Friday, November 28, 2014

Blog Post #5 - Part 2

At the beginning of the semester my PLN was pretty much non-existent. By the time we were assigned part one of blog post 5, it had expanded. I had several websites and personal references that made it up. Although my PLN has not grown much since the last assignment, I have been able to refine it. I now have more experience with some of the websites I had on my PLN previously. My list of personal references has grown, also. It might not be growing at the fastest rate possible, but my PLN has grown to have some very resourceful sources on it.
a word cloud about personal learning networks

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Project #4 C4T - #4 Commenting on Kathy Cassidy's Blog: Primary Preoccupation

For the fourth round of C4T assignments, I commented on Kathy Cassidy's Blog: Primary Preoccupation.

Her first post on which I commented was Three Options for Independent Reading on the-iPad. In this post she mentions three options for digital, independent reading in the classroom. The first option she mentions is Epic Books. This app is a library of thousands of books for all ages and is free to educators. The teacher can use his or her sign in on school owned iPads. Ms. Cassidy even mentioned trying it with 20 students all reading the same book at once with no issues. Many of the books on this app can be read aloud.
This app comes highly recommended by her.

The second option she mentions is Unite for Literacy. This website offers books for young readers. What Ms. Cassidy does with her students is to make a direct link to this site on her student's iPad homepages so that it is easily assessable to them. All the books on this site can be read aloud.

The third and final option she mentions in her blog is the Kindle app. The way she does this with her students is that each of the iPads in her classroom has their own account. She will wait and watch the books that become free for Kindle and when they do she will put them on the classroom iPads. She says she does this after reviewing the books on her own Kindle. It is not mentioned whether or not these books can be read aloud; however, according to How to Make Kindle Read Aloud to You on Your iPad : iPad Help this can be done through voice over. The unfortunate part is it seems this would read everything....I think I heard her read "comma" in the video.

a person reading on an iPad
Link to photo source: Cult of Mac

My comment on her post was the following:
"I really enjoyed this post. It has great information and resources that I could use in my future classroom when I begin teaching. I hope I will have the opportunity to incorporate at least one of these into my curriculum down the road."

The second post of hers that I commented on was Blogging in a Primary Classroom-With Only One iPad! In this post, she details ways to make blogging effective in a one iPad classroom. The first two apps she suggests are Edublogs and Kidblogs. She suggests this because it can have multiple users on the same device. Some easier apps she suggest for younger kids are Easy Blogger Jr. (associated with Blogger) and Easy Blog Jr (associated with Edublogs). Easy Blogger is free, except for paying for the app, and the blog creators will even create the blog for you. From there the only task is to put in the names and pictures for the students. This can be made easier because in order to log in, the student just has to tap the picture of themselves. This can be very beneficial for younger students. There is even the option to add voice recording to pictures added. Also according to what she says, Easy Blog Jr. has the same abilities.

a kid using an iPad

My comment on her blog was the following:
"This is definitely something I will have to remember. Because of where I live, it is very likely that I will be teaching in a classroom that has very few pieces of any electronics like an iPad in the classroom (if any). I will have to keep these options in mind for when I have my own classroom for use of my students."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14 - Teaching can be a profession

The article Teaching our children can be a profession  by Joel Klein mentions several issues and possible reforms to remedy the issues. The following is a list of those mentioned and my response to them.
  • Better academic training for prospective teachers
Almost half of the states cannot claim a math program that prepares the student like some of the programs in the higher performing nations.
-I agree with this. Some of the classes I have taken so far, I am seen some of my classmates struggle to understand some of the basics. The idea always horrifies me; how are you going to be expected to teach something that you have no even basic knowledge in. 
  • New approach to recruiting teachers
This would change things so that not everyone with a college degree should be allowed to teach, only the top third of graduates.

-I agree with this as well. Similarly to how what I mentioned above; although teachers should not be expected to every minute fact about their subject(s), they should show competency in understanding, adapting, and learning. 
  • Change how teachers are rewarded
This would make it to where keeping a job would be related to competency and not seniority.

-This has a lot of truth in it. Just because you have been teaching for 15 years does not make you a competent teacher, nor does it mean you ever were. The simple meaning is that you began teaching and gained tenure and are just hard to get rid of at that point.
  • "Teachers establish their own board to police the profession"
Teachers would set the standard for removing incompetent teachers. "Merit-based career ladder" would create promotion based on specialty exams.

