Friday, May 2, 2014

EDM 310 Final Reflection

My Final Reflection of EDM 310 during Spring 2014
When I consider the times I have heard people reflecting it seems that it is usually at a funeral. People are remembering good and bad times, things they should have, could have or would have done differently. It is a horrible time to reflect because there is nothing they can do to change any of those situations they might have handled differently. So I am grateful that Dr. Strange is encouraging me to reflect on the things I have done over the past 4 months. I am glad he asked me to consider my attitude and commitment about this class and all it entails. I am changed because I have to take responsibility for the good, the bad and the ugly. This time of reflection is a tool to let me know how to handle situations in a way that brings positive results even if the first try is not perfect. He is teaching me to reflect while I am able to adjust my methods and improve instead of looking back and wishing I had done things differently.

Reflection helps us know whether or not we are headed in the right direction.

Project #16

Group Las Vegas' iBook
EDM 310 Group Las Vegas

Project #16 came and went quickly and quietly. Our group, Las Vegas, decided to make our theme roller coasters because EDM 310 is not a slow and steady type of experience. One minute you find yourself on top of the world because of something new you have learned or accomplished, and the next minute you are at a low point because you can not quite figure out how to post these new ideas onto the internet. With our theme in mind, and Dr. Strange's Checklist in our drives, we began creating our first iBook.
,br /> We included our sentence videos, book trailers and passion videos. We were proud of these accomplishments because they were the first of many milestones. Our favorite blog posts, as well as our video book commentary are also included. Trying to edit the video book commentary from 9 minutes down to 2 minutes was interesting. How do you cut out so much dialouge and still have a piece that makes sense? We did our best. We hope that everyone who watches our iBook enjoys the fruit of our labor.

This project was the most collaborative of all EDM 310 projects. While other assignments required us to communicate, this project required us to work together. This project could not have been completed successfully with out each of us bringing some time and creativity to the plate. This project is completed, but it will be a long time before I forget the group that put it together.

It is well said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I like to think that what happens in EDM does not stay in EDM. What happens in EDM transforms minds, opinions, classrooms, and people. This project and this class have helped break down brick walls.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

C4T April

Steven Anderson

C4T April #1
Meet Steven Anderson
He is from Winston Salem, North Carolina and you need to visit his blog to view his long list of credentials. His passion for technology far outweighs mine and his list of credentials gives me credential envy.
What excited me most was his blog post from Friday, April 11, 2014. My last C4T was Eric Langhorst. Eric had a post about Edcamps. So when I visited Steven's blog and saw his post about Edcamps, I was intrigued. The particular Edcamp Steven was discussing is Edcamp USDOE. Now that sounds fun. Edcamps are know as "unconferences" where the schedule is created as attendees arrive and decide what they want to discuss that particular day. This site contains a video that explains how Edcamp is run. A list of upcoming Edcamps can be found at the Edcamp Wiki. I want to attend the Birmingham and New Orleans events. And just in case you were wondering, the most party time I would have in New Orleans is a cup of coffee and chicory with a plate of beignets.
The post Steven had April 13, 2014 was about Sphero. This is the next phase of augmented reality. The sphero is a game, personal trainer, programming teacher and babysitter in one. Steven was excited about the potential shpero has to teach children how to build programs. I know nothing about building programs, but see the value in students being proficient in this skill. Steven's blog contains a link to other videos and information about sphero.

C4T April #2
So,What has been one of the easiest, most versatile tools I have come across this semester? Well, YouTube, of course. I was happy to see that Mr. Anderson also found YouTube to be a great tool.
YouTube Generation Sign
I was able to find tools on how to edit in YouTube on Eric Langhorst's website. Some of those mentioned in Mr. Anderson's most recent blog post were new to me. Quiet Tube lets you watch videos without all the commercials and crap. Tube Chop lets you clip only the portions of video you need for presentations or lessons. Drag On Tape lets you add video upon video as you create custom video clips. Watch2gether lets you create private viewing rooms where you can have visitors watch videos together. This is great for collaborative projects.
YouTube is accessible to virtually every person with internet access. Why wouldn't I be excited to teach children how to do more than put "Wisdom Tooth Extraction" videos on YouTube. YouTube gives students the ability to express what they have learned across all curriculum and receive real feedback. Now, these new tools will help them produce quality videos instead of a quantity of crap. These tools will also enable me to present valuable explanations, investigations and illustrations without all the extra junk, including commercials and inappropriate images after the selected video ends.
I hope Mr. Anderson hears the collective sigh of relief from teachers and parents for giving us these great tools. Thank you!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

C4K April 2014

C4K April #1
Meet Alizhay
Alizhay is a 6 year student at the Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. She has been taking swimming lessons at school. It seems as if these lessons are part of the schools curriculum. This would certainly be an exciting physical education class. She explained that she was learning the free style stroke by using flutter boards and practicing rocket arms. She is also competing in relay races. This is an "exhausting" event for her. I shared the link to our family's swim team with her. I hope she gets to visit the site.

