Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16--Final Reflection/Final Exam

Part One:

This past semester in EDM 310 I have seen many different technology based tools and new ways to teach using these tools. In August I posted my first blog answering the question, If I built a school, what would it be like? . While I still agree with many of my ideas of the ideal school, there are many that I would change based on what I have learned in this class.

In my new dream school I would still be teaching a class of 2nd graders English and reading, while they will have other teachers teaching math, science, history, art, music, foriegn language, and PE. These classes would be very small because students can learn better when they are in smaller classes and have more of the teacher's attention. While I still feel that the idea of putting children into grades based on ability rather than age is great, there are many drawbacks making this plan very improbable. For one, students may get very discouraged if they do not pass a class and move ahead with their peers. However, this should still be an important factor in determining where students should be in school and what they need to focus on. Instead of the original testing, students will take one test at the begining of the year. This test will cover ACCRS standards that they should have learned in the previous year. After evaluating each student's test they will be put into small groups inside the class. These groups will stay together all year and students will work with each other in order to learn. Groups will all have a chance to work on the class computers (assume that there are only 2-3 per class and nobody has a personal device), complete group projects (PBL), and help each other study. While everyone in the group will have a similar deficiency they will all be able to help each other.

What do I want my students to know?

I would still expect my students to learn how to read, write, and speak with proper English grammar suitable for a 2nd grade level. While some cases have shown that teenagers and young adults sometimes use texting language when writing instead of correct English. While this is still a problem, students will still be encouraged to use technology as a learning tool. Students will be able to go onto the class webpage, that will be filled with links to safe, kid-friendly, educational games and resources relating to what is being learned in class, and use find webpages that will help them study and learn.

What do I want my students to be able to do?

Even after EDM 310 I still feel that it is important, especially for younger students who are still learning the basics of writing, to be able to write well both on paper and typed on a computer. Students will turn in writing assignments that are hand-written in class, but later either at home or in the school's library they will transfer the written sentences (or paragraph) to the computer and post it on their own personal blogs. This will allow for them to get feedback from many different people.

What will be my primary way of teaching my students what I want them to know and to do?

Primarily I will use PBL (project-based learning) in my classroom. This is a great way for students to learn and enjoy doing so. While students may sometimes object to having to work in a group and having their grades depend on others, this is a good way to have students teach themselves and be fully involved in the learning process. These projects would only be assigned after the teacher goes over the needed material. While it is important for students to be engaged and trying to find answers for themselves, they are still only in 2nd grade and need guidence and a little help.

What tools will I use in my classroom?

While I still feel that teaching reading can be achieved without the use of new technology tools, there are some benefits of these new technological devices. E-readers will be a very helpful tool to use in the classroom because most have a dictionary tool already on them. This will help young readers understand what they are reading. I still like the idea of doing art projects. This can be done through PBL, project based learning. This will more actively involve students in the learning process. I will also use Smartboard during lessons. This will help to keep students involved with learning on a daily basis. Skype will also be an important tool in my classroom. This will allow for students to hear from guest speakers more often, giving them a chance to hear from somebody else, who is a professional in a given field and may be better able to answer questions. Hopefully, students will feel more obligated to listen to a guest speaker and want to ask questions. While all of these new technology-based tools are very good and useful, it is still important that students learn how to learn without these tools. Students will have access to paper dictionaries and books and they will have some PBL activities that are not computer or other technology tool based.

What role will students play in my classroom? How will they participate in the learning process?

Students will play a very active role in the classroom. EDM 310 has shown me the advantages of PBL. These projects will require students to work together to find an answer to a problem or question. Students will be actively looking for information while doing a fun and engaging project. While in my first post I said that I would focus on group work is still accurate. The group work will be even better because it will be project based. I believe that having the students active in the learning process will make them interested in learning and want to continue to do so.

Part Two:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post # 15--What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher?

In Art Karshmer's video "Teaching Math to the Blind" he addresses the issue of how teachers teach basic mathematics to blind students. This past semester I've been taking Math for Elementary Teachers. In this class we have studied different ways to visually show students how basic mathematical principles work, such as counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Throughout the entire semester of drawing pictures and diagrams illustrating the problem I did not think about how a blind student could learn these ideas. Art Karshmer opened my eyes to the dilemas that special needs students would have with any subject. In his video he shows one tool that has been proven useful to blind students. He uses small blocks with numbers written on them in both print and braille. Students can put these blocks onto a grid so that the problem can be set up the same way that any student would set it up on paper. This may not seem to be a very advanced technology tool, it helps many students learn mathematics.

In today's world there are numerous tools that teachers can use in order to help special needs children learn any and every subject. It is important for any teacher, whether specializing in special ed or not, to know the different resources available and how to use them in order to better the life of all students.Sarah Irvine Belson lists a few tools that help blind students learn mathematics.

Audio Aids help students who cannot see to read the problem. This is computer based and will simply read the exact problem to the student to hear. The only problem with this tool is that as the problems get more and more complex students have a difficult time solving the problem after just hearing a computer read it to them.
Tactile Representations show the problem through braille. Like Art Karshmer said in his video, the problem with using braille to show a mathematical equation is that braille is linear, meaning that while most students set up math problems vertically visually impaired students will be at a major disadvantage in learning.
Tonal Representations show graphs to blind students by playing musical tones. This is a great way to represent data that is typically limitied to visual aids. The problem with this tool is that, like tactile representations, it is not very effective with more complicated math problems
Haptic Devices are ways to show as shape to a blind student. This can be used for both two-dimentional and three-dimentional shapes. While this tool is an excellent way to show non-numeral data to visually impaired students, it is very expensive and many schools cannot afford this technology.
Sarah Belson states on her webpage that these tools and methods can be used together based on each individual student. This is true for any student learning any subject. While this list of tools ranges from very technologically advanced systems to braille, these tools allow for visually impaired students to learn math with as little extra difficulty as possible.

Haley Marrs


What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? Select a few and discuss how they may be useful to you.

