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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blog Post #12 - What assistive technologies are avalaible to you as a teacher?

Assistive Technology
Group #1

I chose to read up on the different resources that Apple has available for special education students. Apple Support for Special Education. It is absolutely incredible to see the amazing ways that Apple is reaching out to make resources for special education. The “Speak Selection” is simple but so incredibly helpful for students who need to hear a word as it’s being read, this can help with comprehension for a wide range of learners! The Speak Selection can read text messages, emails, ebooks, and web pages. This is just one of many great options Apple has for special education students. Another resource that I saw was one that I just recently heard about in my EDM 310 class, iBooks. iBooks Author is where teachers can create a customized learning material to support each and every learning need. iBooks have a variety of features like 3D images, video, and audio. I believe this could be a great resource for special education students, because of the ability to customize the learning material, and that is so incredibly important because each student is different and will learn differently. There are many more wonderful examples of resources that Apple has available for special education students, and I believe that Apple has done an excellent job using technology as a fundamental way of learning for special education students.

I chose the video about teaching introductory math to young blind students by means of a touchpad. This video was Teaching Math to the Blind. In this, Professor Art Karshmer at the University of San Francisco offers a solution to the issue that blind students face in learning math. Here is a simple example of this issue: sighted students see an addition problem with one addend on top of the other with the sum underneath while blind students can only see the problems straight across on one line. This is a problem because the students are not able to develop a strong foundation in math and therefore are severely limited in their potential to go into certain career fields in their future. With the touchpad described in the video, the blind students are able to learn math more like a sighted student would. This would help them learn fundamentals of math better so they have a better chance with it in their futures.

I chose to watch the video Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is Learning On the iPad. In this video, the teacher is showing one mother Voiceover for iPad. She is teaching the mother how her deaf/blind child is using his/her iPad. She goes over the different ways to use and explore through the iPad with just the touch of their fingertips. I think that this is a great way for the parents to see just how much their child can accomplish with technology, no matter the child’s disability. I suggest all teachers that will have students that might have these disabilities go through an iPad training as this mother did to experience what their student/students will.

for people without disabilties, technology makes things easier. for people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.
 Link to photo source:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Project #4 C4T - #3 Commenting on Liz B. Davis' Blog: The Power of Educational Technology

The third teacher I had to comment on was Liz B. Davis. Her blog is  The Power of Educational Technology. 

The first post of hers I commented on was,  Using Design Thinking to Reimagine Back to School Night. In this she explains how they tried to incorporate the Design Thinking model mentioned in Tom and David Kelly's book "Creative Confidence." To do this, they broke into groups.

In their process, they conducted interviews to understand am "empathize" with teacher and parent experiences. After that, they "defined." This means that they came up "with an actionable problem statement." The next step was to "ideate," or to create ideas. This involved brainstorming, choosing the favorite ideas, and as groups refining the idea they wish to move forward with. After that, the groups were to create a "prototype". It was now time to create their idea. "Prototypes can be anything that takes a physical form." The final step was to "test," this concluded with making their solution better.

After the process, the groups share their information with each other and fill out evaluations of the different ideas presented to provide feedback.

diagram of the topics described

My comment on her blog was the following:
"I like the idea of getting the teachers to get parent responses. I also think the process described is a very effective one to achieve the goals. With a supportive and hardworking group I think this plan could work very well."

The second post of hers I commented on was an older post than the previous one. This post was Passion Driven Professional Development - Teachers Unplugged at NAISAC14. In this post she describes an "unconference." Through this type of conference, whoever shows up suggests the topics, from there the participants voted on which topics they wanted to discuss. If nobody shows up to your conference or the conference you are attending is not what you thought it would be, then go to another one. These discussions will last for about 20 minutes. To wrap up the conferences, everyone in the group tells something they learned.

people participating in the unconference described

My comment on her blog was the following:
"I definitely see how this could be a good change to the tradition style of conference. This could be very welcomed for those who are tired of the same type of in-service"

Project #10 - Movie Interview: Interviewing Mrs. Sarah LeCroy

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Project #14 - PBL Lesson Plan #2

Lesson Plan #2 Group 1 W6
Lesson Name:  Daily experience as a native American
Category: Social Studies
Grade Level: 5                             Lesson Number: 1 of 1
Date: Nov. 2,  2014

Alabama Standard(s): Distinguish differences among major American Indian cultures in North America according to geographic region, natural resources, community organization, economy, and belief systems.
•  Locating on a map American Indian nations according to geographic region

Driving Question:

What can be learned about the lives of native Americans through interviews and research?

According to rubric in assessment.
Students should finish the project to a minimum 90% completion according to the rubric in the assessment.

