Sunday, May 5, 2013

C4K Summary for April

Spencer is an eighth grader who was born and raised in Iowa. His favorite school subject is PE and he likes football, playing guitar, and he has a dog named Luke. I told him that I've never been out of the south, and asked him who his favorite football team is. I also informed him that I'm going to be a Physical Education major, and questioned if he had any idea what he'd like to do when he gets older.

Bianca told us all about her trip to Sovereign Hill, a place where time is set in the gold rush period (late 1800's). She got a taste of how life was back then as she experienced the different shops in the township, working conditions in the mines, and rough living quarters. She even got to pan for gold on her birthday! I told her that I was glad that she had a good birthday, and a fun time learning how much life has changed since those times.

Blog Assignment #15

The first time I did this assignment, I mentioned being interactive with computers, IPads, and educational games...but I didn't really explain it. I did, however, mention putting my students artwork all over the classroom. Of course I'll still display projects if it's something we make, but now I'm thinking more along the lines of sharing it with the whole world. Collaborative videos, blog posts, green screen movies; whatever it may be, it's going on the internet for people to see. I want their ideas to influence others, get feedback, and prompt people to share their own knowledge and ideas. I want my class to be a place where my students are excited to be, where they can explore and use their creativity while I just help guide them to where they can find their own inspirations.

I'm going to use blog posts so that my students can share ideas and get feedback from others. A flipped classroom so that in-class time is spent on application of the skills that they have learned. Videos so that they can learn how to work together and make their own script. Projects so that they can build something, test it, and then be able to explain how it works. SmartBoard presentations so that they can practice interactively teaching their peers. I want my class to be completely hands-on. You have to spend the same amount of time with the kids everyday, so why waste it? As a teacher, we should already know how to put ourselves on the road to success. They don't, and while we don't have to hold their hands along the way, it's our responsibility to get them started in the right direction.

Blog Assignment #8

This Is How We Dream

I noticed this video was posted in 2009, and since then his dream is quickly becoming a reality. It's not something you often think about, but books do go out of date. They'll have them in the library until a newer version comes out, and then you won't be able to find them again unless you know where to look. With technology, knowledge doesn't have to be lost. Pen and paper have so many limitations. The ink fades, the paper tears, and all you can see is words. Using technology, you can speak in such greater volumes! You can combine speeches, videos, facts, and statistics into a presentation that entertains all the senses and is stored safely on the web; not lost somewhere in a pile with the rest of the world's forgotten ideas.

Dr. Miller thinks his ideas will be hard to implement, but will they really? With the speed at which technology is advancing, it shouldn't be difficult at all. Eventually it will become a necessity; why should students use outdated skills to learn new ones?? It doesn't make sense. By putting together this type of multimedia, they're having to find valuable information, use tools to compose it in a way that's appealing and understandable, and share it with the rest of the world. Input doesn't do any good without some type of output! It's a much more effective way to get up-to-date, organized information in a variety of ways so that there can be a greater understanding and availability for future use.

I'm still learning myself, but I will be prepared to use this type of media. My students are going to be able to use it to their advantage as well. I want to be able to teach them in a way that will enhance their learning, and give them something that they can be excited about and that they will want to make use of in the future. Pencil and paper still has its place and they'll need to know how to write, but why let their only tool be a pencil when there's so many options out there for them to explore, and so many different ways that they can engage?

Blog Post #12

First of all, Carly's post in itself employs Dr. Miller's hopes for writing with multimedia. I was intrigued the whole time I was reading, and I love how she created the hyperlinks that went along with what she was saying; it really helped to express the point that she was trying to get across. The assignment that she gave was a great idea, and it really does get you thinking. You have to seriously consider your own thoughts and feelings towards teaching and the learning process, and how you want to share them with your students so that they appreciate the knowledge that they're gaining as much as you do. I definitely enjoyed her video about acceptance for those with disabilities. Isn't that what it's all about: perception? To have one closed-minded view about anything, whether it be teaching, society, or people in general; is to miss out on what the world has to offer. If you aren't contributing, you come and you leave this world with the same thing: nothing. Why not make a difference? Carly had an excellent post!

EDM 310 Is Different

I'd love to create a video about time management. I know it's always my biggest trial. I think a video which expresses the struggles of having a busy college life and gives tips on how to overcome that, or at least make it less overwhelming, would be very helpful. Most students aren't accustomed to devoting so much of their time to school work and studying, and it's a relief to have someone guide you so that it becomes a task that you can handle effectively. In my video, I would show kids working together and encouraging each other to do their work ahead of time, and not at the last minute. EDM 310 For Dummies was funny, but so true! Most people don't have a clue what they're getting into when they enter this class, and it's nice to have a little guidance from people who have survived the struggle.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

In this video, standardized testing was mentioned. But what is a standard, really? How long does it last? "It's the death of education, but the beginning of actual learning." I love that!! It's true that, as educators, we want our students to value and appreciate the culture that we live in. But how are they going to do that if we keep them from utilizing the tools that are available to them? Technology isn't a thing to be feared; but embraced. There's no need to confine them to a classroom and smother their creativity; we have to let them use that creativity to be their guiding force. There are endless opportunities for a child who has never been forced to stay inside the lines.

ideas are the roots of creation

Blog Assignment #6

The Networked Student

I think that Wendy Drexler's idea of a networked student is brilliant. Using Google Scholar, she and her students both know that the sources they are using are reliable. They are getting the information that they need about the subject from peer-reviewed authors who really know what they're talking about. Since they aren't using a textbook, the articles from Google Scholar are where the 'facts' come from. The articles are a better source of information than the textbook anyway, because the textbook only gives brief descriptions of every topic. With Google Scholar, however, there are many different explanations of the same thing that the student can explore to help them get a better understanding. As mentioned in the video, reading others' blogs is more opinion based than anything. Even so, it's beneficial to be able to share your opinion in order to open up discussions about the topic. In all, her method allows students to combine their ability to find research-based knowledge, share it with others, and receive feedback about their own opinions.

A very important question was brought to light in this video...Why does the networked student even need a teacher? Think about it. You have a kid who, most likely, is accustomed to listening to a teacher lecture, or flip through powerpoint slides. You hand them a computer and tell them to learn about psychology. How are they going to know what to do? Someone has to guide them in figuring out which sources will tell them what they need to know, and which are unreliable. Even if they do know how to find the information, that doesn't mean that they would think to network and share that knowledge, all while enhancing their own understanding. Yes, they are learning on their own, but they need a teacher to show them the process which gives them the best and most beneficial outlet for that learning experience.

