Sunday, October 26, 2014

Project #12 A

Blog Post #10

a screenshot of Dr. Strange's Video
What can we learn from Mrs. Cassidy? In her video Little Kids...Big Potential, she shows how she uses technology in her classroom. As a pioneer of technology in her workplace, Cassidy shows us new and unique ways to use technology. While the use of SMARTboards and blogs are common, Cassidy shows how her students expand their personal learning networks through the use of Skype and Wikis. I found it interesting that she used Nintendo DS's and NintenDogs to teach her students responsibility and teamwork. In Dr. Strange's videos, Interviewing with Mrs. Cassidy, he and Cassidy discuss the importance of technology in the classroom. As future teachers, we need to understand that technology is not going anywhere. Cassidy suggest to start with what you like. If you're interested in videos, start with Youtube or if you like writing, start with blogging. She mentions that building your personal learning network is another great place to start.

As far as techniques go, I would take advantage of the technology available to me and my students. The SMARTboard is capable of so many activities as I learned this past week. Some problems I could run into is internet safety or parents who do not want their child being on the internet. If this happens, I will try my best to change the parents mind by showing them just how safe using the internet can be when used properly. Benefits I would reap by following in Cassidy's steps would be that my students might be more engaged. My classroom will be a place of fun and education. Students won't feel as if they're being suffocated by pens and paper and hoards of information.

C4K #2

1. Doko Organish by Nicolas

Nicolas collaborated with another classmate to produce an art project for International Dot Day. He and his classmate drew a picture of an orange volcano with a rainbow above it. It also had lava coming from it. The final product was neat. I told him I really enjoyed his painting.

2. Blogging Challenge #2 by Zach D.

Zach D. makes complaints. His complaints ranged from hats to class pets, and in the middle there was study hall. His post was entertaining and very relevant to how I felt when I was in his grade. What's the problem hoodies? They really do just keep your head warm. I told him that he made some good points when talking about hats and the class pet. At the end of my comment I told him when he gets to college he won't have to worry about the no hat rule. I also mentioned that when I was in school, hoodies were seen as a safety hazard because it obscured our identity.

3. All About Me by Deven.

Deven shares some information with us. He has two sisters and brother. His brother is "nice and crazy." His sisters are just nice. I like that his favorite animal is a duck. I shared some information with him in my comment. I told him I had a sister and that I wanted a dog. I asked him if he had ever fed the ducks in a park. I have yet to hear back from him.

4. Hats by Raewen Eva.

The title of this blog post is not "Hats." Raewen did not have a title for her post. In her post she explains why hats are important. Hats protect our skin on a sunny day. If we don't wear hats, we will get sunburnt. Her school makes her wear a red hat outside. If they do not, they get in trouble. I asked her if she did research on why hats were important or if this information was from her own observation. She made good points about why hats are important. I suggested she use sunscreen as well to prevent sunburn.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Post #9

key concepts of project based learing written on blocks that are surrounded a cartoon baby

1. Seven Essentials to Project Based Learning
After reading this article I discovered seven important essentials about project-based learning. The first being that "a project is meaningful if it fulfills two criteria...students must perceive the work as personally meaningful, as a task that matters and that they want to do well...fulfills an educational person. Well-designed and well-implemented project-based learning is meaningful in both ways." The article then further breaks down the seven essentials. The first essential is an "entry event." This is a fun, engaging way for students to be introduced to a project. It creates conversation and peaks students interest. The second essential is a driving question. A driving question "captures the heart of the project in a clear, compelling language which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge." A driving question should be open ended and linked to the core of the project. The question does not have to be concrete. It can be an abstract question or a problem solving question. Driving questions give reasons to a project. It's not longer just about creating a poster, but it's the information that's going on to the poster that students are interested in. Third, don't be a stick in the mud. Don't limit your students options. Give them enough room to create something they want to create. Set some guidelines, but let them set the bar. Don't tell them what you are expecting from them. It's the 21st century. The fourth essential is to use that to your advantage. Collaboration and communication are easier in the 21st century. Technology is a great tool to use to help hone these skills. Fifth, don't lay out a straight path for your students. Encourage curiosity and help them answer their own questions and then create new ones. The sixth essential is feedback and revision. This helps students learn that revision is important to create the highest quality of work. Rome wasn't built in a day and the perfect project won't be built in a hour. The last essential is provide an audience. Students will get more out of the project and they'll take ownership of their work. They'll want to provide the highest quality of work to show off.

2. Project-Based Learning For Teachers
We, as teachers and students, should not be asking "what" but "how". Project-based learning inspires students to be learners and creators. They answer a driving question that is open ended and thought provoking. Compared to the Common Core Standards, which are restrictive and focused on memorization, project-based learning is customizable and promotes individuality.