An interview will be set up for the class as a whole with a specialist on Native Americans. This will be conducted through means of face-to-face video chat. During class time, the teacher will set up an interview via Skype that will be projected to where the whole class can see the specialist. The students will have the opportunity to have a Q and A session with him.
After this the students will be separated into groups to decide what Native American group they will be assigned to. For a class of 24 students, the class will be separated into 4 groups of 6. All these students will work on the same tribe for the remainder of the project and will work together for a later part. The students will get together to choose a tribe to study. This tribe should be different from the tribes that were the 6 mandatory tribes from the last project. Also, the groups will have to choose different tribes than other groups. This is decided by a first come first some basis. The groups that inform the teacher first of their tribe will get to do their project on that tribe.
From there, the students will conduct their own interviews with someone who can speak on behalf of their chosen tribe. An example of how to do this would to be to go to the tribe’s website and contact whomever is in charge of education as listed by the website. This person should be able to aid the student in finding an interview. This interview can be  conducted face-to-face, over something such as Skype, or even over email and needs to be a minimum of 5 questions. The students will create their own questions for the interview. The students will have to have their questions approved before the interview. Once the student has conducted the interview, their questions and a summary of the answers will be put online on the student’s blog. Also in this blog the students will have an “In the day of a life of ….” post. This might require some extra research. This part of the project will be done on an individual basis.
From there the students will work collaboratively for the rest of the project. The students will get together to work on a presentation. This will be presented to the class and to other classes through participation in a school culture week that the class could help organize in another project.  The students will create a single presentation as a group based of their individual research. Also the students will have to artistically (using visual arts) create things important to that culture. An example of that would be a shoe that is original to that tribe could be created for this part of the project. Each group will have to create 3 different cultural pieces.
At the end of the project the students will be required to create their own rubrics. With these rubrics the students will grade themselves individually, the members of the group, and the group as a whole cohesive team. This is for self-evaluation purposes. If the student finds it necessary, he may make 2 separate rubrics for self evaluation or group. The final grade will be decided by the teacher rubric.

Materials/ Equipment:

Computer, internet access, a blog, visual art supplies (will vary from group to group).


Classtime will be given to work on this project, whatever is not finished will be done for     homework.


10 points
7 points
5 points
2 points
0 points
5 questions and did interview and summary
3 or 4 questions did interview and summary
1 or 2 questions did interview and summary
Questions no interview
No questions no interview
Blog Post
Blog post completed (3 sections) and proper grammar
Blog post completed (3 sections) with obvious grammar mistakes
Blog post incomplete (less than 3 sections) and proper grammar
Blog post incomplete (less than 3 sections) and obvious grammar mistakes
No post
Presentation created and delivered
Presentation created and delivered at less than par standard
Presentation created but delivery was uninformed (read from project)
Presentation was incomplete
No presentation prepared
Visual Arts Creation
3 artistic creations with visible effort
3 artistic creations with obvious lack of effort
2 artistic creations
1 artist creation
No creations
Made rubric and did the evaluations
Made rubric did 4 of 7 evaluations
Made rubric and 1-3 evaluations
Made rubric no evaluations
No rubric no evaluations

Blog Post #11 - What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Back to the Future
I liked how he had his students make a blog post of what they learned through the projects. It is very much like a fresh take on the old style of just writing a summary. Also, I liked his idea making the students write from the prospective of the balloon after they did the balloon project. It engages both their creativity and their knowledge of the project.
When the students did the "High Hopes" project, I think it was interesting how they even included ....well, the world into their project. They asked for people to send in their "high hopes" and they received them.
He says through what he does, he is "overpowering kids to want to learn on their own." He is also giving them the resources to collaborate with people, become globally involved, and much more.
It is also incredible how he incorporated the student into his classroom even though she could not actually attend. I am sure that made a huge impact on the student herself and all the other students in his class. I think that is a wonderful example to set for the other students who could attend.

Blended Learning Cycle
It takes online, mobile, and classroom leaning and blends them together into the classroom and combines it with the learning cycle (engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate).

6 Parts to his Blended Learning Cycle
1) Begin with a good question
2) Get the students to investigate and experiment
3) Show a video to the students
4) Elaborate -maybe a reading is what he suggested
5) Review -meet with the students to make sure they understand
6) Summary -the way he does this is with a quiz

depiction of the blended learning cycle

Link to photo source: Rebecca Lathem's Blog

Super Digital Citizen
I liked how he asked the students a question and then had them talk among themselves before he spoke with them about the question he asked.
Incorporating the comic books is a great idea. It makes them think creatively, work on skills such as their writing and the content, and it is something that grabs their attention. This project was also important because it reinforces what they should know about being digital citizens and being safe online.

Project Based Learning
This video tells about teachers trying to blend 3 classes to cross curriculum and create a better learning experience for the students. According to the video this method helps students. It engages them and helps them gain a deeper understanding.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL program
In this video, the speakers describe PBL as in depth learning, integrated thematic instruction, real-world problem based, research based, involves projects and presentations. This take cooperation and collaboration between both students and teachers.
The speakers describe that they give the students choice in this method. It is trusting them and giving them ownership. It gives them skills they can use in the 21st century. Makes them responsible to teach other and depend on their peers. They encourage community participation. This is a different approach to teaching than what is traditionally used. Through this method they become more engaged. Students are given the opportunity to have a spark to question and learn about their world. They are also given the opportunity to work with other across the school and community.