Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16

Part # 1

Looking toward the future for my teaching career, there are certain philosophies I must consider before stepping in my classroom for the first time. Four important questions I will ask myself and then answer/explain in this blog; which will hopefully shed some light as to who I will be as a teacher.

My first question is: who am I and how will I teach? Well, I am a Secondary Education/ History major, so, a middle school or high school history teacher will be my set profession. I am a proponent of a never stop learning attitude that will keep me always ahead of the curve no matter what is thrown my way. I have a strong desire to be the absolute best at anything I do. In turn, I want my students to be the best they can possibly be and therefore I will do anything in my power to make sure they succeed in my class and beyond. Teaching for me is not an 8-3, Monday to Friday job. No, it is a 24/7 passion that I will happen to get paid for. I also believe in the alliteration adage of: proper prior planning prevents painfully poor performance. All in all, I am there for my students, and no one else. If they walk away from taking my class learning a great deal AND with an understanding to the wonderful relevance of history/appreciation; I will of won.

My second question is: how will my students learn and what are my teaching methods? My students will learn first and foremost through open discussion. Since it is History, reading will be required weekly and hence reviewed in class. I want interaction at all times. I will not be a lecture based teacher. Nothing to me is worse than power points shown and then repeated by reading exactly what is on the screen. I will most definitely use Project Based Learning as a way to engage my students over longer periods of time. So, obviously, the internet will be heavily used as well. Basically, anything that will make a better learning environment, I will research the product and if I like it, I will implement the item.

My third question to ask is: what tools will I use in my teaching implementation? Well, everything depends on my particular school I am employed at and the available pieces of equipment I am allotted. However, if I have a Smartboard, I will use it extensively. I want to show videos a lot. I want to pull up diagrams, maps or paintings to illustrate many aspects that can help visualize history for my students. I will want to use blogs, if possible, to use as a way of introspecting on history being made in the present and the parallels on history of yesteryear.

My last question is: what will my classroom atmosphere be like? To be simple, it will be fun. I want discussion and laughing. School is tough enough, but especially when a student just sits, listens and writes. Boredom will not be a problem in my classroom. Students CAN learn and have fun. Students do have permission to laugh. As long as they are engaged into what is happening in class, there will be less likelihood I have to enforce the no texting policy etc.. History has been a subject long linked to the "I hate" words attached. I believe one problem is the lack of actual History teachers. Many schools use coaches as the teacher. In my belief, why not make the coaches the Science, English and Math teachers too. I mean, you have a degree in a subject for a reason (hopefully love)!

Looking back on my first blog, entitled If I Built a School it Would Be Like...., I can honestly say I had it pretty dead on. If you click on the link, you can see I had five major points that I believed were very important to have a sound, productive school.

1. Encouragement
2. Importance of Reading
3. Students that think for themselves
4. High use of computers/technology
5. The learning process are the students

I believe I did a descent job if I say so myself. However, let me state, I am open to anything. As I have said before, I just want the best for my students, end of story! I hope they learn from me, as much I am sure, I will learn from them!

Part #2 My Final Reflection

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

The Mountbatten. This video was created by The Florida School for the
Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL
Written by, Colin Richard

Life tends to be a series of routines. We tend to go about our lives with our blinders on and let the world happen as it may, as long as it does not interfere with our routine. This “bubble” can make people forget their are others that have a routine too, but has to be structured a totally different way. An example would be people who are blind. Even when we think about it and try to put ourselves in their shoes, the feeling can never even come close. After all, there is something about doing an experiment and knowing that when we choose, our lives go back to “normal.”

So, when dealing with technology that aids people with a disability, normally the inventors are people that can step out of their boxes and understand what the other person could benefit from. The “Mountbatten” is no different. Produced by Quantum Technologies in Australia, this device has become the upgrade from the traditionally used Perkins Brailler. This device can, in addition to the traditional keyboard, include memory which allows braille text files to be stored in much the same way as is done with a word processor, speech feedback allowing the user to listen to the text he or she has just typed or from files, and forward and back translation between text and braille. The Mountbatten can be connected to a printer allowing files to be printed as text, while a regular PC keyboard can be connected to the Mountbatten enabling text to be produced as contracted or uncontracted braille. Speaking of technology, this invention even has bluetooth, which can connect itself to one’s Ipad or Iphone. So, being battery powered too, it is easily portable.

As we can see, this is a wonderful tool for the blind, in any setting. However, not every student will have this piece of equipment, it is almost five thousand dollars. One can not, being a teacher, rely on the disabled student or parents, to provide all the necessary tools that will help that child. As an educator, we need to first take initiative. Find out what tools are used at home and see if we can use these items in our own classrooms. The student will benefit greatly if they use what they already know. The Blind Access Journal is a wonderful website for any teacher that has a student with any form of visual impairment. After all, having the desire for the visually impaired, or any student with any disability, to succeed is the first and greatest step. Then the next step is how. This website gives that how.