EDM 310 is a great example of transforming us to be networked students. Before this class, I didn't understand networking, know how to use a blog effectively, or know how to find trusted sources on the internet. However, reading these blogs and doing all of these projects has helped to transform me in ways that I didn't even realize until recently. In other classes in the past few weeks that I've been assigned projects in, instead of trying to sit there on my own and think of the easiest thing to do, I've learned to use resources such as Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube to give me ideas. If it wasn't for this class, I would still be thinking a lecture and tests was the best way to go; and it's not. Sometimes you don't realize how narrow your frame of mind is until it's challenged, which is what Dr. Strange and Ms. Drexler are trying to accomplish in all of their networked students.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

Looking back on my 7th grade year, I really couldn't tell you what I learned. However, I bet this girl could give you some useful information. She knows where to find good sources, and keeps everything organized using Symbaloo. I think one of the things that's so great about her PLE is that she has the freedom to learn what she wants. For instance, she said she was interested in the box jellyfish, so she did an interactive project on it. She gets to explore things that she's curious about and expand on them in her own way. No kid wants to sit and listen to something that bores them. By allowing them to approach learning how they want to, they're able to fulfill those curiosities and actually dig deeper into the subject. Not only that, it's exciting to be able to email and have Skype interviews with scientists. She even mentions that other websites such as Facebook can be distracting, but they 'have so much freedom that you have the inclination to be responsible.' That's called a motivated student. Once you get kids excited about learning and teach them how to use it to their benefit, they're going to be a lot more likely to continue that path to success in the future.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Final Report on PLN


If you had asked me what a PLN was six months ago, I probably would have looked at you like you were crazy and walked away. However, now my personal learning network is, and will be, the backbone of everything I do. I love Symbaloo because it helps me keep everything organized. From twitter, to pinterest, to other teacher's blogs; it allows me to access everything that I need with ease. When I entered this class, the idea in my head was of a classroom where a teacher stood up at the front of her students and lectured, whether through discussion, powerpoint, or both. EDM 310 has really opened my eyes and allowed me to see that that really doesn't have to be the case! I can now use these resources to plan my flipped classroom, where the students have more time with me to apply what they already know. I'm getting ideas now that I'm saving to use for my students later, and I can't wait to see how much fun we're going to have learning together!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

Back to the Future

I think the way Brian Crosby helps his students to learn is phenomenal. The most inspiring thing that I heard him say was that students can't "understand what there can be if they don't know what there is". He said this in regards to many of his students, mostly those in poverty, who knew very little about the world around them. He has a fourth grade class, but many of them couldn't identify their phone number, address, city, or state. Mr. Crosby tried to create ways that they could connect with the world around them. My favorite was the balloon experiment. Using their own, and other kids around the world's 'high hopes', they created their own hot air balloon and sent it up in the sky, along with a video camera in the basket. They got to see the whole journey on film and then create their own story as if they were the balloon, and they had to describe their experience. They posted these stories on their blogs and received comments from many other students. This whole assignment allowed them to actually see the process, replay it in their own fashion, and then share it with everyone. Not only does it help them begin networking, but it also gives them a sense of diversity. They get to see where all the kids live that comment on their blogs in comparison to their own surroundings. Mr. Crosby had some great tools to help his class learn what the needed to know in the curriculum, and also about the world around them.

Blended Learning Cycle

Mr. Andersen uses a blended learning strategy called QUIVERS: question, investigate/inquire, video, elaborate, review, and summary quiz. The purpose of a question is to get the students' attention. By awakening their curiosity, he opens the door for investigation. Letting them explore the object(s) that they are questioning gives them a more realistic view. As he showed in the video, he let his students use forceps to move small beads and beans. He used this to show comparison to the beak of a finch. Further explanation is given with a video, in which Mr. Andersen can explain what's going on, while also giving a visual and real life example. Once students have a better idea of what is happening, they can begin to elaborate. An example was given in which he wrote down a list of section numbers and asked them to read and be able to understand certain aspects of the text. Once they get a visual of the process and how it connects to the world, he reviews with them to make sure they know the material well enough to answer probing questions that he has. The last step is a summary quiz. This allows the students to check themselves and go back to do more review if there are any areas that they still have problems with.

I think Mr. Andersen has a good strategy; it's something I'll have to try. I like how he gets the students curiosity and lets them explore the topic before he asks them to read about it in the book. I know for me personally, it is a lot easier to understand text if I already have some idea of what's going on. Sometimes reading text first can be confusing if you don't know how to relate to what you're reading. I also think it's very beneficial that he sits down with them to have review sessions and asks them questions that really test their understanding of the topic. He said that 'if you really learn something, you should be able to teach it' and I completely agree with that. Checking to make sure that his students can explain to him what they know ensures that they actually comprehend what they're saying, and aren't just spitting out answers. It's a solid learning process; I think most students would benefit from it!blended learning cycle

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Progress Report on Final Project

Our group, Aries, met today to discuss our final project. We made an outline and decided that we would each have a part discussing our best tips to help prepare future EDM students for what to expect out of this class, and for what this class will require of them. We will be meeting again next Tuesday to swap some more ideas and start practicing what we will say. It's really convenient to be able to meet during class time because it would be hard to find time to get together otherwise with all of our busy schedules!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Special Assignment #1

Metaphors are best used to explain emotions that we don't know how to put into words. For instance: time is money. We associate money with having value, meaning that we also consider time to be valuable to us. Sea of grief is another one. Grief is a feeling that can range from very extreme to not at all. We know a sea is a vast expanse of water; that informs us that the level of grief runs deep or is very extensive.

Some of the best works of literature and poetry in the past and present times have been filled with metaphors. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" is a famous one written by Shakespeare. He's comparing the pleasantness and elegance of the summer season to his opinion of a special woman. "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" came from Picasso, one of the greatest artists of the late 19th-20th century. To him, art is as meaningful as being able to brush yourself off and start a new day off right when you have problems. Dr. Strange uses a metaphor all the time when he says we have to get rid of burp back education. He tries to drive home the point that there is no reason to learn things if you are just going to burp it right back up and not even be able to use it. Metaphors are everywhere and you have to know how to understand them if you want to comprehend what's going on in the world around you.