Being a teacher in the 21st century means that there are an infinite amount of assistive technologies available at our fingertips. This neat video, demonstrated by Wesley Majerus, is titled iPad usage for the blind. Wesley gives us an insight on what it's like for a blind person to use a new technology on an iPad made specifically for blind people. This software allows Wesley to control the iPad primarily with his fingertips as he double taps and uses swipes of his fingers to move around. This software is something effective that any teacher could have in their classroom if they have a blind student. It would be useful when the other students are using computers or iPads so no one is left out.
While researching the topic of assistive technologies, I came across this TeachThought website. The author has complied a list of 8 helpful assistive technology tools for the classroom.

- Screen Readers: These are described as programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer.
- Word Talk: This program can read aloud any document written in Word and create audio files that can be saved. Students with reading disabilities can use screen readers to help them understand course materials. This is free.
- Word Prediction: Available to help students with writing challenges.
- Supernova Access Suite: A complete screen reader with natural sounding speech and integrated screen magnifier with Braille display support.
- Video Magnifiers: Sometimes described as a form of closed-circuit television that uses a video camera to display a magnified image on a monitor or television screen. Students with low vision can use them to read their course materials with greater ease.
- Close Captioning and Subtitling: Enables deaf students to watch the same online video material as their colleagues. This makes it easier for them to participate in online courses that offer video lectures of their professors.
- FaceMouse: For students with limited mobility, FaceMouse turns a standard webcam into a mouse operator, allowing students to use their head and facial gestures to perform a number of tasks, including pointing the cursor, clicking on sites, or typing on the keyboard.
- Sip-and-Puff Systems: Makes computer use easier for students with mobility challenges, including paralysis and fine motor skill difficulties. Sip-and-puff systems allow users to control a mouthstick, similar to a joystick, using their breath. Students can direct the mouthstick to click on web pages, type, and perform other functions.

Any of these tools could be useful in any classroom that has students with learning disabilities. All you have to do is a little research and you are guaranteed to find something that works in your classroom.

A. Teaching Hearing and Vision Impaired Children
By: Kayla Szymanski

While researching Teaching Assistive-technology To Students Who Are Bling or Visually Impaired, I found they have an abundance of resources. When you go to the site they have the following choices you can read about: CSB Assistive Technology Center, Environmental Considerations for Assistive Technology, Overview of Assistant Technology, Principals of Assistant Technology for Students with Visual Impairments, Special Education Technology British Columbia Index, and Virtual Instruction. What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology can be defined as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." (-National Institute of Standards and Technology) Basically the goal of assistive technology is to give students with disabilities access to literacy and communication in their school, home, and community. While teaching it is essential to have background information on each student. Do they have medical eye conditions, or other diagnoses? Have they completed the Learning/ Literacy Media Assessment? Have they completed the Vision Assessment? Also before teaching your students make sure the classroom environment had adequate lighting, positioning, glare, and contrast control. If students are having trouble with text make sure the following steps are properly followed: font style, font size, color, boldness, and the layout of the font. Here are some characteristics of a student who might be a likely candidate for a print reading program: Uses vision efficiently to complete tasks at near distances. Shows interested in pictures and demonstrates the ability to identify pictures and or elements within pictures. Has a stable eye condition. These students may use optical aids such as eye glasses, magnifiers, or telescopes. Using computer technology is great for assisting students with disabilities. We now have access to enlarging software, called Zoomtext. Screen Readers is another great tool, this tool is a text to speech program which reads text aloud to students. Another tool is Tactile Access, this is a refreshable Braille displays they can be hooked up to a computer and it then displays a line of braille.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

C4T #4

For this C4T assignment I was given the chance to read David Wees' blog. He writes about mathematics in schools and for children. I find all of his posts very interesting.

The first post of his that I read is titled "Why Teach Math?". This instantly caught my attention. In this post he asked why schools taught math to every student, even though many would not need this skill.

My comment was: This is a very interesting post. I have always wanted to know why I had to learn math. I am currently studying Elementary Education and have absolutely no use for algebra or calculus. This is a very interesting way of answering that question. Having math taught in schools so that students could gain a different understanding of the world seems probable. The one point that I can see as extremely important in math is problem-solving skills. This is always helpful and is found in every grade level's math class. A third advantage to students learning math that you did not mention is simply for them to be well-rounded individuals. I'm not sure this is a real reason, but it was something my school always stressed. This was a very interesting blog post and helped me to be able to finally think of an answer to that question.

The second post of his that I read is titled "Learning About Shape". This was a very interesting post. He describes how his 20 month old son is learning to match shapes in a puzzle. He explains how his son went from guessing to looking at each shape to match it to the correct hole.

My comment was: This is extremely interesting. I have seen many children play with this type of puzzle and only seem to be able to match certain shapes, but then not understand at all to recognize a circle or square somewhere else, like your son. Your last comment is extremely interesting. You said, "It makes me wonder what concepts my students may not have fully developed, even by the time they arrived to me in high school." This is very troubling and true. I personally know that I could not always use information from one area in a different area, even though it is the exact same concept. As an elementary education major I find this fascinating and worrisome because many students, especially young children, would seem to have this problem.

Blog Post #14--What was left out?

Blog Post: Are traditional projects still functional and compatible in the 21st century? Can you transform one of you're old projects?

Create a quality blog post explaining a typical day in YOUR old elementary school classroom (K5-6th). You can describe a typical day with something you learned or a project you enjoyed. Then create a Google Presentation where you recreate this lesson plan/project using a 21st century technology tool to enhance the lesson/project. DO NOT BAD-MOUTH OR PUT DOWN A TEACHER!!!!

4th Grade Science Project--The Digestive System

In fourth grade we were studying the human body in science. My teacher, Ms. Spenser, created an amazing project! We made digestive system t-shirts. This became a huge project for us. We drew our digestive system on the t-shirt and got to have a "party" in class that Friday; this day was called "Inside-Out Day. We all wore our t-shirts and we each brought some excellent, and healthy, food. While we ate, Ms. Spenser told us how the food we ate affected our digestive systems. For many of my classmates and I this was the first nutrition lesson we had and the first time we really began to understand how our bodies worked. I can still remember this lesson today and keep her nutritional information in mind.

4th Grade Science Project--The Digestive System

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13--What Can We Learn from the TED Talks?