C4K April #2
Meet Samoa

Samoa is a 4 year student at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. She recently completed a reflection post about Chromebook. She was very honest about what she enjoyed, disliked and could have done better. What was most encouraging to me was that she willingly admitted the positive and negatives to the use of this technology. I need to take this into account with my children and future students. This type of feedback will help make me a better teacher. Listening and learning are huge parts of teaching.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post #13 What Did Dr. Strange Miss?

What in the wiki are you talking about?
I think most people have heard about Edward Snowden's infamous "Wiki Leaks". I assumed the term "wiki leaks" was simply the 21st century word for a Benedict Arnold. Then I began looking into the blogs of the C4Ts Dr. Strange assigned, and the term "wiki" kept being mentioned. I was curious but nothing more. I was actually glad he did not make us dig deeper into the word and whatever a wiki was. The irony in all of this is that because he did not directly assign our class to explore wikis, I am doing it on my own. Ha! At the beginning of EDM 310 I thought having a wiki would involve an extensive background in computer science. Surprise, it is as simple as pie. It is as easy as creating a Facebook page or establishing a new email. In fact, it IS easier than having your tag renewed at the end of the month.

Wikispaces Logo

I first began searching Google. I came across Barbara Feldman who included a list of possible options. However, because I seem to have a "virus" that keeps putting pop ups on my screen I had to abandon her list. I was able to read her suggestions, but it was difficult to do much else. The site is worth visiting. I went back to Google and found Wiki Spaces. For me, this was the jackpot. I signed up and created my very own Wiki! It was painless, quick and easy.
Barbara Feldman explained that wikis can be used personally and professionally. They can help organize family photos, decide who is bringing Grandma's famous cornbread to Thanksgiving dinner or establish a classroom communication board. As long as those needing access to the wiki have a computer with internet access collaboration and communication are possible.

I thought one of the best uses for a class wiki, to begin with, would be to introduce myself, give class news, lists of assignments/homework, establish a calendar and have parents easily access the activity in the classroom. My wiki is a beginning work, with lots of room for growth, but I am excited to see what I can do. I think creating a wiki is going to be alot like learning to blog. I will make some mistakes, but the benefit will be a tool that is accessible for each parent, student and administrator. Parents and I will not have to worry about newsletters getting lost on the bus, I will not have to remember to pass any extra papers out, and students who are absent will know what is happening in the classroom. This class wiki will take shape as I grow, get a real class, and we begin learning.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Post #12 Assistive Technology

Google Presentation Slide

This presentation includes an introduction to Voice Assistant, Dragon Dictation and Natural Reader. These apps and programs are capable of assisting students with vision and hearing impairments within the classroom and real world settings. Please view this presentation on my Google Site.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Post #11

The following conversation is presented by Group Las Vegas after watching a series of videos by Brian Crosby, Paul Anderson who also recommends watching Blended Learning Cycle, Mark Church, Sam Payne, Dean Shareski, and Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

C4T March

C4T #3 Post #1
Meet Eric Langhorst
Eric Langhorst
What a fascinating blog Eric Langhorst has set up! He must have the heart of Dr. Strange. Two videos from YouTube greeted me, and I liked what they taught. He taught me how to edit videos I have uploaded to my YouTube account. The tutorials teach how to add music over a video, how to change effects, add captions and how to stabilize videos. He gave me an idea for Blog Post#13.
He also presented a slide show called Bring the Maker Revolution to Your Classroom. I thought it was interesting that Mr. Langhorst, a history teacher, was excited about electronics. The idea behind the Maker Movement seems to be creativity across the curriculum. I thought about how this program incorporates art into each subject. I will look deeper into cardboard creations. I was excited to gain another resource both in technology and art.

Eric has an extensive list of YouTube editing and curating tutorials on YouTube. The two I have included are only a sample. I really encourage you to check these out. Like I mentioned earlier, he has given me an idea for Blog Post #13.