In the end, students with visual impairments want to be viewed and treated like everyone else. So, in the classroom, let their routine of learning, become part of your routine of teaching. Now that is a routine everyone should follow!

iPad Usage For the Blind that was demonstrated by Wesley Majerus.
Written by: Jamie Baxter

iPad usage for the blind amazes me. Technology helps the vision impaired use a tool that people use that can see everyday.

In EDU 301, we had a blind artist come visit our classroom. His name was Ricky Trion. During his presentation he mentioned that he wanted an iPhone because of all the apps for blind people. He said there is one app that you can scan your shirt, and the phone will tell you what color shirt it is to help blind people get dressed.

This will be an excellent tool for me in my future classroom. If I have a student that can not see, this will be very helpful for them. The iPad would allow them to be able to listen to text I assign the children to read and many other things via the iPad.

Jamie found an interesting video titled Deaf Children Use Games Machines to learn in Schools. This was a news report in Birmingham Alabama showing where deaf students use gaming machines to help them learn a book. The children scan the book, and it plays a video clip about what the book page is about. This is a very interesting way to teach the students who are hearing impaired.

Teaching Math to the Blind- Thomas Leytham

How would you describe color to a blind person? We don’t often think that some of the most basic things can be complex and difficult to describe. And yet, I can find no words to describe a color that would genuinely describe it to someone whom is blind. It is so simple that it isn’t.
Although this could be heavily contemplated, I don’t think it would be important to describe color to a blind person. They may not be able to see color, but they have other abilities that I would rather focus on. Rather than trying to constantly describe something almost impossible to describe to someone whom has never seen it, I would focus on what they could do. Color may be beautiful, but life is not dependant on it.
However, in our society there are certain things that we have made our lives dependent on. As unfortunate as it may seem for those who don’t have it, we run our society with money. Trillions of dollars are constantly being spent around the world. And money is the only way for us to get our basic necessities for life in this society. We need money to purchase water, food, houses, everything. And I’m certain it is much easier to describe money than it is color. But the fundamentals for using and spending money are math, and how would you describe math to a blind person?
At first I didn’t even notice how difficult this would be. After all, blind people do have a way for reading. But math is truly its own language. We may be able to describe things with words, but it is rare to work out problems simply with words. Math uses numbers, uses many different and ornate signs, has rules for order of operation, and etc. So how could do you teach it to be read?
The video Teaching Math to the Blind showed these complications and one of their approaches to handling it. The video introduced a board which allowed students to construct math equations, to feel and understand the importance of the placement of numbers, and speaks to them. I was very intrigued by this so I looked up another technology being used to help blind people learn math.
I found an article titled, New UAH technology helps the Blind Learn Math discusses the development of a computer program that allows math questions to be easily typed into a computer, and doesn’t require specific code. It is amazing the way our technology is advancing, and how it is helping reveal a world that was once almost indescribable.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Post #14

Pick a historical event and tell how you would teach it if you were in a 1970's classroom. Then, explain how you would teach about that same event in todays classroom environment. Finally, explain which era would give the students the most benefit in learning and understanding the event.

So, going back in time and I need to teach about the Battle of Waterloo and the final fall of Napoleon. Obviously, I would of had the class read about the event ahead of time. Now, I would ask, "What was Napoleon's fatal mistake that led to his defeat?"
I would listen to different answers, ask a few others and finally I would go to the chalkboard. At the chalkboard I would draw the battle and troop movements. I would then split the room into groups of four and ask them to draw on paper another maneuver that may of helped the end result. They would turn the papers in as they left class.

My final part for the day would be homework. I would tell them to parallel Napoleon's rise to power and fall, to that of anyone else in history. They would need to write their how and why, followed by their conclusion and turn it in the following week.

So, my classroom in present day. Same topic, same questions, but the difference is implementation.

I would still ask them to read about the event. However, the following day, we would watch a brief reenactment video about the battle. Then, using my smartboard, I would bring up though the internet the armies movements and visual assault from every front. Then, when they split up onto the groups, each group, when done, would draw on the smartboard and show Napoleon's new maneuvers. The class would agree or disagree with each group and lastly vote as to the best military tactic that might of helped Napoleon. The homework would be the same as my "70's" class, but they would put it in their History class blog.

In the end, we can easily see how technology gives amazing visual aid. Also, it allows a greater interaction with groups and for me too when using the smartboard. Lastly, the blog is easier to grade as well as allowing other students to experience what others believe. Technology in the classroom, bottom line, only enhances and enriches everything that a 70's classroom could offer.

Project #2B

PLN Final Report

My Symbaloo

This has been a wonderful addition in my understanding of the wonderful additions that the internet and education can provide.

As one can see by my link, I have added many History specific icon linked tabs. I also have added several map links and games that can be done in class while learning.

This has become invaluable to me, as it has definitely taken over for folders in my hotbar. Symbaloo is just all around better. It is faster to visually see which tab I need. I can hit my Icurio, translate a French historical document or do a basic google search, all in one space.

I know times will change and so will my specifically made Symbaloo, but I know it will grow with me as I progress through the world of education with technology.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Last C4T Summary

Beth Knittle is the sole K-12 Technology Integration Specialist for the Cape Cod area. She mainly writes about Learning and Educational Technology.