Video #2 Turning Trash into Toys for Learning By:Arvind Gupta By:Alyssa Sherman

In Arvind Gupta's talk he shows different toys that children can make themselves for very little or no cost. Many of these toys are based on a scientific priciple, such as a motor or a whistle made from a straw. These toys can be used in a classroom as tool to teach with while keeping students interested and active. The main thing that any teacher or soon-to-be-teacher can learn from this talk is that while it is important for students to be active participants in the learning process, this does not mean that classrooms must use the latest technology. Many schools are not able to afford computers or tablets for that classrooms and the students often don't have access to these devices at home. This is when it becomes important for teachers to get creative and use the resources they have available, such as straws, paper clips, batteries, and newspapers. Arvind Gupta proves in his demonstration that computers are not neccessary to teach and engage students, but rather for teachers and adults to be creative and show children what can be done with the simplest things.

One of the most striking statements that Arvind Gupta said was how "the best thing a child can do to the toy is to break it." This is interesting because most people would think the opposite, especially if resources are scarce. What good is a broken toy?Many people use the phrase "you learn more from failure than you do from success". The same applies when children create toys. They can better learn how it works and the science behind their invention by breaking it apart and testing different situations. In the video Gupta demonstrates how the sound changes in his straw whistle when you cut off the end. This would never have been discovered if not for testing it and "breaking" the original toy. Children are naturally curious so it makes sense that they would want to try experimenting with their home-made toys.

Video #5 A Girl Who Demanded a School By: Kakenya Ntaiya By:Raven Williams

There is a group of people in Kenya called the Maasai. Boys are meant to be warriors and the girls are meant to be mothers. Kakenya Ntaiya was engaged at five years old and was supposed to be married when she hit puberty. At the age of puberty, Maassai women participate in a ceremony that the community considers a rite of passage. Female circumcision is part of the ceremony. Kakenya realized that after the ceremony she could no longer peruse her dream of being a teacher because she would have to quit school. She made a deal with her father: She would undergo the traditional Maasai rite of passage of female circumcision if he would let her go to high school. Her father agreed to avoid shame from the community. After she finished high school she received a scholarship to Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Virginia. After she arrived in America and began college she learned that the ceremony she went through involved genital mutilation and was illegal in Kenya. When she returned to Kenya she decided she wanted to find a way to give back to her community. She built a school for girls because she wanted them to have a place to feel safe. Because of Kakenya Ntaiya, there are 125 girls that will never have to be mutilated or be married at the age of 12. At the end of the video Kakenya says " be the first: people will follow".

Video #6 Teach Arts and Sciences Together By: Haley Marrs

For this assignment I chose to watch #6 Mae Jemison: Teach arts and sciences together(2002). Mae is a very intelligent and inspirational woman. She begins her lecture by stating what she believes is most important. She says that we need revitalize the arts and sciences. She points out that what we do today will be vital in the future. In the future the world will be building on the basic knowledge and discoveries that we come up with today. Just like now, we are building off of ideas that are from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. We have to ask ourselves: What are we contributing to that legacy right now? Jemison says she is skeptical that we are doing much of anything. In a sense, we are failing to act in the future. We are purposely lagging behind. "Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill or betray it." - Frantz Fannon Our mission should be to reconcile science and the arts. We think of science and arts as two separate things, which probably dates back to centuries ago but it is critical now. We make decisions every day and if we don't bring them back together we may have problems in the future. Jemison claims some people say science and scientists are not creative. Some people may say artists are not analytical. When these concepts underly our teaching we have a problem. No one wants to be uncreative. No one wants to be illogical. Jemison also states that back in the 60's people had hope for the future. People had wonderful ideas. Many things that are cool today are based on those concepts. Jemison took certain objects with her when she went into space and when asked why her answer was simple. The items that she took represented human creativity. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein

Video #7: Teaching One Child At A Time By:Kayla Szymanski

Shukla Bose presents a presentation about a foundation she started at her kitchen table called, "Educating Our Poor, more than just a number game." She went and visited some of India's slums and found tons of poverty stricken children who would never have the opportunity to attend school. This breaks my heart, I recently took a mission trip to the Honduran slums and this video reminds me of all the children I came in contact with. In the city I was staying in, the life span of a Honduran man was 50 years of age. As a teacher we will never know what are students are going through. Mrs. Shulka talks about how daily they would play with the children and be exhausted, but when they went home they would have the memory of each smiling face they came in contact with that day. She talks about millions of children who actually attend school but cannot do basic math, and have problems in other academic areas. But Shulka says they are not in the number game. She wants to focus on one child at a time, getting them into college and into a successful job. She taught 165 children in a roofless building, she also teaches their parents in an after schooling program. Mrs. Shukla has an amazing story and an awesome love for teaching, she is truly an inspiration. I admire her for so many reasons, one being that I have been there and saw how these children live day to day. Being a new teacher we need to keep in mind that all of our students will not be perfectly dressed, groomed, or even have a stable home. This is why we have to make sure and help each child individually, some children might need extra attention that others will not. Shulka states that children have to believe that change is possible. In a poverty stricken world she has given each of these children hope, hope in becoming more than their parents could ever imagine. This, in my opinion, is the definition of a true teacher.

C4K November Summary

Stacking Bottle Tops

Last week I read a post on Ms. George's class blog where two young girls made a bridge by stacking bottle tops. They posed the question of how many bottle caps were used. This is a great activity for the girls because it let them be creative and think about the best way to construct a model bridge.

My comment was:Hi, my name is Alyssa. I'm a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. This bridge is wonderful and a great use of bottle tops! I think you used at least 200 bottle tops. Keep us the fantastic work!!

Ghost Story

The week before I read the post of a young boy who told a ghost story. This was fantastic! This short story let him be creative in school while promoting writing. This was one of the best C4C posts I have seen all year. He really got into the short story and wrote very well for his grade level.