Blog Assignment #12


Many people view Physical Education as nothing more than fun and games. For those of you who plan to be Physical Education instructors, it is your job to make sure that it will be a useful learning experience. Read Dylan Blain's post iPads/iPods in PE – Practical Workflow with Edmodo. What is Edmodo? Share your thoughts on Mr. Blain's post and tell us how you would implement it in your classroom. Even if you don't plan to be a PE teacher, it will benefit you to know how important Physical Education is as a learning process.

iPads/iPods in PE – Practical Workflow with Edmodo

Edmodo is used to connect people with the contacts and resources they need to help them reach their full potential. It helps to personalize learning and uses educational apps to enhance learning in the classroom. According to Mr. Blain, this is beneficial in the PE environment because it allows the students to join groups and participate in assigned tasks. For example, say students are learning how to do a particular skill set, such as shooting a lay-up in basketball. The kids can join whichever group they need to in order to work with people who are on the same level of experience. Even though the skill is a lay-up, some students will need to work on jumping off the correct foot when shooting, while others might need to work on shooting with their non-dominant hand. The grouping and tasks that this app provides allows less experienced students to learn at their own pace, rather than getting left behind by those that may already know how to do most of the aspects of that particular skill.

Another reason that Edmodo is great for Physical Education is because of the mobility that it provides. Using an IPod or IPad, images and film can be recorded in the gym or on the field; wherever the lesson is taking place. There is a separate app called Coach's Eye to do that, but Mr. Blain informs us that Edmodo makes it possible for students to access and assess their footage at any time and even create a portfolio. This is one of the most beneficial ways for students to learn because, using the film, they can see specifically what they are doing wrong and how it should be reformed, rather than hearing a teacher tell them how to correct it without a visual to guide them.

As a Physical Education teacher, I will definitely be using Edmodo. Not only will it give my students access to something that will help them see how to correct their movements, but it also allows them to learn how to monitor progress. I think it will be a great motivation for them to be able to watch the footage and see their progression in small steps, and eventually their achievement of the skill. With the video evidence, they can see just how far they have come with the whole process; and they definitely need that reinforcement that they've done a good job! Edmodo will go a long way in terms of organization, and the resources that it will provide me with to help enhance the learning environment of my students will be a positive movement towards making Physical Education a better and more beneficial experience for the whole class.

Physical Education

Sunday, April 7, 2013

C4T Summary Teacher #3

Mr. Wickens works in the Physical Education department at Loughborough University. In the first post of his that I read, Guided Access on iOS in Education, he explains that there is an app that will allow certain programs to lock once you open them, meaning that once they are open, they can't be closed without a specific code. This is beneficial in the classroom because students can't exit from whatever it is they are supposed to be working on and get off task. Not only that, but the app also allows you to disable certain areas of the screen. This comes in handy because it gives the students a little more freedom, but they still can't access certain things that you don't want them to if you have the applications locked. I believe that this is an excellent tool; it lets the kids be more independent and keeps the teacher from having to worry about them wasting their learning time on things that they shouldn't.

The next post, Google Chrome in Education, gives us insight to the many benefits of using Google Chrome. You can have as many different user accounts as you want and personalize them to make them accessible to whatever you need. In essence, it puts all of your educational resources right at your fingertips. To me, this is just one more step to make technology user friendly and help it meet the needs of everyone. These tools that Mr. Wickens has brought to light are giving school systems every reason to want to include technology to give students a better educational experience.

google globe

C4K Summary March

Vincent is in Mrs. Goerend's 5th grade classroom. In his blog post, he told us how he made a healthy and unhealthy menu from Burger King. He chose an unhealthy triple stacker, coke, and onion rings versus a much better single stacker, lemonade, and apple slices. His choices sound pretty good and I asked him what his favorite meal from there was, but I also suggested that it would be a good option to substitute his burger for a salad. I'm glad he's learning about healthier choices early!

burger king

Rocky's teacher is Ms. King, and he attends Pt. England School in New Zealand. He informs us of why he thinks Easter eggs are a part of Easter. One suggestion he made was that they symbolize new life, and the other was that the hollow egg represents the tomb of Jesus. I told him that those were both great ideas, and that new life made sense, seeing as eggs are the beginning of a new life and coloring them gives them personality like a human would have. I could tell he really thought about the true meaning of the holiday, rather than just assuming it's purpose was for the Easter bunny to make his rounds giving out candy.

Blog Assignment #11

Ms. Cassidy's Classroom

Ms. Cassidy's use of technology gives her students an advantage over most. Having the kids create individual blogs is something that I will definitely make use of in my future classroom. I've always realized that it is an effective way to give them an audience for their work, but I never considered that it enhanced their writing skills. Then again, if you are frequently writing and receiving encouraging feedback, that motivation is almost guaranteed to result in skill improvement. This is one of the most beneficial ways for students to write because it gets the kids excited about what they are doing. Even in the video you could hear how thrilled they were to know that other people read and comment on what they write, and it makes them eager to learn and share more. The students themselves want to be successful and that's the most important thing.

I believe her use of the Smart Board is also an excellent idea. It's a great way to teach them how to use the technology that we have today to their benefit, and to prepare them to reap the full rewards of future learning tools. I say that because not all students will be receptive to it. There are going to be a number of kids who won't want to use something so big or stand in front of their peers to do so. However, I believe that with practice, encouragement, and a little one-on-one time with the Smart Board, they will become more comfortable with it and be able to use it productively. This in itself is valuable, but the best skill that they learn from this is how to embrace the new tools that they are given; not be afraid of them.

I don't know that I would use it in my classroom, but her idea to use the Nintendo DS to let her students play games which teach them skills like how to take care of an animal is ingenious. No, that may not be in the curriculum, but what a great way to get them to learn something that they might not know otherwise! Knowing how to comment on blogs isn't in the curriculum either, but it's a step in the right direction to helping the kids understand the right and wrong way to interact with other people. That's something that they'll have to know in the real world all through life; and shouldn't one of our main goals be to teach them how to be successful in whatever they do?!

Ms. Cassidy is putting her students on the fast track to success, and guiding them along until they can walk the path themselves. More teachers should take her approach.

kids using smart board

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #10

Adventures In Pencil Integration papermate vs. ticonderoga

The above cartoon was drawn by John T. Spencer. When I first looked at it, I wasn't really sure what it meant. After doing a little searching, I found out that it's comparing Mac and PC computers. Once I was able to make that connection, I understood the point (no pun intended) that Mr. Spencer was trying to communicate. Commercials for both of these two types of computers make it seem as if they are the best option, and the competition has nothing to offer. His description compares a cheap Papermate pencil versus a more expensive Ticonderoga. Essentially, PC's are cheaper but they don't have all of the bells and whistles that a Mac has. It just goes to show you how you can advertise anything to look the way you want it so that it will sell, but in reality you're going to get either an overpriced toy or something that won't last you very long. It's important to know what you're really buying so that you don't get distracted by the pretty ads and forget the purpose of your purchase!

