completely agree with her post. I mentioned that I can clearly remember a few teachers in my elementary/high school days who stood out for making students feel special and welcome. I also told Maiers that I want to always strive to show my students how much I value them by employing simple, yet powerful methods like her 2-5-2 method.

 Summary and Comment #8 (04/05/14)

Picture of students in New Jersey working on renovating their school
       This week I have been assigned to John Spencer's blog Education Rethink. In his latest post titled: Changing What We Can Control, Spencer discusses some aspects of school that students dislike the most. Spencer mentions that he dislikes the excessive student testing. He also provides several aspects about school that students have mentioned they dislike the most.
  • Bad substitute teachers
  • Changing in front of everyone in P.E.
  • Being forced to shower in front of group in P.E.
  • Bad cafeteria food
  • Bathroom stalls that don't lock
  • Excessive, meaningless homework
  • Not enough time to socially interact with fellow students
  • Uncomfortable desk/No constructive movement allowed
  • Adults who won't apologize when they are wrong
  • Adults who use harsh words when critiquing students 
       Spencer mentions that some things we should try to change, like excessive testing; however, we should focus on the things that we can change. As educators we can make an effort to make small changes that will make a huge difference in our students perspective of school.

Things like:
  • Not calling on "bad" stubstitues
  • Creating a space for students to shower/change privately in P.E.
  • Student input on cafeteria menu
  • Placing locks on bathroom stalls
  • Eliminating meaningless homework
  • Allowing a "break time" for students to interact with one another
  • Purchasing new desks and allowing for more constructive student movement
  • As teachers, recognizing and apologizing when we are wrong
  • Not breaking our students down by using harsh words. Instead use constructive words that encourage students to build from their errors!
       In my comment to Spencer's post, I mentioned that I am new to teaching and that I can remember how the "little things" made a big impact on me as a student. I also agreed with Spencer that there are many things that we cannot easily change; however, we should make sure that we do change the things that are within our power to modify. This was a fantastic post and it is always important to keep in touch with how your student's perceive school.