Project #7--This is My Passion Video

Project #7--This is My Sentence Video

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Post #12--Collaborative Assignment

What can we learn from Sir Ken Robinson?
Changing Education Paradigms: By: Kayla Szymanski
Sir Robinson starts his video by describing several changes that are taking place in our public school systems across the globe. He talks about our economic future, and our cultural beings. Mr. Robinson simply states that people today are trying to meet their future needs by following in the footsteps of the past. Today in our society an educational degree will not guarantee a good career. In fact technology is becoming so rapid in our school systems, teachers will almost be obsolete in the future. Mr. Robinson also states how students diagnosed with ADHD are constantly distracted by their electronic devices. This makes you wonder, if we could channel our teaching strategies to match their technological lives maybe they wouldn't be so distracted? Bringing technology into the classroom is the best way to fill the gap between your teaching techniques, and the way they live their everyday life. Technology gets your students involved, they are no longer bored, and they arIn e always engaged. This video is a great inspiration to all starting out teachers, it will open you eyes and show you that the old ways of teaching are not acceptable anymore. Why would you teach in a outdated way, your only hindering your students ability to learn? Near the end of Mr. Robinson's lecture he says that the most great learning experiences come from group activities. This video basically is trying to portray that the school systems need to get away from standardization and go to divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the essential capacity for creativity and to see multiple answers, not just one. Instead of teaching memorization skills, teachers should try and enforce the importance of using your imagination and creativity in everyday life. This video will open your eyes to the problems of how student are being taught in our educational school systems today. The entire idea of EMD310 I think, is to stop this cookie cutter mold that society has put on teachers, and teaching methods.

How to Escape Education's Death Valley By: Raven Williams

How to Escape Education's Death Valley
By: Ken Robinson

In this video, Ken Robinson speaks about the problems with No Child Left Behind and the educational system in America. He says that No Child Left Behind is ironic because millions of children are being left behind. 60% of kids are dropping out of school in some parts of the country, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. He believes that education in America is going in the wrong direction. No Child Left Behind is based on conformity instead of diversity. He says that human beings are naturally diverse and that no two children are the same. NCLB focuses on standardized tests instead of focusing learning in all subjects. He believes that standardized tests are important, but they should not be the dominant part of education.

He also said that the role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. Education cannot be improved if you do not pick great people to teach and give them constant support for professional development. At the end of the video he compares the educational system to death valley. It is hot, dry, and nothing there will grow. Death valley received 7 inches of rain in the winter of 2004. The floor of the valley was covered in flowers in the spring. He concluded that death valley isn't dead, it is only dormant.

The Importance of Creativity By: Alyssa Sherman

In this video Sir Ken Robinson explains how modern education standards effects children's creativity. This video was very interesting and informative. Sir Robinson says that because the standards of education and intelligence are aimed at the typical "acedemic" subjects, such as math, science, language, and social sciences, children are steered away from any creativity or talents they may have in the arts. The lesson he tells listeners is that teachers should allow students to be creative and do what they are naturally talented in. A student who is a dancer should not be forced to sit still in class to study math and science. This is an extremely important lesson to learn as future teachers. Not every student will succeed by siting and listening to a lecture on science, or other acedemic class. Teachers must be ready and willing to encourage students to be creative and do what they feel is right. Sir Ken Robinson makes an excellent point that everyone involved in education should be aware of and follow.

Sir Ken Robinson - Bring on the learning revolution! By:Haley Marrs

There are two types of people in this world: People who enjoy what they do and endure it and people who love what they do and speak to their authentic selves.
Education keeps people from their natural talents. Talents must be searched for because they will not be lying on the surface. In education we need change. We need a revolution - it needs to be transformed into something else. Abraham Lincoln is quoted saying "We must rise with the occasion; not to it". I like this quote because he is saying we must be engaged. Ken points out that most teenagers don't wear watches because adults grew up in a time when if you needed something you wore it. Kids these days are growing up in a digitized world - the time is everywhere. Life is not linear it is organic. By linear, Ken means we are on a track that we follow and if we follow it correctly we end up set for the rest of our life. By organic, Ken means we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to circumstances they help to create for us. He says the pentacle for education is getting into college, although not everyone needs to go to college. The heart of the challenge is to reconstitute our sense of ability and of intelligence. He discusses the fact that parents are competitive and kindergardeners are being interviewed these days. It is a bit ridiculous that such young children have to compete for a place in kindergarten. Human talent is tremendously diverse. People are often good at things that they don't really care for. Passion is to love the things you are good at. Ken says that we need to understand that learning is an organic process. The outcome cannot be predicted.

C4T#4 Post #1

This week I read an extremely interesting blog by David Wees, titled "Why teach math". This was so interesting because as a student I never understood why I had to learn math. I am an Elementary Education major who wants to teach 1st-3rd grade. Why do I need to know algebra and calculus. David tries to answer this question in his blog. He gives several possible reasons why teaching math is important: showing students a different way to think, problem-solving skills, and to "see the beauty and elegance of mathematics". I agree with these reasons as possible answers.

In response to his post I commented:

This is a very interesting post. I have always wanted to know why I had to learn math. I am currently studying Elementary Education and have absolutly no use for algebra or calculus. This is a very interesting way of answering that question. Having math taught in schools so that students could gain a different understanding of the world seems probable. The one point that I can see as extremely important in math is problem-solving skills. This is always helpful and is found in every grade level's math class. A third advantage to students learning math that you did not mention is simply for them to be well-rounded individuals. I'm not sure this is a real reason, but it was something my school always stressed. This was a very interesting blog post and helped me to be able to finally think of an answer to that question.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this blog and finally have an answer to my question!

Project #15-Project Based Learning Plan #3

Sunday, November 3, 2013

C4T #3 Summary

This month I have read a lot of interesting blogs by teachers. Today, however I read the most interesting one.

Today I read Michael Kaechele's blog, Concrete Classroom. In his most recent post Reboot Buggy he shows how in today's society people are more likely to buy something than to make it themselves. He shows a video where he makes a care himself. This process makes it more important. I couldn't agree more that making something adds value and meaning.

I commented: "Hi. I’m a student at the University of South Alabama studying Elementary Education. This idea of things that are important to us were not just bought in the store. Like you stated, so many people just buy stuff, but never make anything. I cannot imagine building a car, but I can see how that would make it truly special. I hope to one day use this idea in my classroom. Many students will buy or have their parents buy them toys. I remember making silly putty in a science class and it was the best! This was because I made it myself. This idea you posted is really important!"

