Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Post #5 Part B

personal learning network depicted in chart form. silioute of a man sitting in front of a laptop with keywords of PLN surrounding him

This blog post is a continuation of Blog Post #5. In Blog Post #5, I was introduced to what a PLN is. To review, a PLN, personal learning network, is a space on the internet where you can expand your connections and knowledge through social networking and other media.To start my PLN I created a twitter account where I followed teachers and administrators at the University of South Alabama. My next step was following people who are in EDM 310. I haven't utilized my twitter account to the fullest, but I did follow one teacher I commented on for C4T. My PLN is still small, but I hope to expand it as I continue on in my educational adventure.

C4T #4

screenshot of lana's blog 4theloveofteaching
Five for Friday- Short and Sweet! by Lana
This blog post Lana posted some pictures from Red Ribbon week at her school. Her class completed their STEM challenge, her and her son dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween, and she is a living a very busy life. One of my favorite pictures from this post was of one of her students who wrote "My Heros and Sheros" and a cape for "Dress like your hero" day during Red Ribbon Week. My commented mentioned her colorful blog and how I much enjoyed viewing the pictures she took.

I'm Still Here by Lana
This blog post was just a quick update on her hectic life. Her class finished ip their informative animal reports and had begun their oral presentations. She also received a sweet letter from one of her students that brightened up one of her worser days. The comment I left her wished her some calmer days and many more letters like the one she received. I also wished her students luck on their presentations.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14

Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world
When people think of teaching, they don't think it to be on par with being a doctor or being a lawyer. Joel Klein addresses these problems in Teaching our Children can be a Profession

Problem: Teaching doesn't require the best.
Solution: Start picking from the best.
Problem: Seniority
Solution: Get rid of seniority.
Problem: ..."Teachers continued to be workers in an old fashioned factory." Solution: A new system created by teachers, for the teachers

There is a stigma attached to teaching. When I told people I was going to be a teacher, their first response was, "Really? Why? You're so brave. I could never be a teacher. That's such a stressful job." On the other hand, when I talked to someone who knew someone in the education field, their response would be "Good luck. So and so hates it." I never knew how to take these comments. Teaching was just something that came natural to me. I enjoyed tutoring people and I knew I wanted to do something that would make a difference. I'm no longer an education major, but I do understand the importance of teaching. People tend to overlook teaching, but imagine the world without teachers. You can't. Teaching, and those who teach, are fundamental for all societies. So why doesn't teaching and teachers get more respect?

One problem that Klein addresses is that anyone with a teaching degree can become a teacher. His solution is that teachers should be selected from the top third of the graduates. But what are we basing this merit on? Is it grades? Is it ability in the classroom? Is it reviews from other peers? If we're going to pick from the top third, we're going to have to get selective and that might leave out great candidates for teaching. Instead of picking from the top third, maybe the academic training of teachers needs to be changed. This is suggested by Klein stating that "23 states cannot boast a single (teacher education) program that provides solid math preparation resembling the practices of high-performing nations." It's time for an academic training makeover. The changes in academic training include a longer training process, a teacher examination, and longer student-teaching internship. If all teachers are capable of teaching to the highest degree, will there still be a need to pick from the top third? Is there another process in weeding out those who may not be as competent as another? Do we create stricter academic training for future teachers?

Another problem Klein addresses is seniority. Klein makes the statement that "Job security and seniority dictate the way our schools operate." I once talked to a former teacher and she said for the first few years of teaching, she was passed around from school to school. She was stuck in the "last hired, first fired" cycle. Professionalizing teaching should lead to excellence being a guiding factor. "Excellence" will be the key derminator in policies, standards, coursework, administration...etc. I agree that excellence should be a grading factor for teachers, but again we would have to define what excellence is. Teachers who provide constant positive results should be rewarded for their efforts with tenure or other compensations. Teachers who can not provide those same results need to be re-trained. Seniority or not, teachers who are not giving the results needed should be re-evaluated.

Going back to a stricter training for future educators, Albert Shanker, a former teachers'-union leader, suggested a "national teacher examination." This exam would be like the Bar or MCAT that lawyers or doctors have to take before being able to become fully licensed. This could weed out those who may not be as competent, but again, would this leave out those possible candidates who maybe don't test as well as others. While I agree that maybe letting anyone with a teaching degree is a bad idea, I also believe that the success of teachers should be found in the classroom, not a standardized test that dictates whether or not I should be allowed to be a teacher.