Editing Audio Tutorial

Editing Video Tutorial

C4T #3 Post #2
Educamp Logo

I had to go back in time to January to find this blog post. Mr. Langhorst introduced me to Edcamps. I looked at various blogs and Twitter to figure out how to best describe Edcamps. As teachers, Professional Development is necessary. I have only attended "workshops" offered by Mobile County Public School Systems. These were day long events during which we were taught various ways to teach content. It was primarily lecture based with some demonstration. Mr. Langhorst describes professional development conferences as being lecture based also, consisting of lots of sitting and listening. Boring. When he began to describe the Edcamps his tone changed. Edcamps are similar to typical PD conferences in that educators learn how to apply technology and other teaching methods in their classrooms. The major difference is that the Edcamps are FREE, there are no scheduled sessions and no corporate agendas. These camps are grass roots based sharing of ideas, skills, lessons and pleasure related to teaching. Agendas are not agreed to months prior to the camp. Rather, those attending are at liberty to share ideas, apps, or techniques they are passionate about. Lots of conversation and discussion takes place and small amounts of lecturing occur.
I do not know for certain, but I think individual areas or districts can organize their own Edcamp. I have not seen one for the Mobile area, but there is one in Birmingham, Alabama and New Orleans. I am waiting on a reply from Amanda Dykes. She is one of the organizers of the Birmingham Edcamp. I want to know if education majors could attend the camp.
It is interesting that Mr. Langhorst noticed how Edcamps are filled with conversation and discussion rich events. "Isn't this what we want our classrooms to look like," he asks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project #12 Part A

Project #15 Lesson Plan #3

The Water Cycle
The Water Cycle Diagram
You can view my Water Cycle Lesson Plan. It is a plan that incorporates technology and art as students learn the phases in the Water Cycle and teach the cycle to a virtual audience.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

C4K March 2014

C4K March #1

Meet Kama
A picture of a little boy

Kama is a 1st Grade boy in Mrs. She's class. He is a student at the Pt. England School in, Auckland New Zealand. Kama was new to Mrs. She's class 18 and had his picture posted on the class blog. Because he did not have an assignment posted I was unable to comment on his work. I was able to introduce myself, tell where I live and include how to pronounce my name and city. I hope to see his work soon and am looking forward to his reply. I really want to know how he pronounces his name, Kama.
C4K March #2
Meet Memory
A little girl named Memory

Memory is a year 4 student attending the Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. Her recent blog was about her love of swimming. She is taking swim lessons and really enjoys it. I shared with her that my children swim, the name of our swim club and their favorite strokes. I hope she gets to Google West Mobile Swim Club. I also hope to learn the name of her swim team and her favorite stroke when she swims.

C4K March #3
Meet Paige
Paige is a Year 8 student at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. She recently posted her Maths Think Board. Here it is.
Paige's Math Problem 1/5 of 40

It is exciting to see how she is able to create her own digital representation of the problem. How fun is this? She is not looking at a copied picture, but she is solving the problem, explaining how it was solved and creating an image to support her explanation. I want to know how to create these images. I want to spend some time at Pt. England school myslef. Can we schedule a field trip?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sir Ken Robinson

What do Abraham Lincoln, gardening and dreams have in common?
According to Sir Ken Robinson, education shares a common thread with Abraham Lincoln, gardening and dreams. In a speech Lincoln gave to Congress in December 1862 he said that our leadership needed to "disenthrall" themselves from the old way of thinking and problem solving in order to save our nation. Mr. Robinson says the same change in thinking needs to occur within education. The focus needs to shift toward our greatest natural resource, the talents of students, and no longer revolve around the processes we use to educate children. Organic gardening is one of the latest crazes, requiring extra time, patience and money. In organic gardening much of the work is done with the tools, soil and seeds you already possess. There is no need to purchase fancy fertilizers, weed killers or genetically modified seeds. You take the seeds available, plant them and, this is the most important step, give them the proper growing environment. Applying this concept to education means the main goal is not making sure children have information tossed at them with the goal of passing a test as motivation or as the end result. Instead, children are in an environment free of artificial teaching that comes in the form of the endless lecture and test cycle. Children are in classrooms that feel natural, full of activity and technology that seem natural to children. I personally do not believe a quiet classroom means the children are learning. It does mean they are well managed. Organic opportunities such as art lead to the next ingredient. Passion. As students engage in topics, activities, stories, and conversations about which they are passionate learning is a natural, organic product. Children can not help but learn, explore, question, challenge, consider and think about those things that interest them.
Mr. Robinson is encouraging an overall shift toward the passions and needs of children and away from the egos of those adults making decisions regarding their education. Too often education sits on the chopping block when budgets become tight. It is all too common that education is thrown into the center of a political frenzy. Isn't it ironic that those who suffer from the political agendas of others are not even old enough to vote? Robinson's final charge speaks volumes to educators, and, as a society, we need to listen carefully, too. We live in a world that does not cherish nor encourage our children to be what they are...children. Society forces them to grow up way to quickly, school introduces children to stress with non stop testing, parents are much too busy rushing to the next event to recognize the quiet plea for rest and teachers do not have time to find out what motivates children because scores are front and center. Education must become about engaging students. The current system might produce the smartest child in the world, but what good does it do the child or society if along they way their spirit is crushed? Mr. Robinson wants us to consider that "Everyday, everywhere children spread their dreams beneath our feet. We should tread softly.".