C4K Summary for October

This month I have read and commented on various students' blogs. While the students, grade level, and subject matter are all different there is one striking similarity between them: none of the students are using proper grammar in their posts. While this is understandable in lower grades the question remains, are they really learning how to properly write? Many elementary teachers say that blogging helps students to learn to write and be creative. How can this be if the students aren't writing properly? I have not seen any comments from anyone, even the teacher, correcting spelling, punctuation, or grammar. I feel that these issues should be addressed so students can learn from their mistakes in order to properly write in the future.

While younger students will inevitably make mistakes, older students should have better writing. Today I read a post by a 7th grader. In his most recent post, he shared a picture he drew of his favorite book's cover. He also wrote a few sentences about it. Unfortunately, he did not capitalize the beginning of each sentence. This is fairly basic grammar that a 7th grader should understand.

While I feel like this is a major issue with his post, I did not want to comment on it. It is not a guest's place to correct grammar, but should he go on not realizing? This is a issue for me. You want to be polite when visiting someone else's page, but you should still be truthful and helpful.

Project #12 Part A Smartboard Instruction

Blog Post #11

In Ms. Cassidy's video, Little Kids...Big Potential, the students show us viewers everything they have done in class. They use blogs, a class webpage, Wikis, videos, skype, and Nintendo DS. The students discussed what they used each tool for and how they liked them. When I begin teaching I will also like to try some of these tools. I will definitely use a class webpage. Ms. Cassidy's webpage has links to any helpful tools or educational games she would like her students to use. This is a great idea because it keeps all the safe and useful Internet sites in one place so that the young students do not get where they shouldn't be. After seeing this video I can see how tools such as blogs can be good. I was very hesitant to use blogs with young children due to safety concerns. Ms. Cassidy's skype interview with Dr. Strange helped with that concern. She says that she tells her students not to put any pictures of themselves or their last names online. While this aspect may be safe what about other people's comments? Would students end up in a situation where they were talking online with strangers? This still has be worried. Skype also seems like a very useful tool. I will try to use this in the future so that my students can speak to experts in whatever subject we're studying and other students so that they can learn together.

However, I am unsure about using some of these tools in a 2nd grade class. Her use of the Nintendo DS was very creative, but it doesn't seem to really teach anything. I played Nintendogs when I was younger and from what I remember there was absolutely no educational value. I'm sure the children learned how to work together and take care of a pet, but this same lesson can be achieved through group projects and a class goldfish. I feel like the students will focus more on playing the game and beating high goals or other groups than thinking about lessons learned. Ms. Cassidy also mentioned using Twitter and Facebook in her class. Again, my concern here is about safety. Anybody can get on these websites and see what the children are doing. The kids can also speak to anybody. A second concern here is that I know my parents would never have allowed me to have a Facebook or Twitter as a kid if they existed. I wasn't allowed on the Internet until 4th grade and I couldn't have a Facebook until 8th or 9th grade, and they had to be friends and watch. What if one of the student's parents felt this way and refused to allow their child to participate? Ms. Cassidy said that she sent home a letter at the beginning of the year, but what if they didn't like the idea?

These videos have shown me many different tools that can be used in a classroom that I never thought of. I will keep all these in mind while continuing my education and proceeding to my teaching career.

Project #10 Interview Movie

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post 10 What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning from Randy Pausch?

In Randy Pausch's last lecture, Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, he starts off by mentioning his impending death due to cancer. He states that he is not going to speak about that nor was he worried, because you cannot control everything and must work with what you have. This is a good first lesson to learn for teachers: don't worry if you don't have a perfect situation, work with what you have. In many classrooms, not all students will know the same informations, be on the same learning level, or have all necessary equipment. While it may be hard to deal with, not having a perfect classroom, one must press on.

He continues on to show his childhood dreams and how he fulfilled them. The main lesson here is to never give up! While Randy hit many obstacles, or brick walls, he kept pushing. As he said the point of brick walls are not to keep you out but to make sure you really want it. After he achieved his dreams, he wanted to make other people's childhood dreams come true. This is very important for future educators to think about. As Randy says, childhood dreams are important. Many children create their dreams based on their experience. As future teachers, it is our responsibility to interest students so that they can dream. Teachers are also the first resource for young dreamers. We will be giving students the knowledge and tools necessary to one-day achieve their dreams.

A third lesson anyone can learn from Randy is what he called a "Head Fake". Randy uses the example of sports. While many children are put into sports. Parents want their kids to, of course, learn how to play football or how to score a touchdown, there are always other lessons to be learned. These are called "head fakes", lessons like working with others, hard-work... This should always be considered while teaching. During any group project these lessons become more useful and needed.

Randy Pausch is an inspiration to so many people, teachers, students, anyone who is willing to watch his lecture. I will keep his points in mind throughout my education and in the future during my teaching career. I hope many others will also find inspiration in him.

Project #14

Sunday, October 20, 2013

C4T #3

This week I had the opportunity to read Jen Deyenberg's blog Trails Optional. Recently he posted about a new Google tool, Read & Write. This seems like a very useful tool. It allows students to hear what they write. This will help with pronunciation and making sure the correct word is typed. This toolbar also allows for students to use spell check, a dictionary, a translator, and more. The best part about this Google tool is that students can access this from any computer simply by logging in. Educational tools will no longer be tied to school computers. This will "put the necessary pieces at the fingertips of learners who need them."

My comment in response to this post was:

Hi. I’m an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I found this post very interesting. At home, my dad, a medical school teacher, is always referring to the cloud and how useful it is for him and his students. Its good to know that this tool can be very useful to any classroom. I really like this idea of students being able to access these helpful tools anywhere. I never realized such a tool existed. Thanks for the new knowledge! I hope to one day use this in my classroom.