Getting into Gaming
My son is a gamer he plays all types of games (card, board, live action and computers). He knows he wants to do “something” with computers when he heads off to college in a couple of years. To help him figure it out he is taking a course on The Foundations of Game Design at our community college. He is particularly intrigued with the design of games; what motivates the player to keep going, strategy, scoring and leveling.

He recently shared with me Extra Credits by Penny Arcade. It is series of podcast on gaming and the game industry. It is pretty informative and entertaining. If you know a gamer in your life or are interested in the industry please pass them a long. They are well worth watching. I have learned a lot.

My Comment:
Hello, I attend the University of South Alabama while partaking in a class labeled EDM 310. I wanted to make a comment because I to have gamed a great deal in the past. Unfortunately, I have a perfectionist mentality and therefore had to cut myself off from the gaming world, especially when it came to MMO play. I consumed myself in the world to much and always wanted everything. To be the best and have the best and those attributes took a lot of time, to much time.

In regards to your son, I believe the future is VERY bright for an accomplished game designer. If he loves it, he will have a job for life. I can also help him understand his questions of “keep going, strategy, scoring and leveling.” Simply put, gaming is a place where life can be wonderful. Anything that you may not love about your life can be transformed into perfection in the gaming world. Gaming is addictive because of this. Gaming also has a great competitive aspect to it. Hey, we all want to be winners and gaming is a place anyone can do it.
If your son ever wants to chat, do not hesitate to have him email me.

I look forward to reading other posts because I am intrigued with the usage of technology in teaching methods. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

iOS 7 and Accessibility


As we are all well aware iOS 7 was released earlier this week. Change is inevitable; it is pure excitement and joy for some but not always easy for others. As any provider of tech support knows our focus is on the later. Apparently we know all the answers even though we are seeing the new iOS for the first time as well.

Thankfully there are those excited to explore and test out the iOS and share their findings. Can’t figure out how to close an app – search for it and you will find an answer. Many people have posted tips and tricks for the new iOS. MacLife has posted 90 of them, but for a shorter list I would recommend TechCrunch.

For me the focus is on accessibility features. On a personal note I have vision issues and the new fonts and color scheme can pose a problem there are settings to address some of these but really yellow font on a blue background and white on red do not make for easy reading. There are often issues with text and images overlapping. For a look at some of these I recommend taking a look at Sloppy UI. For a company that prides itself on flawless design, an intuitive user experience and accessibility I feel they have fallen short. These may appear minor to many but to some this is no small issue.

Professionally the new iOS means I need to revamp training and workshop materials related to accessibility and the new iOS. Next month I am co-presenting at MassCUE’s annual conference. My colleague, Kristin a teacher of the visually impaired, has an excellent grasp of the accessibility features and uses them daily. I always look forward to working with her, I learn so much. Redoing all our materials with new screen shots and videos is a time consuming task. On the plus side it is forcing me to dig deep into the new iOS.

Have fun exploring.

My Comment:

I have thoroughly enjoyed iOS 7. Definitely more vibrant and engineered to be even more user friendly. However, I never like major updates in the beginning because my familiarity goes out the window on so many things and I have to learn it all over. In the end, most large updates have been a positive integration in the computer world.

Lastly, I wanted to say that I very rarely go to any help sites. I have found that just working at it long enough, gives me a better sense over the entire program anyway.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

C4K Summary for November

This month, I had the pleasure in reading a group blog, by Mata and Tyrese, and another by Emmy. All three are relatively new to the school environment and blogging, but seemed eager to tell the world about what they had learned.

Emmy@Pt England School
Today My group and I did an photo activity. As a team we worked together to match the pictures about farm's. We did this so it can help us with our learning and our animation's. It helped us learn where these thing come from. For e.g: Where does milk come from? Milk comes from a cow and the milk gets taken to a milk factory then the people at the factory perdue nice fresh milk. Then the milk man comes and takes the milk to super markets and shops, then people buy it and take it home for breakfast. And that's what we learned about.

My Comment:
Hello Emmy. I attend the University of South Alabama in the United States and like you, I also blog in my class, EDM 310.
First, I want to tell you how great you write. For six, you really impressed me a great deal.
Second, your collaborative activity was a very important concept. We all need to know where our food comes from. When we do, we can make better choices at our supermarkets. We want milk from happy, free grazing cows, not penned up and fed antibiotics with bad diets cow's milk, right?
Bottom line, great job all around! Keep up the great work!

Twin Towers

Tyrese and I made a tower using lots of different colours and shapes. (Dictated to the teacher ) By Mata and Tyrese

My Comment:
Hello! I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States and like you, I do blogging in my class, EDM 310.
I thought the two of you did such a wonderful job collaborating your task together and completing such a wonderfully colorful set of towers.
Did you enjoy building these towers?
What were your favorite colors to use?
Great job!