3. PBL: What Motivates Students Today
After watching this video, I discovered a pattern. Students were focused on grades. I know this is video is about what motivates them, but none of them answered learning. A student said she wants to be a veterinarian. However, it was the grades that motivated her. Shouldn't it be her passion to become a veterinarian? The new question is "Are students today too focused on grades?" I remember getting rewards for doing good in the classroom and that definitely pushed me to do my best. As a future educator, I want to motivate students to learn because they want to. Rewards are good, but I don't want my students to expect an award every time they do what they should be doing.

4. High School Teachers Meet the Challenges of PBL Implementation
Project-based learning is applicable to all subjects in school. The unique thing about project-based learning is that it can change its form. There is not right or wrong way to apply project-based learning. There is no cookie cutter mold for project-based learning. If you attempt to apply the same project or the same ideas to each and every subject, you're going to find that it doesn't work. As a teacher you have to assess the situation and go from there.

5. Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap
This was an interesting article to read. One, I hope someone picks up this and these students get the attention they deserve. Watery ketchup is the worst. Two, this is a great example of what students are capable of. Richard and Thompson seemed to thoroughly enjoy the process of creating this ketchup cap. The driving question of this project was "it really bugs me when." This is a perfect example of what a driving question should be. It does not limit students to one idea.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Post #8

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch's lecture, The Last Lecture, is upbeat and entertaining. He takes his life experiences and turns them into life lessons that we can all learn from. His lecture starts out with explaining his childhood dreams. The first one is to be an astronaut. This is where Pausch introduces "brick walls." As Pausch states, "They let us prove how badly we want things." That was one of the brick walls Pausch mentions. Despite at first being told no, Pausch pushes until he is able to achieve his dream, of experiencing zero gravity. His next dream was playing for the NFL. This experience was one of my favorites. Learn the fundamentals. Walk before you run. Not only that, never give up on anyone. When you stop criticizing, you stop caring. As an educator you need to always encourage your students to succeed. As a student, your biggest fan will be your biggest critic.

Pausch has a great example on how to be a learner. We already know that to be an educator you must be a learner. You must continue to expand your knowledge and want to know more. Pausch's experience with being an Imagineer provided a great example of how to be learner. One person Pausch met with said to him "I don't know" while the other said "I don't have much information...I want to learn more."

"You guys did good, but I know you can do better." Never set a bar. Always believe that there is room to do more. That's what Pausch's class did. They did more and it turned into this great thing. Parents, teachers administrators, all came to see his student's final products. In a later story Pausch mentions as an educator the best thing to do is have your students become "self reflective." This can be done through peer reviews and then not just throwing it away but giving it back to students to see where they stand.

There was a lot to learn from Pausch's last lecture. At the end of his lecture, Pausch turns his lecture around and asks the audience have they figured out the head fake yet. The head fake of his lecture was not about how dreams are achieved but how to lead a life. Pausch's lecture taught me to never give up as an educator or a learner. Never stop caring about your students and never set a bar. Brick walls are going to be there in life, but they are there for a reason. They will keep those who don't want something as bad as you out. They show how dedicated you are. Pausch may have passed away, but he has changed lives, and he has now changed mine. On a side note, I will be buying his book, The Last Lecture.

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

Nokia Lumia 1020
I remember being in middle school and having a phone with a camera on it made you the coolest person ever. When I got my phone in 8th grade, it had to have a camera on it. Now I have an iPhone and I use the camera at least weekly. Not only do I use the camera but I also use the internet and social media platforms. The data corresponds only to 18-24 year olds, but assuming that this data can apply to the younger generation, that means that the students I will teach will either own or have access to a cell phone. The rule of "No cell phones allowed" will need to be changed. Instead of banning cell phones, we, as teachers, need to find ways to incorporate cell phone usage into our lesson plan. With information at the tip of their fingers, we need to control the flow of information. Make sure that they are using their cell phones to benefit their experience in the classroom. Distractions are not far with apps so students will need to learn the time and place to use certain apps inside the classroom. However, you can easily argue if students can access the internet through a laptop or a tablet of some kind, why do they need their cellphones? Cell phones could be seen as just another distraction in the classroom.

Cell phones are good for mobility. Inside the classroom students will have access to computers, iPads, smartboards, each other..etc, but outside the classroom what do they use? Cell phones. Cell phones allow teachers to move the classroom outside of the classroom. Students can take notes, record audio, record videos, take pictures, research information all with the press of a button.