Blog Post # 9 What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From These Teachers

1. Brian Crosby, Agnes Risley Elementary School, Sparks, Nevada

In Brian Crosby's video lecture he shared what his 4th grade class was doing to learn science. Through his lecture, we have found that there is a lot to learn. He said how he was able to turn a class of high-risk, non-English speakers into a high-achieving class. This alone is amazing! He continues to say how this class was able to complete a massive project based on sending a balloon up with a camera and radio in order to observe the different layers of the atmosphere. This project was achieved by using technology and working with students at a local university. Not only did the students have to set up and complete this project, but they also had to then write about it. Each student made a story based on his or her observations after viewing the video. The stories were about the experience of going up into the air as the balloon.

The most important lesson here to learn is that any student, no matter where he or she comes from or what his or her background is, can achieve anything. The lesson for any teacher or future teacher is that it is our responsibility to provide the opportunity and help to these children. Teaching is a very difficult job, but in order to properly teach one must be willing to work with students as much as needed and not to give up just because students may not know much at first. In this video Brian Crosby starts off telling the audience that most of his students did not know what city, state, country, or street they lived in, nor what their own phone numbers were. This can be very discouraging to any teacher. But he did not let this lack of knowledge stop him or his students! He was able to help them learn and head towards a brighter future. This is the ways teaching should be, motivating all students to succeed and learn. This also shows that learning is not as many people view it. Learning can be achieved by anyone as long as he or she is willing to work.

The last part of the video shows Crosby's determination to teach and help every student learn. He was informed that he would have a new student join his class, the only problem was that she couldn't come to school because she suffered from Leukemia and her immune system was gone. Instead of just dismissing her, Crosby thought of a plan. She could come to class via Skype. The end shows one of the Skyped classes were she was able to learn alongside her classmates. This is truly remarkable and should be an example for every teacher to learn by. No matter the obstacle a student may face, the teacher should never give up or dismiss a student.

2.) Mr. Paul Anderson: High School AP Biology Elementary School Teacher also known as "Bozeman science". He has a website that explains what he has been doing for the past 20 years as a science teacher. He has created over 100 science videos that students can view via the web. His videos are made in a way that will grab each students attention and have been viewed over a million times. On most of his videos he has created a small box that shows him actually lecturing while the video is still in motion. He explains each module and diagram, while talking inside the box.

His videos include:

AP Biology, AP chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Educational, Next generations science standards, Physics, Statistics and Graphing.

This is a great resource that he is contributing to the world of education. Each student, teacher, or professor can watch these videos and have a tutor in one click. By allowing his videos to be on the web he has made having to pay a tutor and spending time to meet up with your tutor, extinct. His work doesn't stop there, each video can be translated to Spanish, Mongolian, or Japanese.

While looking around his page we found a "How to Use Video game Tactics in the Classroom". Click here to watch Mr. Anderson's video. This video will explain how to engage your students while teaching in your classroom. While the students are having fun they are also learning, this is the main goal of this teaching method.

Making Thinking Visible

3) Mark Church is a 6th grader teacher at an International School in Amsterdam. Church asks his students to group together to discuss a video presented to them about the origins of society. Each group will better understand the material by discussing a puzzle and collaboratively they will come up with a headline that summarizes what it is all about. He says previously he has asked his students to think about how they their ideas and thinking has been extended. Now he asks them to think about the challenge the puzzle presents. Church gives each group a piece of paper to create a headline that captures what the challenge of the search of human origins is all about. The students continue to trade ideas and work together on their headlines through the remainder of the video. Church talks about each headline with the class and says in two weeks he will go back and talk about how things have changed. I think from Church we learn that working collaboratively is important in building social skills. It is also important to ensure that students are engaged and understand the material that is being taught to them.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Project #9 Podcast

Blog Post # 8

Collaborative Post

This new millennium was brought in with a dramatic revolution of technology. We now live in a diverse, globalized, and complex, media-saturated society. Today's Kindergartner's will be retiring from their jobs in 2067. We as teachers have no idea what the world will be like in 60 years, or how technology will be used. This is why future educators have to look to technology as their main teaching aids. Emerging technologies and resulting globalization also provide unlimited possibilities for exciting new discoveries and developments. During our scavenger hunt this week our group has researched and came up with three different ways we can be effective teachers in the 21st century.

Alyssa Sherman

In recent years many schools have added smart boards to classrooms. With this tool, teachers can set up lessons on the board in advance and while still using their computers. When I was in middle school they were first brought into my school's classrooms. They were always very useful but we students never got to use them. There was also no way for us to take the lesson on the board home. Now there is a new app for iPads called "Show Me". This tool is very much like a smart board, except students are able to download this free app and work along with the lesson. Teachers can write anything they wish to write on their show me board and save it for future use. In addition, there is a record button so that students can actually see the teacher work out a problem or write something down in order. Teachers can show this in class and instead of having to waste class time writing they can start off by showing and then answering questions and better explaining any confusing steps. Students can go home (assuming that they have access to an iPad) and see the lesson again at home. This app is also a great tool for teachers and students to use because students can also see lessons from other teachers. This is a great way for students to learn if they are having a hard time understanding a certain topic.

As an example I made a show me lesson teaching how to solve the equation 1+2. The first step was to click the record button so that students could see the step by step method. Then you just speak as if you were in a classroom and "write". When you are done with the lesson you simple save and share to your class.

Students will also be able to use this tool. It can be used in test preparation, group projects, or just to help them better understand the material. If students make a show me as if they were teaching the lesson, they will always better understand the material. Also, this app gives them a global audience to work with.

Kayla Szymanski

I have chosen a tool named animoto, this is a website you can go to and create videos. Basically this is a site where you can upload pictures and make slideshows with text. This is different from Power point or even Google presentations because the background moves while the video is playing. You have the opportunity to pic your style, music, and text. These videos allow personality and creativity. The students will be able to show what they have learned through a video presentation. In three easy steps you can have a fascinating presentation that will catch the attention of the entire class.

First thing you can when you get to animoto is choose which pictures you would like to use. The great thing about animoto is that your Facebook, Instagram, Piscasa, Flickr and any other web based albums are available. This tool is very relatable with 21st century students because most of them already have pictures uploaded to each of these sites. Having a tool that allows you to choose pictures from web based albums will save time and make it easier for our learners. You can also insert videos from YouTube, or make your own and insert it.

Next, you will be able to customize your style. This site allows you to choose from tons of backgrounds and themes. Here is a link that will show you all of the backgrounds they allow you to use: . During this step you can also add text or points you would like to talk about during your presentation.