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

The principal at Mr. Spencer's school is completely against any type of game. In his mind, "games" can't be used to learn and usually lead to trouble with parents. What Mr. Spencer is trying to explain to him that he can't seem to understand is that his activities are being used to help his students comprehend the material; they're not useless. I find it interesting that the principal talks of "abandoning slate-based learning", but then suggests a system using worksheets and packets, exactly the type of learning that he says he wants to stay away from. No, it's not the same as the teacher standing in front of the class and lecturing, and yes, it does allow the class to work at their own pace and do work individually; but that type of learning is not interactive at all. Mr. Spencer integrates the concepts into his games so that the students are able to learn and apply the information. Unlike the principal, he understands that learning should be more valuable than getting the kids to memorize information for a standardized test. Learning standards are constantly changing anyway!

The Con Academy

The principal at Mr. Spencer's school wants him to talk to a man about the idea of flipping his classroom. Instead of the teacher lecturing for most of the period and having little or no time for application of the subject and individual help, a flipped classroom allows for the students to be able to go over the material beforehand and lets the teacher spend precious class time answering questions that the students have and doing activities to help them apply the concepts that they learn. The system that the man proposed was to let each child learn skills on their own and use a step by step process to master each of those skills independently. It takes away the teaching role. While it does allow students to work at an individual pace, the only thing that they are actually learning to do is follow set of instructions. It won't show them how to interpret a passage from Shakespeare or write a good essay. They need someone instructing them; written guidelines can't explain a concept the way a teacher can. You can read more about it here.

I think Mr. Spencer is trying to make a point that you have to care about your students. Every kid deserves the best education possible, and it's our job as teachers to provide that. We have to be willing to learn along with them and be their guide to success. They eventually do have to know how to learn on their own, but we have to give them the tools to do that first.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?

Scott McLeod plays a major role in technology advancement issues. He is the Founding Director of the only place that solely works to meet the technology needs of school administrators. In his post, he begs parents, teachers, and schools alike not to view technology as being evil. If it's monitered properly, it can be one of a teacher's greatest tools. Denying them use of these valuable assets isn't going to do anything but deny them a better learning experience. If students can use those tools to share knowledge with the world and spread their ideas and creativity, we shouldn't deny them the privilege. There's no need to assume they're going to abuse the privilege and deny them the experience, we're better off teaching them how to use it to their advantage.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Assignment #9

What I've Learned This Year

Mr. McClung's first year of teaching was a period of growth and maturity which proved to be an invaluable experience. He explains that it's important not to get too caught up in your own appearance. As a teacher, making your students successful is your first priority, not impressing the boss and other co-workers. I have to agree with him. If you're too focused on how you look to others, you won't likely realize whether or not your own students are comprehending. You've got to remember who the audience is!

He also expresses the need to be flexible. While it's important to have a lesson plan to follow, things aren't always going to go as planned. It's more beneficial to everyone if you take the time to make sure the whole class understands, rather than rushing to cover the material in a certain amount of time. I think you have to be able to adjust. If you don't take the time to make sure the students are following along, then you're wasting your time anyway. Lesson plans can always be changed.

Communication is another important factor. Mr. McClung believes that it is the best way to solve any problems that may arise. You're going to see your students and fellow teachers almost every day, so it's better to resolve any issues and figure out how to prevent them in the future than it is to avoid it and let tension build up and make the situation worse. I think if you want your co-workers and students to respect you, then you have to be willing to make sure everyone is on the same page. Good communication skills are the only way that will happen.

He informs us that it's crucial to remember who you're dealing with as well. Students are going to make a lot of mistakes, and they won't always reach the bar that you set for them. That doesn't mean that they should be punished; as a teacher it's your job to keep encouraging them and to help them do a better job next time. I have to agree, sometimes you have to let the students set their own bars. He stresses not to lower standards for yourself either. Don't be afraid of something as powerful as technology just because you haven't mastered it yet. In my opinion, you have to look at it as an opportunity for you to learn along with your students. You don't have to know everything!

Mr. McClung has learned first-hand how valuable it is to listen to your students. You're a vital part of their learning experience; just hear them out. You may be the only one willing to help them, and they'll be grateful that you did. Taking an interest in your students is the only way you'll really get to know them and be more equipped to guide them to success. Not only that, but you have to be willing to do the same thing that you're asking of the class: learn. He says if you can't grow as an educator, then students won't be able to reap the full benefits of your teaching. I'd have to say that he's right on target; you can't expect students to rise to a challenge if you can't even do it yourself.

What I Learned This Year - Volume 4

At the end of his fourth year teaching, Mr. McClung explains to us that for most of the year he still worried way too much about what his superiors thought about him. All of that unnecessary added stress did nothing but affect his mood in a negative way, and that in turn was taken out upon his students. He finally realized that it didn't matter one way or the other whether or not his peers approved of his teaching, as long as his students were benefiting from it. If the kids are enjoying the class and come in eager to learn, changing tactics just to impress others is only going to take away from their learning experience. I plan to make sure that my students are always put first. I'll feel better about the end result, and I will have helped them to reach their full potential. Changing even one life for the better will make it worthwhile; that's what teaching is all about!

The bottom line is: if your students aren't enjoying the lessons that you give them, they won't learn. It's easy to fall into a routine and form lazy habits. Mr. McClung was enlightened when he found out that he would get to teach different classes his fourth year. He noticed that he had relied too much on lesson plans from previous years, and also that he hadn't come up with any creative new ideas to keep his students on their toes. While it's easy to teach something that you've become comfortable with, it's even easier to become boring and monotonous without even realizing it. If kids resent going to class because they hate the experience, then you're setting them up to resist knowledge in the future. As teachers, we should want our students to enjoy learning and be ready and willing to share it with others; not be the reason they are afraid of it.

teachers plant the seeds of knowledge

Friday, March 8, 2013

C4T Summary

"Leading nations will found their success on their ability to develop their intellectual capabilities, and by creating and innovating to solve problems that don't even exist yet." This quote by Steve Wheeler pretty much sums up his first blog post. He warns us that success in the future is going to depend on the education systems that we have in place, rather than the amount of natural resources and monetary capital. In essence, weak minds will lead to weak nations, which will end up in poverty and eventually lead to collapse. The future will be based on uninvented technology, and we have to have intellectual minds that are ready and capable of processing and utilizing this new information so that it will be beneficial to us. I agreed with him that students who aren't prepared in the classroom to utilize their minds to think for themselves and create a better future will be the ones who fall behind in such a technologically advanced world.knowledge quote