Project # 12 Part B

Together with Jamie Baxter and Thomas Leytham, we took a day from our project calendar and each demonstrated a small portion of how we would inform our class about the subject matter on that particular day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

Charles Leadbeater: Education innovation in the slums- Colin Richard

“Education +Technology =Hope”, so sayest Charles Leadbeater. His statements are mainly for children in 3rd world countries, but there are a few things I believe could be used in any educational environment.

One would be “radical” thinking. When it comes to anything that is not working well, it is stupid to continue and hope for the best. Our overall system here, especially in poverty ridden areas, need a different strategy. However, maybe the most radical of all thoughts would be emphasising teachers as the way forward. Making sure that teachers in lower class schools get a much higher pay raise would be high incentive to bring quality teachers away from other schools. Also, let the teachers be free to teach as they feel fit. Of course there would need to be yearly evaluations to make sure these teachers were not being incompetent, but I am sure there would be a more conducive place to want to learn by the students if this was allowed.

Second, “Start from a game or question….teach through normal fun things, not after”. To summarize, education does not need to begin with curriculum and then move to testing; teaching can start from what normally would be considered as extra curricula activities. So, let a game be the start, but have learning thrown in without the students even feel like it is a learning exercise. This, I learned, is called a “head fake” as told by Randy Pausch. Wonderful philosophy and one I will implement in my classrooms too.

I do disagree with some of Mr. Leadbeater’s arguments. One would be his displeasure with the current system that has a push, as opposed to a pull, element. Well, considering he said he was pushed into his education and he graduated from Oxford University with that method, how can one say that is a negative? Also, he says “Education has a payoff, but needs to be quicker if you are poor.” So, instant gratification is what technology has made our society and now we need to make education that way because of the poor? Now, should there be more technical and vocational schools? Yes, absolutely, but do not sacrifice higher learning due to a growing sense of deserve over desire.

Overall, this video was educational from a third world perspective toward teaching. There are problems all over the world that need to be addressed, but let us not doubt that without the funds or public outcry to back up radical thinking, there will never be the desired outcome that can only be talked about among the people that already have an education.

Alison Gopnik: “What do babies think” by: Jamie Baxter

Alison Gonik is a psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She researched about how children learn at a young age. In her video “What do babies think”, she explains how the past 20 years scientist and psychologist have changed their views on how babies think. I do not agree with this because I think babies learn and think the same way they always have. The reason one might think they learn different is because there are more tools to teach children due to technology.

One thing Alison said that stood out to me was "Babies and young children are very bad at narrowing down to just one thing. But they are very good at taking in lots of information of lots of different sources at once." I think this is a very interesting thing and made me think. I agree that children can take in a lot more information at a young age. The older they get the harder it is for children to learn because their attention span narrows.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project #15 Project Based Learning #3

Students will learn the following in this project:

1:Vocabulary Terms pertinent for the Crusades and present day Middle East Benchmarks in the history of wars in Europe and the Middle East Locations of key places influenced by these wars

2:Factors leading to wars including religion, trade, empire building, etc Effects of wars in certain periods of the post classical world

3:Current problems in the Middle East

4:Role of the United States in the Middle East

AD 1050 Project Based Planner

Blog Post #12

This is a collaborative assignment, where myself, Jamie Baxter and Thomas Leytham explore and summarize 3 videos.

Changing Education Paradigms -Jamie Baxter
Ken Robinson’s video Changing Education Paradigms was a very interesting video and agree with everything he said. I learned a lot from his thought about ADHD medicine and divergent thinking.

I once was a daycare teacher when I was in high school, and there was a child in my class whom was on Ritalin. The days that his mother did not give him his medication, he acted out and was very hyper and disobedient. I did not realize then what the problem came from. I know that children when I was in elementary school did not have medication for ADHD, so there had to be another solution. After watching this video, it makes so much sense to me that children are bored in classrooms. They are smarter and more educated through TV, phones, and computers; they get bored with boring lectures. Children cannot concentrate when the teacher is lecturing on a chalkboard. They need to have fun things to learn and be more involved with 21st century tools for learning.

I like the way Ken Robinson explained divergent thinking. He said, “Divergent thinking is not the same thing as creativity.” He explains that creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity. It is to see multiple answers not one. I learned a lot from this because it made me realize that my students in my future classroom are not all going to learn in the same way. I need to realize this when making my lesson plans, so I can accommodate for all my students.

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley- Me, Colin Richard

After watching this video, I know one thing for sure, I love Ken Robinson. His philosophical statements on education are spot on and right inline with my own. When I do a brief summary of this video, I will only reiterate in my own words what he states because I am really only echoing sentiments that I have held for at least a decade. So, let us not hesitate, let us just jump in.