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9 Mrs. Cassidy

First Grade With Mrs. Cassidy
Mrs. Cassidy teaches 1st Grade, but she does it with a technological flair. About 13 years ago her class was given 5 computers, and in an effort to utilize them she began her technology journey. Since the computers could only access the internet, no programs could be loaded onto them, she began searching for sites that would support curriculum and lessons she was teaching. With the support of key staff, things began to happen. Now, 13 years later, her class of first graders blog regularly, make and post movies, present their work to an international audience and enjoy the fruit of an audience consisting of more than their teacher.
Mrs. Cassidy approaches the use of technology with an attitude of discovery. She admits to not knowing how to use all of it, learning and expanding the work of other professionals and focusing on what she can do with her class. Not all teachers in her school want to learn how technology works, but she does not focus on changing their minds but on doing her best for her students. She encourages new teachers to begin their journey by deciding what interests them. Is is videos? Learn how to utilize YouTube. Is it photography? See how Flickr works. Is writing your passion? Build a blog. Identify what your favorite thing is and then begin searching.
Some of the problems I foresee are the attitudes of parents and administration. I need to be ready with ways I will keep children safe. Mrs. Cassidy's policy is to teach children to use only their first name, never associate a picture with a name, and stay on web sites the teacher gives. To further clarify, she tells her students to stay in the middle of the web site she sends them to and for them to stay away from the flashing lights on the perimeter of their screen. This also leads me to my second concern. How do I find enough credible sites to support the lessons I am expected to teach? The best solution for that can be my new best friend and enemy, Twitter. Twitter truly has the ability to expand access to incredible, credible sites, professionals and places that will enhance any class lesson. My biggest hurtle is doing it and understanding how it works. I was relieved when she said she felt silly when she began to use it. I keep wondering who really cares if I tweet? But, I must keep trying.
The major benefit of using blogs, wikis or YouTube is excitement. I never considered how excited a child would be to have grand parents and other relatives replying to their blog posts. Children would want to do it more frequently and get better because they have an authentic audience. The younger the child, the greater the potential for a future that easily transitions into a collaborative position. Collaborating can be difficult for many people, but if a child gradually learns the skill the transition would be seamless. Confidence is another product. Success on the smallest level breeds more success. Students are familiar with numerous technologies so using it in class is second nature. It leaves one less thing for a struggling student to over come. Students who are confident succeed.
I will use PLNs and Twitter to expand my arsenal of ever-changing technologies in my classroom. I will use blogging to let the world and Dr. Strange know how much I and my students are learning. I will use technology that is not even discovered because I just know I am going to learn about it through my PLN and Twitter!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blog Post #8 New Technology

The Aurasma Logo

What is Aurasma?
Aurasma is an app supported on Android and Apple phones and tablets. Getting started is easy. It is so easy, in fact, that I was able to do it. After downloading the app onto your device, you begin transforming images aka "triggers" into digital experiences for those viewing your trigger photo. Imagine the typical book report. Students supply the author, illustrator, details from the plot and perhaps how they felt about the book. This is typed or written, presented to the class or simply passed into the teacher. The only people who benefit from this type of project is the teacher and maybe those students who stay awake during the reports delivery. Now imagine the same book report using the Aurasma app. The student uses their Android or Apple phone or table to record a video of them explaining the book. Next, they take a picture of the book jacket. Then, in the Aurasma app the picture of the book jacket is turned into a "trigger". Now each student, teacher, parent, friend or administrator with the Aurasma app can hold their device over a photo of the book jacket and have the student's recording play automatically.
This app can be found on the app store or at This app is FREE!

I wanted to add this after viewing the Langwitches Blog. This post was originally by Dr. Silvana Meneghini. Visit her at The Edge Blog to see other ideas, applications and directions.

To get a better picture of how the app is used take a peek at this video below.

One of the biggest questions is how can this technology be used in a classroom? The following video explains how high school students use Aurasma for presenting projects and even scheduling conferences with their guidance counselors.

I like this app because it can transform any project into a self guided tour. It can connect parents to the classroom through verbal communication. Students can display their printed, painted, sculpted work in the library and personally explain their idea even if the student is not physically present. This technology allows students to be the author of their explanations on any project or topic. This can be a tool for those children struggling to write. They can create images and explain the water cycle instead of having to write the steps on paper. Teachers can create a class page and have assignments uploaded to the page where others can critique and view class projects. This is an exciting, engaging and fun use of techology.