In his second post, Steve tells us what a gold mine social media really is. For one, it allows for what he calls "active learning". What he means by this is letting students express what they've learned, whether it be through blogposts, podcasts, or something more advanced; rather than feeding them the information with no chance for them to reproduce the new knowledge. These are effective tools to use because they allow the students to share their work with others and gain valuable connections and feedback. He reminds us that this can only happen if teachers are willing to utilize these tools for what they're really worth, and if school districts will be willing to unblock these resources. I definitely concur with his thoughts. Spreading the knowledge that they have learned gives them a valuable experience that they will be more likely to remember in the long run. Not only that, learning how to share information early is vital to success in future endeavors.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Project 9: PLN Progress Report

My PLN is coming along quite nicely. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube are the websites I frequent the most to learn new information. Pinterest and Twitter are my two favorites. On twitter, there are so many different people to follow, and I love how I can search a particular hashtag and find out everyone who has used it. It's very beneficial to me because in allowing me to find other people who have used the hashtag, I can follow them and see all of their other tweets that give me even more information and connections that might be useful to me. Not only that, but Twitter allows me to communicate with those people instantly if I have a question or if I'm trying to find something out. Even if none of my followers can help me, many of them may have connections that can! I like Pinterest because it's very visual. It gives me plenty of ideas on how to make my classroom a fun place to be in, as well as visually appealing. Pinterest also allows me to repin the things that I like so that I can have them safely stored for use in the future, and so that I can share the ideas with everyone else. All of these websites are great tools, and I'm looking for even more!personal learning network

C4K Summary

Comments for kidsThomas told us what he thought YouTube would be like if it existed in 1912. He believes that there would be a lot of propaganda because it was right before the first world war. However, the common people would post goofy videos like we do today, and the working class would be advocating better wages and working conditions. I agreed with him, because YouTube is a great place for advertising. Also, people post about things that they can relate to in their everyday lives, and all the things he mentioned occurred during that time period.

Neal loves hockey, and his favorite team is Pittsburgh. When he plays, he likes to have a snack and power drink on hand. He's pretty good at playing hockey too, he scored 20 goals! I asked him if he scored all of those goals in one game, and what kind of snack he likes to have. I also wondered if he had any other favorite teams, and told him that he would have to show me the ropes; I don't know too much about hockey!

Paikea and Skye are just starting a new school year in Room 6. I told them that I hope they have a good year and learn many new things. I also wish to see more of their blogs soon!

Aries Group Podcast Project #8

Blog Assignment #7

Randy Pausch's last lecture "Achieving the Childhood Dream" embraces the idea of maximizing the creative potential of all kids. I love how he says that he learned that the bar can never be set too high. When you do set a bar, you're assuming how far the kids can go. If you don't really know for sure how much they can do and you set it too low, they will never be able to reach their full potential. Another thing he emphasizes is to never give up on your dreams. Brick walls are placed in front of you not to keep you from your achievements, but to see who will be willing to work hard enough to overcome all of the obstacles placed before them.

I have to admit that I was fascinated by Dr. Pausch's lecture. The biggest, or at least what I believe to be the most important thing that I learned from him, is that the only boundaries you have are the ones that you set for yourself. Yes, there are going to be road blocks along the way and people are going to tell you no, or that you can't do it. However, we have to remember that other people aren't the ones guiding our path. If one way doesn't work, there's always a second option. You just have to be willing to find it. Even sometimes when our dreams don't work out exactly the way that we planned them to, such as Dr. Pausch not being able to play in the NFL, the lessons that we learn along the way and can pass on to others are well worth the journey.

As an educator, I know that my job is not to limit my students, but rather to give them all the tools that they need so that they are ready for any challenges that they may face. Dr. Pausch helped me to realize that the language I use is a big factor in their success as well. Saying "I don't know" to a student versus saying "I don't know, tell me more" can make all the difference. Just because I don't know how to do something or how to help them get started doesn't mean I can't encourage them to pursue it and help them to get the connections they need so that they can move in the right direction. When I teach, I plan to encourage all my students and give them helpful advice rather than tell them I can't help and blow it off. Sometimes that little extra push can be the difference in whether they choose to pursue their dreams or not.

Dr. Pausch made some revolutionary changes at Carnegie-Mellon. Not only did he help to make a new program where kids could create amazing projects that were devised completely from their own instruction, but by sharing it with the rest of the school; he allowed fellow students, parents, and teachers alike to get a taste of the amazing things that creativity and imagination can produce. In my classroom, the students will be able to venture down the paths of their mind that they didn't even know they had. I won't set a bar, because letting them do projects where there are no guidelines forces them to think and use their own creative judgement. It's easy to follow a set of instructions and do homework or a project. However, it's not so easy to create something when there are endless ways to complete the task. It's not the end result that's so important, but rather finding the path to get there and knowing how to do that in all aspects of life that makes the ride worthwhile.
quote by randy pausch

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #5

I had no idea who Krissy Venosdale was, but after browsing through her blog it didn't take me long to find out. She's an elementary school teacher with a huge passion for learning and giving her students the best experience possible. Not only that, but she realizes that "you have to be a learner to be a teacher". In my opinion, that statement alone has to be the basis for any educator if they want to maximize their potential.
finished teaching, finished learning
Her idea of a dream school is amazing; any student that attended would be much more prepared for the 'real world'. Her emphasis on understanding the cirriculum rather than just covering it is the reason for that. Building robots, going on field trips, having experts share their opinions, group projects, and a comfortable learning environment are just a few of the tools that she would implement. I believe this type of learning environment would be so successful because it not only teaches the kids what to learn, but how to learn as well. Reading, writing, and math are all necessary bases for any career, but what about beyond that? Hands-on learning as she suggests gives students the knowledge they need, but it also allows them to be able to think for themselves and learn from their own experiences. Working with other students helps them to collaborate and use their mistakes not to be punished, but rather as a motivation to accomplish their goal together. In the working environment that's a key tool; everyone is working together to establish a common goal. This type of learning gives them REAL preparation!

I love Mrs. Venosdale's idea of having 20% time. In other words, a period every day in which kids can sign up to do something that they're passionate about. Personally, I think this is her best idea. Sitting through class after class all through elementary, middle, and high school leaves most kids with no idea what type of career path they'd like to pursue. Instead of wasting money and a few years of college trying to figure out what you enjoy, why not go ahead and start early?? This period of time gives them an opportunity to explore many different things and focus on their passion when they find out what it is. Honestly, if i could have my own dream school, I can't think of one much better than the one Mrs. Venosdale has painted a picture of. The only thing I would add is some time for individual projects...sometimes it's useful to have to come up with everything on your own and see just how far your brain can stretch!