Assuming all my students will either have a smartphone or a tablet with a camera opens up so many doors. I could create a scavenger hunt for an art museum and let them take pictures with the answer. We could do an art project where they see just how much they change over a year by taking a picture of them every day for the whole school year. We can put together a time lapse of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. For more ideas check out Using A Digital Camera in the Classroom.

C4T #2

stamp, ink, and fountain pen laid on top of a sheet of paper
For this month's C4T I was assigned to teacher Michael Kaechele. His blog is The Concrete Classroom. Unlike my last assignment, Mr. Kaechele has a formal writing style. My comments were not published on his blog for reasons unknown, but I did enjoy reading his entries.

The first post I read was How to Get Students to Own Their Learning. In this post Mr. Kaechele explained how he started of the school year with a project named The Water Project. It is a project that he and his students started last year. The focus of the post was to give an example of how to get students to own their learning. He wrote, "The Water Project was our best project ever because of how much ownership the students took over it." (para 2, line 1) The Water Project is a year long project. Mr. Kaechele has his students working on it every Friday for two hours. Mr. Kaechele ends his post by answering the question "How do you get students to own their learning?". He states, "Challenge them with real work for real people for a real purpose."

Like I said before, my comment went unpublished for reasons unknown. However, the comment I left for him to approve explained how I thought this was a wonderful idea. I told him that as a future educator I will keep this in mind. Making projects not only relevant but real and being able to see the changes my students are making in our community is a great way to capture their attention. I hope that if I choose to do a project this big, my students show as much enthusiasm as Mr. Kaechele's students did.

The second post I commented on was Don't Put Words in my Mouth. Unlike his last post, this was not a post about the classroom. Instead this post was about him being contacted by a organization that wanted to help him expand his audience. They told him that they could "amplify" his voice and get more media exposure. He also mentions that this group had large political ties. Sadly, while they're intentions seemed innocent, their motives were not. Instead of allowing Mr. Kaechele to express his own opinions, the organization wanted him to focus on promoting the Common Core. Mr. Kaechele turned them down and went on to say in his post, "I won't have anyone putting words in my mouth. I have plenty to say by myself, thank you."

I left a comment agreeing with Mr. Kaechele. It was wrong of the organization to only promote teachers who took their side. They were not truly "the voice of teachers." I hope that if this organization contacts other teachers, they see the problem and take the same route that Mr. Kaechele took.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project #13 Part 1

Weimar's Courtyard of the Muses by Theobald von Oer

Age of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution Project

This project introduces key players of both the Age of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution. Students will be placed in groups and create a presentation that covers the who, what, when, where, and why of the person they have selected. They will then present their findings in class and provide a handout for the other students to complete.

The Breakdown:

PBL Lesson Plan
PBL Calendar
PBL Checklist
PBL Rubric

Project #7 Part B

Blog Post #7

QR Code
First off, I'd like to share my audio QR Code I made with the help of this video. It was exciting and I can't wait to utilize this tool in the future.

From watching the available movies, it is evident that technology is a driving force in the classroom. Students are eager to learn and get a hands on learning experience. From Ginger Tuck's kindergarten class to Mrs. Tassin's 2nd Grade class, students were having a blast using technology. It was interesting to see how all the teachers integrated certain apps as a learning tool. The AVL center that Ginger Tuck created for her kindergarten class for vocabulary expansion was my favorite. The students who presented in Mrs. Tassin's class were all very eager to share their projects with the class. I learned a lot about how I could use technology as a learning tool inside the classroom.

From the last two videos, We All Become Learners and Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten, it is easy to see that the classroom dynamics are changing. In We All Become Learners, Michele Bennett explained how students are teaching teachers, teachers are teaching students, and students are teaching students. This new dynamic is breaking down traditional barriers. In the higher grades, teachers do not worry about the mechanics of a program. They know that they're students will be able to help them if needed.

In Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten, Dr. Strange and his guests discussed how kindergarteners were making book trailers using iMovie. They were eager to create and improve their product. Dr. Strange made the comment that compared to his college students, the kindergarteners were more enthusiastic to fix their mistakes. Kindergarteners did not want to want to stop editing whereas Dr. Strange had to push and prod his college students to fix a mistake in a project.

How do we all become learners? To become a learner you have to be eager and open to new experiences. Don't shy away from something you don't know. Let your students teach you a trick or two on iMovie or how to use the iPad camera correctly. Since I have grown up around technology, I have an advantage in the classroom compared to the older generations. However, I am lacking knowledge about how to use technology as a learning tool instead of entertainment. In the next year and a half I need to research how to successfully integrate PBL into my classroom. What resources will I need to make sure my students get the most out of the projects? What kind of projects are most beneficial? How do I properly use a Smartboard? These are questions I need to answer or at least have some information on before I step into a classroom.