I promise this is the last video. The students in this video are actually acting out the water cycle. This app actually encourages collaborative projects. Think of the international possibilities and the professional development that could occur by focusing on a single "trigger" image.

Friday, March 14, 2014

C4T #2

Joe Bowers
Meet Joe Bower

C4T#2 Post#1
Joe Bower is a teacher and resident in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. My first impression of Joe is that he is both a practical and compassionate man. He cares deeply for his students, but admits he has not always been passionate about teaching. This confession encouraged me as a teacher and mom. Joe reinforced a comment Dr. Strange made on Blog Post #5,"Teaching is hard, but so is learning." Joe is currently teaching in a local hospital that cares for students who are suffering with various mental health related issues. He must be working in a facility similar to the Lemoine School in Mobile, Alabama that is run by Alta Pointe Health Systems.
In Joe's most recent blog post he included a video by Stephen Krashen, a linguist at the University of Southern California. Mr. Krashen addresses how people learn language and argues that people learn language when they understand what is being said. This principle applies to almost every topic I can imagine, including the concepts in EDM 310. It has only been after reading and asking questions about this new "language" I am studying that I have been able to begin understanding what it is. Step 2 in the process is to determine how its used. I suppose I will be working on Step 2 the rest of my life.
Why are students today shutting down in the classroom? Why do students despise worksheets? The 21st Century student is quietly screaming for engagement. In the video a simple technique, pointing and repeating a phrase, brings greater understanding of the German language. Considering this simple example, how much more could our students understand and actively engage the learning process with tools that are familiar, meaningful and fun to use. Technological tools such as Discovery Education's Puzzle Maker, Kid Blog, and tablets, notebooks or iPads would move the focus from the drone of the teacher's voice to the movement created as the teacher models how to use technology for purposes other than entertainment. I feel a thesis coming on...As teachers avail themselves to the various, quality technological resources and tools, begin using the tools inside the classroom to model that technology is the "21st Century Textbook" and assigns projects that allow students to learn the use of these technologies (not teaching students how to use the technology), students will begin to have a love of learning, engage in meaningful conversation with their peers and teacher, and gain greater understanding of content and life skills, including problem solving and working together aka collaboration.
Another little jewel I found personally applicable was Joe's posts on the topic of why homework should be abolished. I will be digging into his blog a bit more and yes, he will be part of my PLN.
A chalk board with a math problem on it

C4T#2 Post#2
Joe Bowers had an interesting topic on math. Which style of teaching should educators, school systems and parents embrace: the old style most adults grew up learning or the new math that has been rolling out in recent years? He points out that most adults are opposed to new ideas about education, math in particular, because they suffer from nostesia: a hallucinogenic mixture of 50% nostalgia and 50% amnesia that distorts rational thinking. He argues that much of the opposition regarding changes in math curriculum come from people who do not realize how poorly schools functioned in the "good old days". These people think the best days are behind us and the educational system needs to revert to the 1950s and 1930s. Never mind that drop out rates were as high as 80% and some children were encouraged to drop out by school officials! The other group seem to be those people who look at education through a political lens. The tendency to compare one nation's scores to another nation's without considering the myriad of variables that effect those scores. This side of the argument is more concerned with the scores students receive and not the level of understanding students reach. Neither of these positions lead to real change that results in students understanding, gaining useful knowledge, confidence and being important.
A boy dressed in caveman attire getting in trouble by his mom for carving a wheel out of stone.His brother is in the background lugging large rocks on his back.

While change is difficult, it must occur. It may take time to become familiar with new ideas, methods, terminology or pedagogy, but change is essential to future success. Bowers argues that the crucial change needed is professional development, less focus on competitive testing and to focus on helping students understand "why" certain processes are followed in math instead of teaching the process.
I straddle the fence on this issue. While I agree new math is enabling students to think more critically, it can be tough to set aside the "old' way of thinking. Parents need to be very careful that their own confusion and frustration does not sabotage their child. I can become frustrated watching my children do their homework because I just do it they way I was taught. I have to remember that my negative speech about these new processes will only build a wall of misunderstanding for them and lead to an unhealthy view of change. Today's students will be successful. The older folks need to encourage students to apply themselves, ask questions and clarify uncertain concepts. The politicians need to stop throwing teachers under the bus and actually look at how had they work for the students. Most teachers are much more passionate about their students' success than any politician.

