Sunday, July 15, 2012

Project #15 SmartBoard Group 3 Lesson

Group 3 SmartBoard Lesson

Our group SmartBoard project was done based on a reading lesson concept from the Mobile County Public School Curriculum. We formed a lesson to teach the 4 elements of a story: 
  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Problem / Solution
We used the book "The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Pets" by Jan and Stan Berenstain. 
The pictures we used were obtained from PBS Kids, Berenstain Bears Live, and the official Berenstain Bear Website. The video played at the end was found on You Tube.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Project #13


Group Collaboration

My group members were myself, Mary Anderson, Angyl White, and Angelia Gafford. We couldn't have found a more perfect fit. We were like a hand to a glove, pb&j, peas and carrots, you get the picture. We all worked together to come up with ideas, delegated tasks and responsibilities, and worked to fulfill those requirements on time.We could not have made all of these things come together without one thing: COMMUNICATION.

We had several face-to-face meetings which were always fun and productive. In between those meetings, we used several different ways to communicate. I would say our most common method was gmail. This allowed one group member to address a question or concern to everyone at one time. We could then all see each other's responses and address the issues. Texting became a tool we used on occasion. If we were away from our computer, it was always easy to send a quick text to ask a question or remind someone of something. 
Google was used A LOT! We depended on Google for research, ideas, and pictures to use in our projects. Of course, we also used our I Phones to tape the Smart Board project #15 and portions of Project #16.
I just don't know how people got things done back in the day. All of these tools allowed us to work together without always having to be together to get things accomplished. Thank you Technology Gods!

Blog Post #13

Crosby's Class


Someone of great importance did me the tremendous favor of pointing out that I had missed what could personally be one of the most meaningful blog post video viewing assignments of my EDM 310 career. 
Mr. Brian Crosby shared his "Back to the Future Video" which was a reflection of the dynamics of his students, overcoming language barriers, and the excitement of bridging the gap through technology. The reason I claimed that this could be one of my most meaningful assignments to review, is that I have developed such a passion for blogging and using it in my classroom, that it would have been unfortunate had I not had the opportunity to see the tremendous excitement that Mr. Crosby ignites in his students. 

I plan to use wiki, blogs, and podcasts in any way possible while teaching. Mr. Crosby seems to be the kind of teacher that I could learn a lot from. Now that I have an appreciation for the tools and methods, I need more ideas of how to use them in teaching. I would absolutely LOVE to have a teacher like Mr. Crosby to do my student teaching assignment with! I also have great respect for him because he didn't give up on his students just because they had a communication barrier and seemed to be on a low comprehension or learning level due to the ESL challenge. He looked for a way to get them all excited, writing, blogging, working on group projects, wiki; which all include and enhance communication. Birlliant!

The most heart touching moment was when he did not settle for having a student with leukemia on his roll and doing her work at home. He made it a point to include her with Skype so that she could feel like a part of the class. This was the closest to a real classroom environment this child would get. Can you imagine the difference this simple act of kindness made in this young student's life and that of her parents? Not to mention, the lesson he was teaching her classmates. With Dr. Strange teaching me the importance and value of technology in the classroom and Mr. Crosby's example of overcoming barriers with ESL and Leukemia students, I feel like I have turned off of a one way road onto a busy Interstate with options and turns that can take me and my students anywhere. 
21st Century College Students

A Vision of Students Today

This video was a shocking depiction of what it is like to sit in a crowded classroom or auditorium in a University setting. I experience and witness many of the phrases shared by the students on a daily basis. Some teachers write on a chalkboard, throw a quick lecture at you, assign reading, homework, and don't even know your name. Technology is great if someone knows how to use it and help students learn from it. On the other hand, it doesn't help much if you are an effective teacher but have students texting and on their computer doing other things during class. 

I consider the college education process to be a contract between the University, students, and teachers. The University should provide the best possible environment, equipment, and instructors. The teachers, even if they have their doctorate, should do their best to teach students who are depending on their knowledge and guidance to assist in achieving their education goals. It helps to get to know your students on a personal basis and share your experience with those dedicated to learning rather than riding into class on your intellectual high horse. They started in the same place we are in now. Students should fulfill their end of the contract by attending class on a regular basis, being prepared, and paying attention in class. It's one thing to be there, sitting in a seat, filling up space, but your mind should be engaged and absorbing everything that instructor has to give you. These were also addressed in the video when one girl said that her neighbor pays to go to school but never comes to class. The fact that some students are on facebook during class and on a computer that is worth more than some people make in a year speaks volumes about today's generation and their lack of value of their opportunities. 

Betty White Twitter

How Will You Teach Me in the 21st Century?

Melinda Kraft does an excellent job of getting her viewers engaged in the thought process of implementing technology. I love the part, If Grandmas are doing it..... The beginning of the video has us understanding the impact of the necessity of technology skills being taught to students now. In a world where communication skills mean more than writing skills and analytical thinkers are shaping the future, teachers have an immense responsibility to prepare their students to become those future leaders.