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'

First of all, how is this even possible?! I can only imagine how much work went into this, seeing that 185 voices in different places had to be put together. Using the internet in this way is a great form of creative expression. If this hadn't been done, how else could this work of art been displayed? Making use of tools that can do things like this on the computer is an excellent way to showcase talent that otherwise might not be possible. Plus, you're connecting with people from around the world. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Look what happens when you use 185 of them...

Teaching in the 21st Century

Roberts clearly expresses that he believes learning shouldn't be about facts and data, but rather necessary life skills and how to process and use valuable information. There are a million different sources where information can be found: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on. However, how do we know that the information is useful and reliable? When teachers give assignments that simply require putting down an answer that was Googled on a piece of paper, no learning is going on. As an educator, I can't necessarily make sure every single one of my students knows how to set up a credit card, pay bills, file taxes, fix a car, and plenty of life's other necessities. However, what i can do is make sure my students know how to use the tools that they have so that they can figure out how to do these things the correct way.

While I don't necessarily agree with him that values and morals should be taught; I believe that should be left to parents and each child's own experiences, I do think that we have to lead by example. No two people's morals or values are going to be exactly the same, but as educators we should know right from wrong and be able to be a good role model and help kids find the answers they need in regard to those subjects. However, I completely agree with him that we have to be the ones to help them avoid such things as piracy and copyrighting. After all, teachers are the ones who ask their students to find information. It's not fair of us to do that if we don't teach them how to recognize which information is okay to use, and the best ways to find it.

Flipped Classroom

I am definitely going to use this technique in my classroom. Personally, I don't want to stand in front of classes all day long and do nothing but lecture. I'll get tired of that and so will my students; plus they aren't going to remember much of it. A lot of teachers lecture and then use homework as the application. However, if a student is doing the work at home, they can't get help if they have any questions. Sure, they can ask in class the next day, but a teacher isn't going to have time to answer all of those questions effectively. By flipping the classroom, they have already reviewed the material and class time can be spent applying it. Not only does that give me more time to get the students actively involved in the learning process, but it also allows students who are behind to review the material as many times as they need to in order to catch up. While some of the kids might try to neglect reviewing before class, that would be an easy thing to remedy with rewards if they have clearly gone over the material, and consequences if they have not. I think a flipped classroom is an excellent way for a teacher to get the most value out of the time spent with students.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #4

I'll have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about Podcasting at first. I was wondering how exactly making a video would teach students anything valuable. Well, Langwitches did a great job answering that question for me! For one, I can see how it would be an excellent approach to learning a new language. Instead of just hearing foreign words read out loud, students get to practice voice expression which allows them to attach meaning behind the words so that they will better remember them later. Not only that, participating in the editing process gives them even more practice at recognizing words and comprehending how they fit together to make a complete thought. It's a learning process similar to reading, but they also learn to attach feelings and emotions behind it since they are the voices of the Podcast; something which isn't usually achieved by reading words off of a paper!

Another important role that a Podcast fulfills is giving the students an audience. While it may not seem significant, young children love to know that they're doing the right thing and that their achievements have been recognized. They love attention, and why not let them know that they're doing a good job? Young kids might not always understand the importance of learning to read and comprehend, so it's important to give them that extra motivation. It's also clearly implied that Podcasts emphasize repetition. Just think: they record their voices (sometimes multiple times if they don't like the way it sounds or if it doesn't have enough emotion), take part in the editing process and putting together all of the sentences in the correct order, and then listen to the finished product multiple times. I believe this adds more valuable skill to the learning process rather than just reading or listening to a book only once.

I will definitely use Podcasts in my classroom. What better way to incorporate interactive learning?! Some people are visual learners, while others benefit more from audio. This approach combines the two and adds hands-on experience. Learning by doing gives them the skills they need and motivation to try other new learning processes in the future. New knowledge can be fun, and it's much more likely to be remembered in the long run!podcast symbol and headphones

C4T #1 Summary

Royan Lee is the creative owner of the Spicy Learning Blog. In his first post that I commented on, "Writing in Snippets ~ How I Blog", he explains to us how he doesn't write his blog posts all in one sitting. Instead, when he has a thought, he takes out his phone and jots down notes and ideas. His reasoning for this is that he is a very busy person. Being on the go all the time, he has a lot of scattered thoughts that he doesn't always finish. Taking the notes allows him to go back to it later and be able to complete his thought. I agreed with him that this was a very useful technique for blogging that I had never thought of. Personally, I do it all at one time. However, it does make sense to write down what's on your mind and come back to it when you have time to completely think it through. Great idea for the everyday multi-tasker!

In his next post, "Don't Call It 'Gym'", he explains why he prefers to refer to the class as Physical Education. Usually with the word 'gym' comes the thought of basketball all day every day. However, Mr. Lee informs us that the term is old and outdated. Why does it even matter?! Because times are changing and Physical Education classes are focused on learning the skills of a sport rather than competition resulting in wins and losses. Even one of his students made sure another kid knew that 'gym' was too 'old school' of a term to use. Talk about a proud teacher! I agreed with him once again and stated that students and teachers alike need to understand that PE is no longer about pointless playtime, but a time to actually learn. The fact that his student realized the message he was trying to get across is a success in itself!
high school gym

Project #5 Presentation

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post #1

WolframAlpha states that in 2010, India had 2.1 billion people, China had 1.35 billion, and the United States had 309 million. I understand why the information was misinterpreted now, the United States is more than three times smaller! I also asked WolframAlpha to compare the population density of India, China, and the US. India has 1,058 people per square mile, China has 376, and the US has 87.3. Those numbers also help to put the actual population in perspective. Next, I checked the life expectancy. The people of the United States live the longest with an average of about 78.1 years. China follows at 73.5, and India comes in last at 69.9. What a coincidence that the countries with more people don't tend to live as long!

WolframAlpha would be an excellent resource for both me and my students. It gives accurate comparisons so quickly! If I had tried to google the population of each of those separately, I would have had to search through a million plus pages that would've all given me different numbers. The option of using a favorites and a history tab will help my students a lot because they can refer back to the information that they have learned. Not only that, but the website puts similar information on whichever page that you search. For example, when I searched for the population, it also gave me other demographics that compared the three of them. I will definitely be using this in my classroom!

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

Watching how fast all of those counters changed made my head hurt. It's amazing how technologically advanced our world has become. As a teacher, that means that I've got to keep up! 30 years ago, half of the things that the social media count compares didn't even exist. There was no facebook, no email, no text messages...none of that. Personally, I've never used a typewriter but I've seen plenty of them. The students that I have won't even know what a typewriter is!