-I agree with promotions would be better rewarded to those who prove their competencies,  but I do not agree that teachers should set the standard for removal. I believe most people are extremely lazy and if given the chance will set the bar lower to make life easier for themselves.
  • Demonstrate mastery before having college graduates be aides  
-To me it seems like this refers to a student teaching program, in that case, I most definitely agree. You should not be able to teach someone how to be an effective teacher if you yourself are not one. 
  • "Teachers would abandon their support for mandatory assignment of kids to neighborhood schools"
This would give more choice among public schools.

-From what I gather, this refers to students attending school in their district. This does not seem like a problem in Mobile county to me. I know many people who said they were easily transferred out of their school districts for many various reasons. Also, the high school from which I graduated seemed like a very large percentage of its students were on transfer.

There are many issues with our current education system. I agree with almost all of the mentioned changes. This is not to say I think they will all work out to be 100% effective; however, they seem like a good place to initiate change.

joel klein author of teaching our chilfren can be a profession
Joel Klein: author of "Teaching our children can be a profession"
Link to photo source: Amplify

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Project #6 C4K - Summary for November


For the month of November, the first student blog I  was assigned to was that of Nieka. The blog post I commented on was The Life-Cycle of a Frog! In this post she explains exactly what you would expect: the life-cycle of a frog. She mentions that the female will lay the eggs and the male will fertilize them. She also tells that it will be 21 days gestation for these eggs before they hatch. This post describes how the frog will go from a leg-less tadpole to a frog with a tail, froglet. Finally, she describes how after 11 weeks an adult frog will emerge with lungs instead of gills, 4 legs, no tail, rough skin, and ready to mate to repeat the cycle.

depection of a frog life cycle

After I introduced myself, my comment on this student's blog was the following:
"I really enjoyed your post. I think you did a wonderful job giving your summary of the life-cycle of a frog. Your picture is a nice touch in giving a visual of what you explained."


The second student blog I was assigned to was that of Sierra.The post of hers on which I commented is titled Product Design. In this she describes a bed that can connect to an iPod/iPhone or has a built in radio or CD player. It would have these functions so you could listen to music as you sleep.This would be different from just playing music in the room because the headboard would be designed to as to make it feel like "the music was consuming you."

the bed she is describing
After introducing myself, my comment on her post was the following:
"I like your idea. I know I enjoy having music play as I fall asleep, but I am sure sleeping with headphones on (because of the cord) can be a safety issue. This would be a good way to fix that."


The third student I was assigned to was  Sofia. The post of her on which I commented was Happy 1st Quarter Ending! In this post she talks about her first quarter. It sounds like she was busy, but she is still positive. She says it might have been a lot, but she enjoys reading and is good at it which makes it more enjoyable.

a cartoon boy reading a book

After introducing myself, my comment on her post was the following:
"I like your creativity in your choice of words. Also, it is great to see your positivity toward reading. I also love reading, so it is nice to see other people who also enjoy reading."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blog Post #13 - What did I leave out? - What are some teaching methods to improve learning?

Driving question: What are some teaching methods to improve learning?
Assignment: Research a source or sources individually of teaching methods to improve the learning process.

In the article Three New Teaching Methods Improve the Educational Process, the author describes 3 educational methods that have been tried and proven to improve learning. The author states that the days of the "chalk and talk" method are gone. They are not even on an equal basis as the newer methods that are being introduced. The first of the three is Spaced Learning. In this method, the teacher teaches but with incremented breaks of physical activities. The example given by the author was the teacher teaches on the nervous system and then the class plays a short game basketball. The author did also say it was an example of a PE class. This could be changed to an activity that could be performed more easily in a classroom.
cartoon of two children heads with information going into them

The second method is Flexible Fridays. In this method, the teacher has a time designated for the students to work on a subject that they might be having more issues with than other subjects. This is done individually for each student. I do not fully understand this method. I think the best way for me to incorporate this into my future classroom as an elementary teacher would be to maybe set aside time for a study hall type of situation. This could be a time for the students to work individually or together. Working together would give the students the opportunity for peer learning. This could help the students because they could be hearing something they had issues with when I taught it from a different perspective that they might understand better.  While the students are doing this, I could be floating around the room helping the students and groups. This would also let me as the teacher know what the students are having issues with because the more groups that were working on something could indicate an issue.

The third and final method mentioned in this article is Engagement. This method involves taking students to local businesses to see how what they are learning applies to the real world. This method tries to make the students feel what they are learning is more real and actually applicable to them in their lives other than just because it is in a text book. The author suggested that this method be used several times a week. If the teacher worked at a school where field trips were limited or hard to get approved, then this could also be done via Skype or some other video chat. If there was the accessibility for everyone in the class to have a computer,  this could also be done individually to where the students can get a more in depth conversation with what they wanted to know.

Project #12 - Delivering a Lesson via the SMARTboard