While, I may not have answered this fully, I feel as if this article was only the tip of the iceberg. While Klein had a lot to say, he gave us more problems than solutions. I don't see teaching as something that needs to professionalized because I already see it as a professional job. Seniority is to be expected no matter where you go, but it shouldn't dictate who gets to stay and who doesn't. The results that teachers provide should determine who gets to stay and who doesn't. Will creating a national test cut down on how many people choose to be a teacher? Because teaching is seen as an "easy" major, will this change the way teaching is viewed? I hope it will. Teaching needs to be respected as a professional job, but it's going to take a little more than what Klein and Shanker are suggesting.

C4K #3

fountain pen laid on top of paper

100 Word Challenge by Pavit
In this blog post, Pavit wrote a bone-chilling story about being in a pumpkin patch. She was looking for a pumpkin to carve, when she wandered too far in the forest. Her mom got worried about her, but the character wanted to stay in the forest. At the end of the story, the character sees a figure in a black costume. My comment on Pavit's post complimented her on her writing skills. I told her she did a good job. I hope Pavit continues to share her writing.

PB & J by Reyna M.
Reyna uses descriptive words to describe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She uses words like "soft", "sweetness", and "delicious" to describe the texture and experience of eating a peanut butter and jelly. My comment mentioned that she should proof read her post before posting because she did have a lot of spelling errors. However, despite her spelling errors, I found her writing to be advanced for her age.

The Awesome Car by Antonio A.
Antonio writes about why he wants a car robot. A car robot can talk to you and can fight evil people. My comment agreed with him. A car robot would be very convenient and a great conversationalist.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post #13

For this blog post, Dr. Strange asked us to create a blog post on a topic that we felt was left out. It needed to be focused on our speciality, but besides that, these were the only instructions given to us. As a future educator, one of the most important things to be is to be engaging. We had previous blog posts on what can we learn from watching these videos, but they were all related to project based learning and technology. These post didn't address what it takes to be a teacher. It addressed how to utilize technology in the classroom or how to succeed in project based learning.This blog post addresses how to be a better teacher without the use of technology.

screen cap from Christopher Emdin's video
Blog Post #13

Have you discovered how to use “magic?”

Watch Christopher Emdin’s TEDtalk titled, Teach Teachers how to Create Magic and then respond to this video and answer this following question: Have you discovered how to create magic? Explain what your take on the "magic" is.

Christopher Emdin's TEDtalk opens with him creating pictures for the audience to imagine. As future educators, his depictions really hit home. Why do we spend endless hours studying old texts written by some educator who is no longer alive? Why do we slave for hours over perfecting our lesson plans when we know no matter how prepared we are, things aren't always going to go right? It's not for us. It's for other people to grade us on. To set a standard for us. But, Emdin then talks about people who are great educators, but have no idea of the education process. They don't have the formal knowledge of how to teach education, but they are some of the best educators. It's in the way they talk, the way they move. While Emdin focuses on the urban lifestyle, take his advice and apply it to your own teaching style. As a future educator, I will create an atmosphere where my lessons tell a story. Where my students are interested in what I am saying and are paying attention to where even a simple movement speaks a thousand words. Don't be afraid to get expressive and get your students engaged through speaking. Don't be afraid to ask for that amen in the middle of a lesson! The magic Emdin's talks about is the ability to capture the attention of your students with just words.

Project #12 Part B

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Post #12

photo says remove barriers from education
Articles on Assistive Technology
Videos on Assistive Technology
Presentation on Assistive Technology

C4T #3

clip art of a man with the text date security tips for teachers in the upper left hand corner

For this month's C4T, I commented on The Electric Educator, also known as John Sowash. His blog consist of post that provide information on how to protect your data on the internet. The first post I commented on was titled Digital Security for Teachers: Know Your Data". In this blog post he goes over how to view your data, update your privacy settings, and how to backup your data. He concludes by saying once you know how to manage and take control of your account you can reduce the risk of your account information being used incorrectly.

My comment stated how I found his post informative and helpful.

The second post I commented on, Data Security for Teachers - The Basics, Sowash gave a brief overview on some security basics. For example, your password should be at least eight characters long with a mixture of lower case and upper case letters. He also suggest mixing in some numbers and symbols. You should avoid personal information such as birthdays or phone numbers and dictionary words. As in his previous post he strongly suggest backing up your data.

