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.


  1. "I love Mrs. Venosdale's idea of having 20% time." Google also does this for its employees!

    "...what i can do is make sure" I, not i

    "While I don't necessarily agree with him that values and morals should be taught..." Really? The teacher models a type of behavior she or he wants students to adopt. That is unavoidable. And that is teaching values! In fact, you make that argument in your next few sentences!

    Good commentary on flipping!

    Thorough. Thoughtful. Interesting.

  2. Hi Sam! Your blog is well-written. I enjoyed reading it!

    I definitely agree with you about Ms. Venosdale's idea on 20% time. I think it is when people discover and nurture their passions that truly amazing things result.

    I ended up gathering everyone in my office to show them the virtual choir. That really was amazing! I think that is definitely an example of technology at its best.

    I understand where you are coming from when you say that morals should be left to parents and experience. While we do need to set good examples, it is not up to us to raise them through all aspects of life.

    I definitely agree with you on the flipped classroom section. How terrible are our lecture classes? The great thing is that it can be implemented to work with any subject.

    Thanks for the good read!