“Humans are naturally different.” He explains that even siblings are entirely different so why should we expect great things to happen in school systems now based on conformity. Well, the easy answer is you can not. The “No Child Left Behind” educational protocol has done just the opposite of its mantra; it has actually left behind millions of children because of a premise of a cookie cutter educational system of “learning.” A fundamental problem has become the de emphasis with subjects such as Art, the Humanities, and P.E.. ADHD has become a scapegoat for children falling behind as opposed to teaching methods being so boring that kids just want to fidget. Curiosity has almost died in our education. Lost are the days of exploring why as opposed to being spoon fed everything to make sure you pass the test. Which brings us to standardized testing. If we look at Finland, which scores tops in Math, Science and Reading, it is not because they solely focus on these courses, it is because they do not obsess over these courses. It is also because there are no standardized tests. Plus, there is not even a drop out rate. Which brings us to a few answers to why. First, education is about learning. Kids learn in these environments where their natural instincts are satisfied during the learning processes. Second, testing is not the dominant culture of education. Third, they support learning not obstruct it. Finally and maybe most importantly, teachers are just as highly regarded as doctors.

“Humans are creative” so why not have Individualized teaching and learning. In this country we can not because we take responsibility away from the teachers. Bureaucrats tell us what is best and that is because there is not a high status in teachers. Teachers are put in a position where they can do the minimum, as long as their kids pass the standardized tests. Schools that are generally left alone to do as they please, tend to do better. They can see what they need to do, what needs improvement and what works with what they have. Dropouts have reasons too and most of the time the outside world engages them, right or wrong, a lot better than the classroom. We do need to create conditions where students thrive. Which brings us to his last and most poignant case in point.
Death Valley, the driest place in North America, where nothing really grows. However, after a massive rare rainfall, the following Spring, flowers were everywhere. This synonym to education is when given the right circumstance, learning can happen where once education looked dead.

So, let us stand together with people such as Ken Robinson and begin a revolution. Let us make sure that we will not stand for average. That we will not stand for millions of kids left behind. That we will not let bureaucrats from the top, dictate what the people in the trenches know. Let us stand up for our students, our kids and this country's future. Let us stand united in making teachers the greatest revenue this country has.

How Schools Kill Creativity-Thomas Leytham

It is difficult to write a good summary for this TED talk simply because there wasn’t very much to it. I literally can sum up his message in two sentences.

Schools were created to industrialize people and because of this they kill creativity. To fix this, we should stop stigmatizing the arts and promote the arts as equals.

The rest of the talk was that of a poor stand-up comedian. I don’t mind jokes, but it was so constant that I found it obnoxious. They also didn’t circle into his message… lack of message.

I didn’t learn anything from this TED talk, which is quite a shame. I’ve heard this repeated banter about how to fix schools numerous times, specifically how we need to stop stigmatizing the arts, and this was by far the simplest and worst regurgitation that I have ever heard. You know what is killing my creativity? Being told to watch videos about how school killed my creativity.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Project #12 Smartboard Instruction Part A

In this video I will show you how to:

1. turn on a Smartboard
2. calibrate it (Orient)
3. work with text
4. work with objects
5. use object animation to hide and reveal feedback
6. use the Infinite Cloner and work with digital ink items added in ink layer to a separate file
8. Use multimedia objects

C4K Summary October

Damien, is a year 6 and he is in Room 16 this year. His teacher is Mr Somerville. Two things he let's u know and that is he likes to play ripper rugby and that blogging is cool.

His blog post "Lambing Time" on his site Damien@Pt England School was short and simple. Mainly video clips on lambs.
My comment was, I, like you, do blogs for my class. This blog you have done is very cute. I loved your lamb pics. Overall, nicely done. Hope you are well and I will be checking in on your blog later. Keep up the good work!

There really was not much to say.

Now my last comment this month went to Sarah. Her blog How Lucky We Are was just splendid to read. Talking about a video that was done in North Korea, she sees how oppressed everyone is and reflects as to how wonderful her life is because she lives in the U.S.. She goes on to say that even though the United States has its problems, they are nothing compared to the depravation that goes on in places like North Korea.

I responded as so: I have had to comment on many other students’ blogs across the country, but none of them were as well written as yours. Poignant and concise, your blog brought insight and passion. It is people like you that will keep this country being the best. So, never stop, please! Awesome job for sure. I hope to see you blogging more in the near future.

This post actually gave me hope. After several months commenting on different blog posts, I was becoming morose. However, thanks to Sarah, I can not be as pessimistic as before.

Interview Movie - Project #10

Summary Post C4T Teacher #3

David Warlick is an interesting blogger as we can see by checking his page, 2 cents worth out. Just about anything you could think of, he blogs about it. Now this is not to say that he is random just to be random. No, he definitely has specific goals and people that he wants to reach out to, but his style feels more fun that academic.

Such topics as 30 years of the most popular costumes. He writes, "In honor of the day, I thought I'd add a little something about Halloween costums. This is originally from Spirit Halloween, purveyors of all things Halloween dress-up. This is thirty years of culture, as manifest by what our children (not to mention many of us) identify with. It might be worth a discussion in the teachers' lounge (Ya'll still do have teachers' lounges?) about what you dressed up as, way back when. Anyone ever dress up as a hobo? Does anyone in your lounge know what a hobo is?"

I would comment that this is very interesting and fun to think about. He has a wonderful spirit of joy. I do know what a hobo is and all you need is a long stick and a bandana.

Another blog post Mr. Warlick had was about the redbull sponsored leap from space.