Once you have finished your text, you are ready to share your presentation. This site allows you do download and embed your video to Faceboook, Youtube, Vimeo, Twiter and more.

Haley Marrs

By now, we are well aware of the countless educational tools available to teachers.iTunes U is one tool I find exceptionally useful for educators and students. iTunes U is a free tool through Apple iTunes where any college or university can upload courses available for anyone who wants to take them at no charge. With this being said, iTunes U has a multitude of educational classroom resources available. In addition to college courses there is also a section of iTunes U that focuses on K-12 Education. This makes iTunes U the perfect tool for any teacher or student. On top of having the some of the best resources in the world, such as Harvard and Stanford Universities, this tool is easy to use. Once you have downloaded iTunes all you have to do is select iTunes U on the main toolbar. A quick search of your topic, grade, school, or subject will leave you with plenty of content to explore and choose from. The searched content could be in the form of exciting videos, educational movies, elaborate PDF's, intriguing books, or lectures from some of the top professors in the world. I would like to use iTunes U in my classroom to help my students explore all the information that is available to learn. If I wanted to do a lesson on the Solar System I could do one simple search and find enough exciting content to entertain and teach my students for weeks. Another great thing about iTunes U is that you can use it on an iPad as well.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

C4K Summary for September

This month I have read some very different posts from different students. They all posted something relevant to their class and age. There were many differences in all of these posts, but there were some very troubling similarities. In every post that I read there were many, many grammatical mistakes.

For example, this week I got the opportunity to read Charles's blog "Silent Brain Teasers". What he wrote about was how in his class he and a partner had to communicate without speaking to one another. This had the potential to be an excellent blog. He briefly mentioned how difficult this task was. However, his message was very difficult to understand due to his sentence structure, or lack there of. I had to read these few sentences multiple times and still was unsure what he was trying to say. It seems that writing is not being taught in schools like it was when I was young.

This theme seems to not only run throughout the C4Ks but also the C4Cs. Why is this? This assignment has shown me how it seems that there is really a lack of emphasis in English grammar in today's schools. This may be because of many different causes but one must ask if computers are behind it. Even on Blogger, if I make a mistake while typing this the computer will let me know. Many students use these tools instead of actually learning the rules. This month I have seen numerous mistakes in the children's blogs. Every week I have to ask if they are not being taught these lessons or if they just don't take the time to proofread.

Project #2--PLN Progress Report

For my PLN I used Symbaloo. I put what I use for EDM 310 on the upper left-hand corner, any other school necessities are in the middle of the top, and my personal favorites are on the upper right-hand corner. This tool seems very useful to my school career and I plan to make more use of it as time goes on.

Project # 13

Blog Post #7

(Collaborative Assignment)

What can you learn from conversations with Anthony Capps? (#1-4)

While watching Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd grade teacher,Anthony tells us about his teaching experiences he recently has had. He is a third grade teacher in a Baldwin county Elementary school located in Gulf Shores. Dr. Strange asked Anthony how he approached project based learning in his 3rd grade class and what it involved. Anthony said that project based learning is constantly evolving; he mentioned that he uses PBL as a method of teaching. Most teachers will use projects at the end of a teaching unit to sum up or clarify that the students are comprehending what is being taught. But Anthony thinks that you should always use PBL as a method in which you learn. PBL is not only a way of showing the students that they own their own learning experience but it excited them because they are creating something as they discover the knowledge. Also, he stated that you have to create a project that uses all of the content that the students need to know and will be able to use during their assignment. He says that the goal to a good project is one that has an authentic audience; this makes the kids feel rewarded for the work that they do. Another goal is to make it relatable to the students interest, and, also, its a great idea to involve your community. When Anthony creates a project they all have to meet the state standards, for an example, one project included the students writing letters to our congressman; this allows for the language, history, and writing standards to be met all in one project.

Anthony also talks about ICurio and how he has used this tool in his 3rd grade class. He states that the students are able to log in and use it as a search engine. He allows students to store content that they think are valuable and it also allows the teachers to store what they think is valuable. This allows the students and teachers to have total organization online. You can add things and create your own folders with websites, audio, videos, and images; it's a great way to teach virtual organization. It is very useful and safe for students because only what the teacher allows will be on the ICurio site, so it is very child friendly. Also the students can save any work they are currently working on, so if the bell rings and its lunch time they can safely save everything they are working on and come back to it at a later time.

"A picture is worth a 1000 words and a video must be worth a million." -Anthony Capps

Whatever text article you can give a child if you give it with visual then they will retain a lot more information. You always should use an illustration when teaching and Discovery Ed is the perfect place to get it from. The students can also use Discovery Ed to find pictures and article on specific class related topics. Anthony uses Discovery Ed to bring certain text to life. The students are listener watchers, which means they listen and watch more today than they read or write. Dr. Strange states that: our goal as a teacher is to convert people as more than consumer of these products into users of these products or even better producers.

m "The Anthony-Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1"

This was a very interesting conversation to listen to. I feel like this list will become very helpful in my future teaching career. Dr. Strange and Anthony create a list of 5 different key issues that new teachers need to consider. First, teachers must be interested in learning. I feel that this idea is very important. In the past I have had teachers who had no interest in their subject or learning more about it. These were always the teachers I disliked. They made learning miserable and boring. The other teachers I have had were always looking for more or new information. Even teachers who had earned a PhD in their field were always eager to go look something up if a student asked them a question they did not know the answer to. The second point that Anthony and Dr. Strange made was that teachers need to be flexible. I know this point will become very useful to myself and other future teachers. In 11th and 12th grade I taught a 2nd-3rd and 3rd-4th grade Sunday School class. Because I only had 2-3 students I had to be very creative when coming up with lessons and projects. In addition, many weeks I would only have 1 student come. This made things even more challenging. This experience really makes me agree with this part of the list. The 3rd issue on the list is that teaching is hard work. This is very true. As a student I really can only imagine the work involved in making lessons, making homework, quizzes, and tests, grading these, and engaging students, and helping any student who might need a little extra explanation. Dr. Strange and Anthony also say that teaching is rewarding. From my brief experience teaching a small Sunday School class or teaching a young Girl Scout troop a new skill, this fact is very true; why else would so many people devote their lives to teaching. All new teachers should know this so that they know what they are getting into. The 4th issue is begin any plan with an end, meaning that always know what you want the end result to be. Again, flexibility is key here. The last issue is the get students engaged. Anthony says that the goal should be 100% engagement. This may seem like a very high, unlikely number, but like Anthony mentions "no child left behind". Why teach to the whole class if you only expect half to be interested and listening. I will always keep this goal in mind while teaching. Anthony and Dr. Strange share an extra 6th issue towards the end of the video that I think is very interesting. Sharing the final product with others. Having an audience makes many students want to do better and excites them. It also provides a way for students to reflect, the 6th issue on the list. Reflecting is very important. After a project is done many students want to simply relax, have fun, and not think about the topic anymore. This, however, is not a good idea. Dr. Strange and Anthony are very right to add this onto the list. I think that all of these issues are very important and I will keep them in mind and implement them when I begin my teaching career, as I believe all other future teachers should do!