I told Sowash that I enjoyed reading his posts. I also left a link to the class blog. I told him that his post were informative and although I know backing up my data is important, I had never backed up my Google data.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blog Post #11

confused figure with question marks
1. Back to the Future - TED Talk by Brian Cosby

Brian Cosby is a teacher whose class is composed of mainly 2nd language learners. Not only that but they are at risk students. At the beginning of his speech he shows just how little these students are connected to their outside world by asking questions such as "what's your address?", "what country do you live in?", "what's your phone number?"...etc. The numbers that came back were low and shocking. Only three students out of the 24 he taught knew what country they lived in. He goes on to talk about the "schema" of the world and you can not create passion with creativity. His speech goes on for awhile about he got his students connected by technology. The projects he had them start had them engaged and interested because he created buzz around the project. He incorporated science and the language arts to pull a "head fake." They were learning all about science while at the same time they were improving their language skills. He had them writing stories based on what they saw which improved their writing skills. Not only that, their connections grew because of the projects and the blog posts that they created. People from all over the world saw their "High Hopes" project and sent their own "High Hopes" into Cosby's class. As a teacher, I think that is a great accomplishment. Cosby's students got to see how they can change the world. What I learned from Cosby was that there are no limitations to teaching or learning. He created a opportunity for his students to grow and become real learners. As a teacher, I want to make sure my students also have that opportunity to grow and reach other communities around them.

2. Blended Learning Cycle by Paul Andersen.
Paul Andersen is an AP Biology teacher. I have taken AP classes and I can personally tell you the workload in those classes is severe. Not only are students gearing up the take the AP exam at the end of the semester, but they are working with college level material. In Andersen's video, I was already intrigued by the spinning disk. The only thing I could think of during that video was "Wow, when is this disk going to stop spinning and why is it spinning for so long?" Already, Andersen's use of QUIVERS (his acronym that he created) was working. I hope to be able to incorporate QUIVERS (Question, Investigate, Video, Elaboration, Review, and Summary) into my lesson plans as a future educator. He talked about in the beginning of the video how he tried a new style of teaching, but as he thought about it, he realized he strayed away from what the original idea was. He acknowledged those who helped him remix his ideas and helped create what he was explaining in the video. This is a great example of what it is like to be a learner as a teacher. He went to other resources to help improve his skills as a teacher. It's okay to be uncertain about things. I shouldn't shy away from getting ideas or getting advice from other sources. We are all constantly learning and that should not stop once I become the head honcho in the classroom.

3. Making Thinking Visible by Mark Church
Mark Church had his students create a banner that, in a few short words, represented what they had learned already about human origins. He had them discuss and then put their banners on the board. This project was done near the beginning of their lesson. He then revealed that at the end of their lesson they would write another statement based on what they now know. This is a great technique showing students just how much they have learned over a time period. Would their slogan be different from what they wrote before? Why or Why not? What do you know now that you didn't know before? Questions like create a discussion and students can share their opinions and learn from their peers.

4. Building Comics by Sam Pane
This video was my favorite to watch. Sam Pane introduces safety on the internet by having his class create a "Digital Citizen Superhero." He incorporates language arts and the use of technology to teach his class how to be safe on the internet. His lesson is fun and keeps the students engaged. He has them walk around and peer edit students' comics. Is this a safety issue? Was it resolved correctly? As a teacher, I want to be able to incorporate various subjects into one lesson. This teaching style leads me into the last two videos and what I have learned about teaching and learning from these six videos.

5. Project Based Learning by Dean Shareski and Roosevelt Elementary PBL Program
One of the biggest advantages about Project Based Learning is that it takes away the need for segmented subjects. Why not teach science, language arts, and history all at the same time? A school in Canada decided to take on that challenge by combining history, english, and information processing. With the combining of these three subjects, the teachers found that students were able to learn more and understand more because they got the chance to expand their knowledge through several subjects. If this trend continues, could we see classrooms changing? Instead of going to another classroom and having "periods" or "blocks" will it just be an open classroom with different subjects all going on at once? In Roosevelt Elementary School, students were doing projects that involved other subjects as well. Don't we already write for science? We have to lab reports.

I feel as if I have veered from the original question, "What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?" However, I feel as if there is another question to be asked from these videos and it's something we have only addressed once. What is in store for the future of the classroom? With all these Project Based Learning ideas, are we going to find ourselves collaborating more often with teachers from different subject areas in higher grade levels? Do we need to take another look at the standards? Is the classroom size going to expand? In short, I found that after watching these six videos I felt as if I had watched the same six videos over again because I was looking for an answer I had given already in previous blog post.

Project #14 Group 8

extreme storm weather

For this project our group decided to work with the third grade. We created a project that has students researching extreme weather phenomena. Students will be placed in predetermined groups and create a presentation that explains how these phenomena are predicted, how they affect the world, how they are defined and how to prepare in case of one. We hope that at the end of this project students have a better knowledge of the weather around them.

Lesson Plan