My comment would be how amazing the video was and the courage it took for that one guy to do something no one has ever even come close to attempting. Everyone should watch this video just to understand the spirit of adventure.

Lastly, his blog "Sorcery with a Neodymium magnet" was interesting to observe too. Check this video out!

I say this only proves once again that science is cool. Demonstrations like this to kids are vital in showing the remarkable world we live in. I also agree with the view of "If I could get my hands on one of these I’m sure I could play with it for hours." Another great video!

Mr. Warlick is with out a doubt in my mind a very interesting and fun teacher. I hope to get to talk to him one day.

Blog Post #11

Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher. Her approach in the classroom is to use technology such as blogging, Wiki and Skype to aid in teaching her students.

One can surmise by this video that her kids enjoy these particular teaching methods.

A Skype video between Dr. Strange and Mrs. Cassidy opens her point of view in terms of these technologically emphasized teaching methods. So, after watching these four total videos, some questions need to be asked, especially for present or future teachers.

The first question could be which of her techniques might myself use? What do you do when on the internet was an important point that I would use for sure. With so many non-educational links on the internet, teaching safety in searching is so important. Skyping another professor or expert might be interesting too.

The second question might be what impediments I might encounter? Distractions seems to be one that could come up often. The internet is a source of wisdom as well as garbage. Making sure, especially with older students, that the actually task is being performed would be a constant aggravation on my part.

The third question are what benefits would there be in using her methods? Letting the students know that using/understanding that there is a world out there where technology is crucial in many aspects of life could be one.

Still, I keep trying to understand if people are forced to go to someone's blog and comment, how is that beneficial to either party? Why under normal circumstances would college students ever want to go to a 1st graders blog that they do not know and post a comment? This is one reason why I would not integrate blogging as a piece to my teaching curriculum.

Look, when I am a teacher, I will do everything in my power to make learning number one A and having fun while doing it number one B. So, when the time comes, I will look at every possible scenario in making a complete well run classroom. Until then, I can not just blindly say that I will for sure use any particular method of teaching. I do not believe that using technology makes someone a great teacher. A great teacher is that way because of a desire to be that way, not the implements used to get there. Just as a pen was not the greatness of Shakespeare, neither is technology the source of greatness in a teacher.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project Based Learning Project #2

A Gardener's Dilemma By: Jamie Baxter, Thomas Leytham, and Colin Richard

Students will learn the following in this project:

1. Determine perimeter of geometric shapes.

2. Determine area of geometric shapes.

3. Use grids to record designs.

4. Use of ordering pairs to identify location.

5. Group Collaborative Skills

Lesson Plan - A Gardener's Dilemma Created by: Jamie Baxter, Thomas Leytham, and Colin Richard

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

This video is sad, first and foremost, but after watching, I can say, this man left a legacy. With that legacy, he left some wonderful advice. I want to focus on the advice that can be used by teachers everyday. How I write down that advice will be more or less points, not entire definitions or hyperboles. I have taken the advice for me, how you take the words is up to you, just like everything else in life. So, let's get started!

Let's start with fundamentals. If we don't don't have a foundation that is strong, it really does not matter what you try and build up around it. Rome was not built in a day, but the great foundations made it possible to see what was built for centuries later.

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want" says Professor Pausch. Outcomes, trial and error, the scientific method; each understand that there will be bumps in the road, but keep striving and never give up.

"Brick walls are there to show how much we want something." Love this quote by Randy Pausch. The more obsticles you face and conquer, the more work was needed and the better the satisfaction when done. Desire to be great and knock down whatever difficulties get in your way is what creates resolve and resolve creates determination and determination creates someone that will never settle. So, show who you are by actions, not words!

"Give em enough time and they will always impress you." I do not entirely agree with this as a whole, but, in a teaching situation, one has to go in believing in all your students. Each day is new and never expecting disappointment is key to success in handling every child.

"How you say something" is sometimes better than what you say. So, perception is key. Your kids should feel motivated, excited and eager to learn. The way you come across with each days lesson can determine each one of those emotions. So, be motivated, excited and eager yourself and your expression will probably instill those same feelings in your students.

Dreams! Never dim the light on anyone's dreams. On the contrary, add gas to it. No dream a child has is stupid because we can not see into the future and we never know what dream creates a future reality.

Having a sense of humor is another key not just for life, but for teaching. Let's face it, kids want to laugh and have fun and we are all kids at heart. So, be funny laugh a lot because a fun and happy class will produce learners well above an atypical classroom boring teacher setting.

"Do not have preconceived expectations." This is how teachers in so called terrible schools can have success where others have not. Go into every semester, every quarter, every month, every week and every day like your students are all prodogies and you will find there is a pearl in every oyster.
"Get students to be self reflective." Introspection will excite the mind and create growing minds towards their work. Is that not what we, as educators, desire? We can not be there 24/7, so let your students give their grades sometimes and let them figure out where they can improve.