Project #9 Video Book Commentary

book jacket for Mark Prensky's book Teaching Digital Natives

Group Las Vegas Discusses Mark Prensky's book Teaching Digital Natives.

You can also check out Group Las Vegas' Google Site for another view of our this conversation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Project #14 Individual Lesson Plan

the cover of George Rodriguie's Why Is Blue Dog Blue?

Why Is Blue Dog Blue?
In this project George Rodrigue's book Why Is Blue Dog Blue? will be read and discussed. Students will share how colors can be used to depict emotions, create a color name to describe an emotion they feel during certain situations and paint their own Blue Dog painting which will include the sentence, "When I ______, I paint Blue Dog _____." Students will record or be recorded saying their sentence while holding their Blue Dog painting. This video will be uploaded to their blogs or the class blog. Students will need to include a brief explanation about why they choose the name of their color and how it relates to what Blue Dog is doing. An example of this is ,"When I mow the grass, I paint Blue Dog sweaty." While the color of the sweat can be any color the student chooses, they need to explain why they choose to name the color "sweat". So they may say, "I painted Blue Dog "sweaty" because I get hot when I mow the grass."
Visit my lesson plan site to view the project calendar, project overview and rubric.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch quote
The Randy Pausch Effect
Since becoming a mother I have asked myself what things I would say to my children if I knew I only had a short time to live. Naturally, I would want them to know how much I love them, but what would I say to spur them on years after I was gone? How would I leave my legacy in a few spoken, written or recorded words? Randy Pausch did exactly what I have only thought about in his "Last Lecture".

Randy Pausch was a husband, father, son and brother. His passion was teaching. Listening to his lecture clarified how important it is to make learning an engaging event, view obstacles as opportunities to show others how badly I want to achieve, and to break the mold. As corny as this may sound, teaching is the most important job in society. That is precisely why parenting is so hard. Parents are their child's first teacher and continue the role well past the sweet preschool years. To be a good teacher means taking the "arrows" in the back just like Randy Pausch. Then use the arrows to motivate you, teach you, and fuel your determination. Teaching is a constant pursuit; always be ready to learn. Pausch says that teaching is the best place to enable childhood dreams. The passion of the teacher effects the student and the excitement of the students' effects the teacher's passion. Being a teacher is important!
Learning is just as much for teachers as it is for students. Teachers learn how to make learning fun by engaging students in activities that feel like playing a game but actually teach valuable lessons. Teachers learn how to accept criticism from students' attitudes, parents' questions, a principals' observation and peers' taunts and sarcasm. Teachers learn to adapt to the brick walls that go up in the classroom, curriculum, discipline, time management, budget cuts and school assemblies. Teachers learn how to say they don't know in a way that encourages students to share what makes them excited about learning a certain lesson. Teachers learn that by not being the smartest, best teacher, they in fact, become the teacher who, Randy believes, is able to demonstrate how to respect authority while questioning it.
Teaching and learning require each other. In order to teach one must be willing to learn how to relate to and motivate those under their authority. Teachers need to be teachable.
Randy Pausch quote on a brick wall

Project #13

The Eye of the Storm
This is a collaborative lesson plan created my Nancee Dehoff, Angela Garrone, Kevin Reese and Kelsey Bramlett. In this lesson students will discuss concepts they know about hurricanes or have previously experienced, during or after a hurricane. After watching a hurricane hunter in action, students will begin searching iCurio and A to Z Teacher Stuff the students will create a collaborative crossword puzzle, Google Presentation and present their presentation. After completing this assignment the students will have gained hurricane awareness by recognizing important terms related to a hurricane's development, being able to follow predicted land falls and being able to create their own hurricane supply list.
Visit EDM Las Vegas 2 to view our Project Overview, Project Calendar and Project Rubric.
Satellite image Hurricane Andrew entering the Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


C4K February #1 I was able to comment on Morgan Clevenger's blog comment. Her teacher, Mrs. Schneider, asked her class to come up with a thesis. Morgan believes owning a pet leads to a longer, happier, healthier life. I agree completely.

C4K February #2 I was able to comment on Mathew's Blog. Mathew was commenting to his teacher, Mrs. Caddy's, question. She asked what were fun things her students liked to do with technology. Mathew enjoyed playing games and watching YouTube most. I encouraged him to take his love of YouTube and teach others to beat a difficult part of a game or how to do something else he was passionate about.

C4K February #3
I was able to comment on Jerry's Blog. He is a student in Ireland. I was a little confused about his post. I looked at other blogs but did not find the driving question which left me wondering what to say to Jerry. I decided to just begin a conversation with him about his post on apex predators. I was thinking about Mrs. Yollis' suggestion to start a conversation and ask a question in blog posts. I asked Jerry if he was studying predators in science or if the topic was the result of a story he was reading. I hope to get some clarification from him, and I hope I gave him a new detail to consider.