When I'm teaching, just as it happened to the generation before me, most things that I use in my classroom are not invented yet. I will have an important role as an instructor, but I will also have to know how to be a student as well. Not only will I have to be open to new technology, but I will have to learn it so that I can most effectively communicate with my students and prepare them for a future that no one can predict.
Social Media Count

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

Peer Editing

I think that staying positive is by far the best suggestion when commenting on someone else's blog. I know if it was me, I wouldn't mind being corrected, but it's kind of a slap in the face if you only tell someone what they did wrong and ignore the many things that they did right! No one wants to feel stupid. As far as commenting and editing my classmates blogs, I feel like it's more appropriate to comment on what they have to say and give only positive feedback on their blog page, and leave suggestions and corrections to be handled in a private email. Blogs are public and are meant to share the information we've learned, so I believe that any kind of critique that is left shouldn't be for the world to see.

I liked the video of the kids and the peer review mistakes. Sometimes we don't think of how our words may sound because we've become so accustomed to giving feedback over the internet. If we aren't careful, the words that we say may not come across in the manner that we intend them to. I think that the kids are a good reminder that there are so many ways that our words can be interpreted and only by following certain guidelines can we get our point across; but also make suggestions that will actually help the person to feel good about their corrections and their new, improved writing. Compliments, suggestions, and corrections are good steps to remember when commenting, but once again staying positive is the most important! We've got to remember that the corrections that we suggest are to build that person up and help them become a better writer.

Assistive Technologies

The Mountbatten is fascinating technology! The fact that it has audio output and types the brail at the same time makes it so much easier for blind students to learn new words and phrases. The beauty of this is that the student doesn't have to have anyone else helping them. It's something that they can do on their own time and it also allows them to have a little independence and not have to rely on someone else. Sending and transferring files from the Mountbatten to a computer is a lot more convenient as well and allows them to have a little bit better adjustment to the working world. I would definitely use this in my classroom for my blind students as a way to enhance their learning and give them something that they can do on their own, so that they will hopefully be more accepted by their peers in the classroom environment!

I have to start off by saying that I was amazed at what the IPad could do. I had no idea there was a way to have an audio output for everything on the touchscreen...that opens up a whole new world for the visually impaired! It's so much more convenient to be able to use one device to read books, surf the internet, listen to music, etc; rather than having to use separate tools or having assistance from someone else. The tool for teaching math to the blind is also a really great idea. Even though that device might not always be available to assist with math problems in the working world, it does indeed provide an excellent foundation to learn how to solve math equations for beginners. While they can't see what they're doing, they at least understand the concept and that's the important thing.

I would definitely use the IPad in my classroom. It already has so many educational applications available, and adding audio to the touchscreen makes it just as accessible to the visually impaired as it does to those that can see. I think that this is a big step in trying to provide a quality education to all students, which would be a lot harder to do without this device. As I mentioned earlier, this also gives students more independence and confidence so that they will be on the right track to becoming a successful individual. Not only that, but it is a complement to what the teacher has to offer and makes it easier to keep all students up to speed so no one gets left behind!

Harness Your Students Digital Smarts

I think that being in Vicki Davis' class would be a very rewarding experience. Just the simple fact that they have connections to people all across the world is enough to make the class worthwhile. As we know, technology is constantly changing. The way she teaches embraces progressive learning and allows her students to find new knowledge on their own. Learning from your own experiences is just as important as learning from an instructor; something that EDM 310 embraces as well. It's great that her students were not only teaching each other, but that she learned from them too. Knowledge is useless to minds that only know how to share it by writing answers down on a test.

In today's world, staying connected is everything. I like how Mrs. Davis and her students collaborated with so many other people outside of the classroom. Not only were they learning about technology and how to gain new knowledge on their own, but they were also able to become comfortable with networking with others; something that will be very valuable once they get out of school and begin their working lives. Her class will allow all those students to use knowledge in a way that they won't forget and that will benefit them, as well as something that they can pass on to others eager to connect to the world.
knowledge is power

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version

First of all, I must say, no I did not know! That's incredible. I know that many people use Google, YouTube, and send SMS messages daily, but the fact that MILLIONS of people use them every second just blows my mind. That really goes to show how technologically dependent we have become. I don't know if I am anywhere near being prepared to be an educator. Sure, I know the basics of most subjects. However, I never considered that when the kids that I will teach graduate, the jobs available will be so much more advanced than they are now. I wonder how educators that don't have classes like these will accommodate? I need to learn as technology progresses so I will be able to adequately prepare my future students!

Secondly, you would think America, the strongest nation in the world right now, would be the smartest. The fact that we are a dwarf in comparison to India's intelligence is just ridiculous. Not to mention China will soon have more English-speaking people than the rest of the world! Well, why aren't more of us learning to speak Chinese, or even Spanish? We have so much technology, which increases by the minute, yet there are still millions of people who are so much smarter than us. That makes me question if we are really putting our resources to use. We can have all the knowledge and technology in the world, but it's only good to us if we all know how to use it! It can make us so much smarter, or just that much dumber...

Mr. Winkle Wakes

Wow, this video really left an impression on me. I was a bit confused as to what the video was about at first, and what exactly Mr. Winkle was trying to find. However, it turns out to be quite ironic. The one thing he found joy in was really the thing he should have been most disappointed to see. We put so much effort into technology and appearances, making everything appealing to the eye and to the working body. On the other hand, it leaves one to question: how much do we really care about education? We need to understand that the knowledge base of today's children is just as important, because they are the ones who will control the future!

Another disturbing thing is how true this video really is. Granted, there are some schools and classes, such as this one, which implement the use of technology. More often than not, however, a teacher standing up and lecturing all day while the students listen is the only form of learning. I've had several teachers myself that stood up and just talked all period, and honestly I didn't learn a thing. It's quite easy to memorize the material and regurgitate it onto a test. Until teachers start using more innovative technology and giving the students hands-on learning, today's kids won't be able to reach their full potential.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

I love some of the points Ken Robinson made in this video. I completely agree with his statement that we don't grow into creativity, but rather we grow out of it. It's true that schools basically train their students to fit the mold of whatever the fastest growing jobs are, rather than fitting the schooling to match the child's personality and needs. Our creativity is gradually taken away, and it turns us into the fearful individuals that he referred to. Honestly, it limits our full potential as human beings. When that confidence is taken away, it's hard to get back and some people won't make important life changing decisions, not because they aren't fully capable, but simply because they've been told so many times that they can't do something that they start to believe it.