"Head fake- having fun while learning something hard." Another brilliant way to give illusion to learning. If students are doing something that they feel a part of or they feel desire to do because it connects to them, they will learn when they do not even know they are doing so. This will give the largest gains in learning and knowledge over conventional methods any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

"Learn from students." Hey, just because we are teachers does not mean we can't still learn, especially from the people that see you everyday. Students are your ultimate teachers! So, listen to what they say, even when they do not talk and you will progress to new heights!

Lastly, Professor Pausch lets us know we need to have fun. Success is doing what you love! In the end, everything starts and ends with us. So, while we are there, we might as well have fun and therefore are kids will have fun. Learning can be fun, so let your students find that out by your example.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Myself, Jamie Baxter and Thomas Leytham did a collaborative assignment where we watched three videos and critiqued or praised certain parts on each. So, we started with Back to the future Video. Once the video was finished, the first thought was, this is a great teacher. Obviously he cares on just about every aspect when it comes to his “kids”. He is very enthusiastic with all of his projects and gets real excited which gets the students involved.
The balloon project was particularly innovative and most definitely educational. The project helped develop the students’ knowledge and concept about pressure. Also, the students use critical thinking and creativity while writing from the perspective of the balloon. Most importantly, the project did all of this while being attention grabbing and fun. Jamie is going to save this project and use it in her future classroom because she really enjoyed how excited the students got while completing it.

When Mr. Cosby was describing what students learn from 21st century tools, it really caught our attention. This is a very helpful and useful part of the video for us as future teachers. He showed us a few examples, such as: learning how to collaborate, motivation, empowerment, and connection with others. Students will learn and practice all of these activities when using 21st century tools.

We also loved the fact that the child with cancer was brought in through skype and became an active member of the classroom. This teaches communication, understanding, tolerance, compassion, and learning to change each others lives.

We would, because of his new teaching plan, love to know what the kids knew after his class compared to their first day. It seems like if you are advocating a certain plan of teaching, backing it up with statistical data would help the cause. On top of which, he already mentioned the parts that they didn’t know. So, it wouldn’t be difficult to show their progression.

The most important aspect of this video is the teacher and his passion for teaching which makes things work in the classroom, and is more than a video on how technology has turned around a low income student based classroom from not knowing to knowing, it is a video on how an empowered teacher with desire can do wonderful things.

Blended Learning Cycle video is next on the list.The first thing that struck us was how much we loved the tweet by Dr. Tae, “remember, it’s not fair to tell your students that grades are not important if you are ultimately giving your students grades.” True information for sure.

We noticed that in the beginning of the video he mentioned doing a TED talk about making the class a video game. He watched the TED talk video which made this video much more understandable. Essentially, making the class a video game was quite difficult. There were many problems that led to many parts failing and needing revisions. Thomas felt this is why his approach changed overall. Mr. Anderson definitely believes it is okay to fail and that we learn from failure. This is definitely true and teachers should learn to rework failure. It has such a terrible connotation when it shouldn’t be.

Anderson developed his “quivers” approach to teaching in response to his video game “failure”. Quivers seemed like a very good concept. We do not always like acronyms because they can detract from the actual concept, and people remember the acronym word and not what each part stands for. All Thomas could remember is Questions, Videos, and Summary quiz. I found the video aspect of "quivers" to be idiotic and a waste of time. Not having anything that could spontaneously happen or be asked by the teacher while talking. Sitting and watching a video, only calls for distraction and daydreaming. Jamie however, thought the video would be a good idea because some students learn from watching videos. Most children or young adults grow up watching television, so maybe the video will teach them something they missed while investigating. We think the review step of “quivers” is very important because this is the step where the teacher can make sure the student he is reviewing, learns everything that was intended to be taught. Thomas thinks that all students learn differently. So, having a video could be beneficial to some and not as beneficial to others. It would be important to have all of the knowledge learnable in different ways. Thomas is a kinesthetic and auditory learner. So, the video would probably be beneficial to him. But for a visual kinesthetic learner the video may not be.
Which picture looks more engaging?

We also found it interesting that he is teaching AP Biology. Good for him and his students, but what about students in a poverty ridden neighborhood at a state school with minimal funds, would this process still work? He says we should start with a question, well that would be ours for him.

We learned from this teacher a great concept to use for our future classrooms. Although we might change a couple of steps in the “quivers” approach, overall it is a good idea.

The last video we watched was “Making Thinking Visible” This video is pretty straight forward by having the kids watch a video, and then create a project that builds upon each weeks learning. We can learn from this video that critical thinking, analysis, and building upon what has already been learned is the fundamental building blocks to project based learning.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Church only uses a video as his technology. It seems teaching properly and engaging students really has to do with the teacher, not the technology. We believed the project had the right idea, but with a more opened mind and a greater use of technology, the kids would of benefited even greater.

In the end, we believe that each video offered us different things to think about when we become teachers. Most importantly, we know that to be great as a teacher, it takes hard work and dedication beyond Monday-Friday, 8-4, it takes a teacher that never stops learning or growing. The one thing I do not want to happen is we become disconnected from life.....or maybe we already have........

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Are 21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools

While we don't have this....

and we don't have this........

We do have.....