#6)Title of Video: Don't Teach Tech- Use It

Link: Anthony Capps

By: Kayla Szymanski

Using technology in the classroom can be one of the best approaches in the 21 century. Technology is all around our students and they use it everyday, it comes completely natural to them. A great way to incorporate technology is to introduce these tools that are available like ICurio and Discovery Ed. Anthony explains how you can use technology weekly in your classroom. The first week of class he introduces the students to their new research tools. The following week they will then be assigned a research topic, for the research part they can use ICurio. Next they will have to research for a video that relates to their topic which can be done threw Discovery Ed. The final week Anthony explains how the students are then given a research project that may requires a movie component to it. There are many technologic tools that you can use in your classroom, and these are just two example of how Anthony Capps introduces them to his 3rd graders. The benefits of using technology is that it is completely free and the students get to create and design their projects in a unique manor. Sometimes there will be a one time fee for these technological tools. But what you have to remember is that when using technology the daily classroom supplies is no longer needed. This is a great way to ensure that your students will never run out of the materials during their learning process. Also it saves time in the classroom because it is clean. Anthony mentions how you don't have to clean up markers and spills, technology is the new way of learning.

#7) Additional Thought About Lessons
Written By: Haley Marrs

This brief video is a wonderful learning tool for future teachers. This conversation features Anthony Capps discussing the four layers of teaching lessons. He makes a nice humorous point when saying "if it's anymore than four layers I'm just going to cry". The four layers are broken down as follows:

- Yearly: When planning our lessons for the year Anthony recommends drawing out a map. We have to ask ourselves "Are you going to cover all of your content standards?"
- Unit: Learning should be stretched out to be taught over the course of the appropriate unit size. By the end of the unit students should be able to master the standards taught. A question to ask yourself is "Have you devised unit projects in a meaningful way that is connected throughout the unit?"
- Weekly: Units should be planned by weeks. Each week should require a learning goal to meet your course standards. "How can you cover material needed in one week?" Will your goal be met?
- Daily: Weeks should be planned by day. Daily lessons should focus on ways to deliver content to students in a way that will keep them engaged. It is important to measure learning each day so you know where to begin the next day.

I find it interesting that Anthony says each layer of learning is equally as important. He suggests that all layers must be done successfully to finish a lesson.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Project #8 Book Trailer

Blog Post #6 What Questions Do We Ask? How Do We Ask?

Like Ben Johnson, Joanne Chesley, and many others, I find the way teachers engage their class with questions very disturbing. One must find a better way to ask questions in order to be a better teacher. How can this be done? There are multiple ways.
Use Open-Ended Questions
Many teachers will ask their students closed-ended questions, or questions that can easily be answered by guessing "yes" or "no". For example a teacher may ask the class "Are flowers plants?". But students don't really have to think about answering this question, all they have to do is figure out yes or no. Students will learn better if they are forced to really think about what is being discussed. So, a better way to ask the same question would be "What is a flower? What would you categorize it as?". 
Keep the entire class engaged and listening
In Ben Johnson's blog "The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom" he mentions how only 1/3 of the class is likely to be thinking about the answer to any given question which is asked for anyone to answer. He continues to say that the other 2/3 of the class either doesn't care or feels that they are not smart so don't have to answer. This method is often used in any type or level class. Like Johnson, I feel that this is not the best way to ask students questions. So what is the best way? Johnson suggests to ask a specific student a question. In order to keep all students focus these questions should be asked randomly and the teacher should only call on a student after 3 seconds so that every one has a chance to think. I have to disagree slightly with Johnson here. Like he mentions after a teacher calls on a student most of the class sighs and is glad that they were not the one called. Only 1/3 of the class will still be listening for the answer. But what about thinking? I feel that the best way to solve this problem is to ask a question of the entire class, and wait long enough for every student to write down an answer. Then the teacher can call on one or more students to answer the question. This is what is done in the fifth grade class featured in the video "Questioning Styles and Strategies". Because every student had to answer the question they will be interested enough to listen for the answer since they'll want to know if they were right. 
Student Questions
After the students answer all of the teacher's questions are they done? No! Since the students will have been thinking of responses maybe they also thought of more questions. When students ask their own questions it shows that they were really listening and trying to understand the topic. This is discussed in Dr. Maryellen Weimer's blog "Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom". He starts off talking about how teachers need to think about how to ask a question and when to ask. This is interesting, but what really caught my attention was his third point: to "preserve good questions". This is something that was done in my 6th grade Hebrew School class. My teacher would often write down any good ideas or questions that my classmates or I had. As a 12-year-old I was always excited when my thoughts or questions were good enough to be written down on the board or even better in the teacher's notebook. This always encouraged me to think harder and always participate in class discussions. Unfortunately, none of my school teachers did this. Many teachers would say "That is a good question. The answer is...". That did not give the same effect. It always seemed like they were just saying that so that students wouldn't be afraid to ask a question in class. While this is important, it does not necessarily make students want to think and participate. If all teachers would use this method of saving very good questions or general thoughts then through positive motivation more students will think and participate in class discussions.