C4K February #4
I was able to view Pickle's Blog today. I am honestly at a loss for words. The blog led me to a Glogster video. It was a horror suspense movie. I watched about 1 minute of it and stopped watching. I hate horror movies. I did not understand why the link was posted because I could not find any explanation or driving question. I hope Pickle will respond to my comment and tell me why the clip was included. This was a bizarre post.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


The Beginning
Since the term and idea of a PLN is new to me, I seem to be adding people slowly. I liked the idea that Symbaloo allows me to have those I am learning from in one spot. My Symbaloo seems sort of naked and that is embarrassing, but I will get it dressed up soon.

Symbaloo Screen shot

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Sentence Video

My Sentence Video

Blog Post #5

Did you learn the same thing I learned?
After watching Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange I gained a better picture of what Project Based Learning (PBL) looks like in the classroom. Historically, projects were what students did at the end of a lesson to show what was learned. Now PBL is a means of achieving skills and discerning knowledge.
Anthony's 4 Steps To A Good Project
1. Have an authentic audience.
2. Keep it relevant.
3. Involve the community.
4. Focus on ACCRS and Common Core.
His golden rule in PBL...Provide opportunity to revise and review.

Really, Project Based Learning can be fun?
In the following video Anthony said that teachers should never limit their students by what teachers want students to do. He believes teachers should create opportunities for students to go beyond what they want them to do. He also taught me that giving students choices is crucial to successful PBL, and giving them a choice creates fun and an engaging relationships.

The Internet Gets a "Children's Section"!
I had never heard about iCurio. This information is both fascinating and freeing. If you do not know, I am concerned with children being exposed to inappropriate material as they innocently search for information online. In essence, iCurio is the equivalent to the "Children's Section" in a library. The opportunity for students to find appropriate literature, video and audio in the "Children's Section" of the internet brings great comfort to teachers and parents who are fearful for the same reasons I was. The added benefit of storage makes iCurio even more student friendly. Now I know where my personal children will search for information on future school projects. Maybe I can actually cook dinner while my children search the internet with iCurio!

Discovery Education brings experts into the classroom.
I think students love field trips because they get out of the classroom, and they get to hear another person's voice. Teachers like field trips for almost the same reasons. They get out of the classroom and another person gets to teach the children. Discovery Education is the best of both worlds. Children get to go on mini field trips, an expert on the subject they are discovering discusses the content, and the teacher does not have to study vast amounts of information in an attempt to become an expert in subjects they may have little or no desire to explore. Discovery Education brings the expert into the classroom in a format that combines listening and watching to teach, explore and engage students in content in an in depth manner that would be difficult for a lone teacher. Discovery Education is a virtual extension of the classroom teacher.

A New Teacher's Top 5 Things to Ponder
Anthony and Dr. Strange came up with this list of 5 things a new teacher may want to consider. I have a feeling the next 5 things will be coming soon.
1. Be interested in learning.
2. Teaching is hard, but combining work and play makes planning fun and teaching fun.
3. Be flexible, creative and ready to respond to spontaneous situations.
4. Start with the end in mind. Consider what outcome you desire and find content that motivates students.
5. Reflect on what and how you are teaching.

Technology... don't teach it, introduce it smartly.
I have to defend my generation for a moment. Yes, technology can be difficult to learn and intimidating to utilize. The stages of life, primarily parenting, make it difficult to dedicate time to learning new things. I have used this as an excuse and, even today,have to come up with creative ways to carve out time to learn and use technology. I am thankful that EDM 310 is forcing me out of the nest. This class is a wonderful tool that not all folks have access to. Ok, my rant is over.
It seems like the gist of this conversation is another motto for EDM 310, new teachers and those people stepping out of the analog age and into the digital age. "Introduce technology smartly and do it yourself, first, so you will understand the problems students/others are having as they begin using it."