I can also relate to his reference to stereotyping. Americans are so quick to point a finger and try to label people when they aren't exactly the same as everyone else. Personally, I believe a lot of that just has to do with not wanting to deal with those special kids. They'll label them with ADHD or some other learning disorder in a heartbeat rather than actually talking to the child and trying to figure out why he/she is acting that way. In the long run, that just leads to more problems. When that creative outlet is taken away, especially from kids who learn better actively, that pent up emotion has to come out somewhere, and many times that's where the behavioral issues begin. If we actually took the time to figure each child out, I think we would find that there is a lot more diversity than just the usual 9-5 job that most schools put their students on the path for.

In Light of Mr. Winkle Wakes...

The way teachers educate and how classroom learning is set up has got to change. Just lecturing isn't going to work forever. Technology is improving so quickly that eventually lectures and written tests aren't going to be able to give students the full benefit of education. Really, teachers who do that even today are missing out and so are their students!

Interactive learning is the new trend. Knowing how to effectively communicate with people in the outside world is key to being successful in any career path. Why not start learning those skills as early as possible? Knowledge is power and hands on learning allows students to get a better experience that they will actually remember past a test date.

Pinterest: Using Available Resources

I would definitely use Pinterest for lesson plans and sharing ideas. The website has a lot of great visuals that would be a neat way to spice up my lessons and make them a little more appealing to my students. Also, it's online so they could easily reference back to the pictures that I showed them in class. I'm always up for new ideas as well, and this would give me access to plenty of creative brains that could help me give better aids to my students, and hopefully return the favor to other teachers around the world.

Rachel Friedrich's Pinterest has to be my favorite. She's got resources for everything you can think of! Virtual learning, especially the videos like the Magic School Bus and Reading Rainbow is the very best way for kids to learn. The younger you are when you learn things, the better you remember them. These types of videos are fun and entertaining for kids to watch, but at the same time they contain valuable information which the students are getting to see in a way that they will be more likely to recall later on. Some of my first memories are the elementary school jingles that I was taught! Who says learning can't be fun?

Pinterest is going to give me some good ideas for cute projects and classroom artwork, especially if I end up being an elementary school teacher. I'm definitely going to use it to find some pictures that I can make and put on the walls of my class that will serve as simple reminders to help my students; such as cues to remember when trying to organize an outline for a paper. I'm also going to use it to provide my students with an outlet to post their pins to whatever assignment it is that I give them, and to provide them with useful links to educational tools that they can look at on their own time. Pinterest is going to help me a lot in the creativity department!

book report recipe

Project #2 - Wordle

My Wordle
My Wordle

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

About Me

My name is Samantha Wesson. I was born and raised in Anniston, Alabama, but my family relocated when I was about twelve to Ocean Springs, Mississippi because my dad found a new job and my parents had always dreamed of living closer to the beach. I have a wonderful family, which includes two loving parents who have always supported me in everything that I do, and a younger brother who is enjoying his freshman year at Southern Miss. I also have four cats, which may not seem that important to some, but they are an important part of our family and frankly they pretty much have the run of the house! My biggest interest is basketball: I live it, breathe it, and love being around it. Other than that, I'm a very laid back, friendly person who loves to spend time with friends and family. I'm always up for an adventure, but I'm just as content to hang out and watch a movie.

I started out going to college at a small, private school called Huntingdon in Montgomery, Alabama. Really my main reason for going there was so that I could have a chance to play basketball. I had a great freshman year there and made a lot of great memories and many friends, but I decided that after that year I no longer wanted to play sports anymore. Well, halfway through my sophomore year I decided that Huntingdon just wasn't what I thought it was without basketball, so I decided to transfer. I ended here at South Alabama because it's a bigger school with more things to do, as well as being closer to home and the beach! I am entering the field of education because I'd like to be a coach. I've always had a passion for basketball, as I mentioned before, and I don't want that to end, so I'd like to help the younger generation acquire the same love that I have for the sport. That pretty much sums it up!

My Future Classroom

I hope to be able to teach at the high school level, where my audience will probably consist of a group of bored teenagers, so I plan to make my teaching very interactive.  I've learned from personal experience that simply lecturing to students all day, every day will not teach them anything that they will actually remember past the test day.  For me, that means I have to stay current on technology so that I will be able to relate to them and give them usable advice.  No student wants a teacher that is stuck in the ancient times and won't even consider new and improved ways of learning and understanding that better meet the needs of the current generation.

My students are going to learn because they are going to do it themselves.  Instead of hearing me read a definition and copy it, we'll play jeopardy using those terms and whoever wins will get a free homework pass.  Of course the reward for finishing high school is a degree, but most kids want immediate gratitude; a reward they can see.  Playing educational games that keep their attention and offering rewards will hopefully make learning seem more beneficial to them.  I'm also going to make sure that they are very interactive with one another.  A classroom that's familiar and comfortable makes for a much better learning environment.

Hopefully, if the budget where I end up working allows, computers and Ipads can be a part of the learning process.  This will make it much easier for my students to visualize the concepts that I am trying to teach them.  Not only that, but by doing such projects as making a movie, they can illustrate what they've learned as well as adding a little personal flair to it.  To me, expression is very important.  Personally, I am ten times as likely to remember something after I hear it if I have a chance to do or illustrate it myself and get feedback from someone else.  Many teachers forget how important it is to interact with their students!

My classroom is going to be filled with work that my students have done.  I'm going to be like that kindergarten teacher that puts every single piece of artwork on the walls, or mom that always puts good grades on the fridge.  I remember when I was young and my projects would get put on the wall, and I liked it.  I feel that it's reinforcing to students to see that their work is important too, and not just getting thrown in the trash.  While the classroom won't look like their rooms at home, at least it will be able to have a little flair from all of them!

Randy Pausch

First of all, let me start off by saying that I have never heard of Dr. Pausch. However, he brings up some very good points. I like how he mentioned 'doing the ugliest things first'. I actually laughed at that part, because I've experienced that avoiding doing the hardest task will usually result in rushed or incompleted work, accompanied with a lot more stress than necessary. I also think his idea to question why a task should be done and what the consequences are if it is not completed is a good way to motivate and actually get things done.

He also mentioned that in order to complete a list of tasks, you actually have to HAVE a list of tasks.  Failing to plan really does mean that you're planning to fail.  I've had so many times that I needed to change plans in order to get something done, and then realized that there was something else I had to do which I had forgotten about.  It's really inconvenient when that happens, and the only way to remember everything and make time in our busy lives is to make a schedule of when it needs to be done.  Dr. Pausch has some great tips on time management that can lead to less stress and more productivity!