And that is the internet. A network of information that can guide anyone to a plethora of knowledge, communication and visual stimulation. So, with all that data, what should a teacher do? Well, for me, becoming a social studies teacher, I have found several spots on the web that I will most likely use in my teaching future.

The first is The Center for Teaching History with Technology. This site has so many links to items that are specifically designed to aid teaching history, I found it nearly impossible to find an era or specific event not included. From lessons and activities, to presentations and multimedia, as well as assessment and rubrics to use. Everything a starting teacher could go and get a proper foundation for the yearly, weekly and daily planner. This should prove to be a great starting place for my teaching career.

Next up is Diigo This is more a google chrome for your specific needs. With such special additions like the ability to highlight, add sticky notes, and an easy sharing network, this sight is perfect for History. History is so reading based that having these specialties would come in handy for sure.

Lastly, I wanted to mention somethings that I found very interesting if my classes have the ability to use Ipads. poll everywhere and Qwizdom First, poll everywhere seems perfect for nameless and faceless polling. This can be useful for projects, presentations, readings and written assignments. By letting the kids poll on everyone without fear, hopefully real feedback can be achieved from their peers. The second is Qwizdom which, by using there Ipads, we could have realtime testing, quizzes, or history based knowledge games. This creates a 100 percent participation scenario that every teacher looks for.

In the end, I will use whatever I can to make the best, most fun, most creative, clever, engaging environment for my students to learn I possibly can. So, whatever it is, be it with technology, old school classic methods or anything in between, I will look for it, research it and use that approach. I am a teacher, so that makes me the most active learner out there. I am here for my students and whatever effort I put in will only give back to my kids ten fold. So, if you are an educator now or in the future, give me a high five and let's make it happen!

Comments for Teachers Summary

My teacher comments have pleasurably gone to Sharon Davison. She is a kindergarten teacher in Vermont with 25 plus years of teaching experience. From everything I have read, she has taken learning beyond just the normal teaching strategies, she has taken it to the 21st century through a great use of technology.

My first comment went to the blog post entitled, How I Begin To Explore Becoming A Digital Citizen In Kindergarten! This post had several aspects that basically prepared both students and teachers that they are entering not only a technological classroom, but one that cares and respects privacy. The premise had all the kids with name tags, but when photos would be taken that would go up on the web, the kids would cover their names. A great concept that teaches at an early age how difficult it is to have privacy in this modern era, however, one must always do the most you can in order to take out everything that is controllable. I commented as to how well she presents her kids to technology from day one. I also commented as to how I have a six year old daughter who had just left kindergarten and how I would of loved her teacher to of given her the same throughout her first learning year experience. Lastly, I commented as to how well she seems to implement technology based teaching in her classroom and how I looked forward to finding out more with later postings.

My other comment for Sharon Davison's blog came with the post entitled Connecting With Parents: Value of Conversations. I was particularly impressed by several important elements where key internet websites and information is shared with every parent. Sharon also created an internet form for the parents to read, give thoughts and answer questions in regards to their kids participating in many parts on the internet for learning purposes. I commented how her words and actions in class were very insightful, caring and smart. “The interaction is always focused on their learning and is meaningful in regards to what we feel is important to what we discover” I said was wonderful to read. By making sure that everything begins and ends with “their” learning can be lost when it comes to using technology as a learning medium, so that was refreshing. Also, I love all the information that parents have at all times. She seems to make a revolving door for interactions between herself, her kids and the parents. I believe it is very important that parents know what their kids are doing as well as knowing they can come to you with questions, concerns and compliments at any time.

I personally believe that everything begins and ends with the parents. Sharon Davison really makes it a point to involve the parents and give them a voice as well as an outlet for any thoughts or questions. When parents feel they are important to the teacher, they in turn become engaged and an engaged parent is an active parent and active parents produce kids that behave better and have a desire to learn. Overall, I believe Sharon has her kids moving towards a great direction.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Personal Learning Network

There have been several items I have found that not only did I not know about, but I find them very useful now and I am sure as a teacher.

The first would be Symbaloo. A strange name, but a useful resource for anyone in the teaching field. Below is a link to an example of the one I would use in my social studies teachings.

European History Symbaloo

As you can see, there are many icons with different places to which you can extract pertinent information to the desired historical element.

Another resource would have to be Icurio.
Just as this picture suggests, I can use this resource to find anything I or my kids need and do it how I want it. Also, because this site has been researched ahead of time, I do not have to worry about accidently getting a porn site after typing in the Virgin Queen. Plus, my students can make there own files to save in folders so they never lose vital places they have been.

Lastly, Discovery Ed. I love the fact I can make a book come alive to students. This website gives the visual aid that many students appreciate. It enhances the ability to remember certain facts by mentally conceptualizing every form of information that has been attained on a particular question.

Bottom line, I want to provide my students with everything I deem fit to help them excel in every facet I teach. I want every sense to be used, whenever possible, in order to make the best learning environment I can make. So, basically, whatever is out there, be it old school or new, I want to research it and if I feel it will help my classroom, then that is good enough for me!

After all...........

when done right