Don't try eating a meal in a single bite.
When planning lessons begin with the yearly snap shot as a road map. But it is in the daily lessons that students board the life long learning train. Anthony gives 4 practical suggestions when considering lesson planning.
1. Have curriculum in mind to ensure all content standards are covered.
2. Consider the unit being taught and the ways you will unpack the lesson.
3. Look at your weekly goals and how each day will allow you to accomplish your goals.
4. Consider the daily lessons. This is how you will deliver information to students and measure what they are learning.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Blog Post #4

Black and white cartoon face with a question mark as the nose
What? Huh? Eh?
Asking questions is a necessary part of teaching. It gives feed back to potential understanding and, frankly, helps keep the students under control. But the more important question is, "Are my questions contributing to students' understanding, students gaining knowledge and growing in wisdom or, are my questions leading students down a dead end street?". The following video by Lourdes A explains four strategies for question asking. They include frequency, equitable distribution, prompting and repetition. Frequency refers to the number or how often questions are asked during a lesson. Equitable Distribution means each child has an opportunity to answer a question. Prompting requires more questions which lead students to discover or make connections. Repetition is asking a question again by rephrasing or repeating it. Each strategy is important and, with time, a teacher's ability to use the strategies grows. It is also important to recognize when to use each strategy. Asking students what they know about a topic can help them gain confidence and communicates their importance as Maryellen Weimer, PhD explains. She also discusses the idea of preserving questions and playing with questions as a way of creating depth of understanding and expressing to students their worth and the importance of questioning.
As educators its important to ask lots of questions that make students consider what they know and that possibly, just maybe, there are ideas, concepts, experiences, lessons or things they do not already know. It is through asking a variety of questions that students are led from the dark into the light of understanding.

C4T#1 Meet Vicki Davis

C4T#1 Comment#1

Vicki Davis
Today I met Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher. She has a soft spot in her heart for technology beginners and has included Tips For Beginners in her blog. Check it out!
Today's blog post contained an article written by Silvia Tolisano. The conversation between these global educators revealed an example of how story boarding and script writing enabled a class of fourth and fifth graders to help a poet publish his book of poems. Through the use of blogging and Twitter, Mrs. Tolisano was able to meet Mike Fisher a New York poet. Mrs. Tolisano then collaborated with him to have her fourth and fifth grade students create the illustrations for his ebook. The students had to imagine their audience as they created story boards. Story boards are a brain storming technique that allows students to imagine the who, what, when and where of their writing. This process was the spring board for their illustrations.

Mrs. Davis encouraged me to let go of my fear of technology. She believes that the purpose of a teacher is to give students a variety of options by which they can learn. Some students will use classroom resources, but others will use the technology available outside the class room such as Google, YouTube or other online tutorials. Students are not afraid of going viral or global, and I should not be afraid either.

C4T#1 Comment#2
It has been 2 weeks since my last post after visiting Vicki Davis at Cool Cat Teacher. But there has been lots of activity during those weeks. Today I listened to Vicki Davis, Thomas Murray, and Katrina Stevens discuss Exciting New Ways to Teach Writing With Digital Tools. They explained that digital tools equip teachers to teach students how to write for the 21st century audience because, as Tom Murray said, "Students used to write for their teacher and refrigerator. Now, they write for the world." They were able to point me toward tools that would engage students in the writing process, provide immediate feedback from teachers and students' real audience (on the Wed), and resulted in a paperless classroom. How snazzy does that sound?! A special message came through to me as I listened. This message addressed the fear of technology. Vicki commented that teachers not be afraid to share or get it wrong. How comforting that message is to me.
Here are a few of the tools the group mentioned. I am happy to say that I have installed Drop Box and am going to explore it further!!
Kid Blog
Class Tool
Drop Box

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blog Post #3

Be Kind And Carry A Pretty Colored Pen
Cartoon man sitting at a desk with a black board that has editing terms written in it behind him title=

I will never forget my senior year of high school and literature class. Mr. Butler's AP literature class kicked my butt! It seemed like every week we had to write a paper about something Shakespeare said or a poem I did not completely understand. I hated it! The worst part was all the red covering my papers once they were returned. My papers were always covered with red slashes, arrows, double underlined words and question marks. Everyone knew I was an awful writer based on all the red bleeding through my white paper. Maybe I would have felt better if Mr. Butler used a pink or purple pen. Maybe. I certainly would have grown as a writer if he would have taken the suggestions in What Is Peer Editing? and Peer Editing With Perfection Tutorial.

Peer Editing is a skill that requires practice. It is not a complicated task if the reviewer provides compliments about the work, offers suggestions to the errors found in the material being reviewed and shows the exact items needing corrections. Bringing someone's errors or omissions to light can feel awkward, but the process of peer reviewing is not an emotional decision. Both parties need to keep their feelings out of the equation and focus on ways to become better, more concise and articulate writers. I wish Mr. Butler would have given me suggestions on how to better describe situations or how to give more detail that supported my thesis. It would have given me more confidence to have him tell me something I had written that was correct, good or from a different perspective before he told me my mistakes. He was my teacher, not my peer, but the principles are the same. First, encourage. Second, suggest. Third, point out mistakes. Finally, do not invite your feelings.

Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes is a helpfully funny nuts and bolts guide to peer reviews.