Ms. Kraft seemed to see value in email, being connected on the web, collaboration, being creative in lessons and on the computer, telling stories, perhaps through blogging, and working together when becoming overwhelmed. It's a bit ironic. I recently completed a project for another education class using blogging as a history assignment with students. I wrote a letter to parents explaining the assignment, that it would only require them to purchase one folder at the cost of .89, and the rest would be up to their children's imagination and dedication. Many of the points I addressed in my letter were in Ms. Kraft's video. Including "Don't freak out. It can be overwhelming. We will all learn and work together." I couldn't believe it! At first I thought maybe I'm just a bit intuitive, but the more I think about it, I think Dr. Strange and EDM 310 have made their mark on me and I'm actually on the right track!

I would want my students to become familiar with and know how to use basic tools such as podcasts and blogging. Students would also be able to complete assignments which include technology. These could be individual or group projects. Most importantly, I would want my students to learn a lesson about technology that I just learned as a 40 year old student this summer. Students will be exposed to a learning environment which challenges to push the limits of what they believe is possible. I want my students to experience the same pride and self worth of accomplishing goals and learning that they can learn and do things that they never thought were possible. When these goals revolve around technology, not only will they have self confidence, but they will be prepared for the next step of their intellectual and educational journey.

As far as Ms. Kraft's video, I can't imagine a different way to make it more effective. You can always do the poor class sitting in the seats with boring work compared to the fun class learning about ipads, but I believe Ms.Kraft's video to be more positive and encouraging. She covered all aspects; what to expect and be prepared for in the future work force, grandma texting her bff Jill, and kids on fire for learning in that classroom full of computers. Sometimes, you just don't mess with a good thing, and I think this is one of those times. As a matter of fact, I have saved the video for future reference. This was an interesting and fun part of Blog Post #13. I enjoyed it.

Not Required, but Worthy of Mentioning

The Basic Technology Tool Kit was an extremely useful assignment. I seem to get a bit stressed over something when I don't know what to expect. I like to be prepared. After reading this blog post, I know what is expected of me in order to be a teacher responsibly equipped with technology tools. I know what I am already confident with, thanks to EDM 310, and what I need to continue learning on my PLN path. 

The Miles Webb video from New Zealand was the sweetest, cutest, most inspirational thing I have ever seen! It was remarkable that they chose a legally blind student to be one of the stars of this video! His excitement was contagious and you could tell that he was loving every single minute of what he was doing! To create that kind of excitement in even one child makes a difference, but imagine the confidence that child gained through that assignment! Remarkable!

It was also super-cute to see the little girls sharing earbuds and viewing their ipad movie in Ms. Jenny She's class in England. While I was at her site, I took the opportunity to look at some other things she had done with her class. I viewed several of their individual podcasts. One boy talked about his holiday, but my favorite was a little girl talking about how she loved cupcakes! It was a Jerry McGuire moment.... Hello, you had me at cupcakes! Ms. She has her students excited and I think that was the overall theme of Blog Post #13; excitement in learning and how we can do that with technology. It doesn't matter if you are a college student or an elementary student learning to use podcasts, video, or ipads, we all need to be stimulated in the learning process. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Final Report on PLN

PLN Wordle

Where to start.... The amount of information I have learned in this class and the sources I have learned to obtain information from are overwhelming. Once someone realizes what a PLN is and what it can do for you as an individual committed to becoming a life long learner, you feel like you have discovered a priceless treasure.

There are many technological methods that I am quite fond of, use on a daily basis, or anticipate using when I begin teaching in my own class. I had never heard of many of these methods and tools when I first began EDM 310. Podcasts, Twitter, Symbaloo, and Blogging are some of the things I have enjoyed the most. I plan to continue blogging and building my Twitter contacts as I complete my education. Dr. Strange's assignments have already connected me with numerous kind, helpful, passionate teachers with wonderful ideas. Becoming a part of a network community like this excites and encourages me. When we were first received the assignment of forming a PLN I hardly had any tiles on my Symbaloo page. Now, I have added so many extraordinary sources and blogs that I am about to begin a second page! This reassures me that I once I leave the nest of EDM 310, Dr. Strange has taught me to fly on my own. I know to continue to research, stay connected, and remain informed of updates in technology.

I discovered a wonderful blog that sums-up everything I just said and offers even more ideas. Barabara Sakamoto appears to have a great aspect of PLN. I have already bookmarked her blog and followed her on Twitter. I'm including a link to her blog post and encourage you to read it. I loved the way she outlined the evolution of PLNs for teachers. I hope you enjoy it!

C4T Assignment #4


I was delightfully surprised to discover that the teacher blog I was assigned to review this week was Mr. Michael Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett and I had recently become Twitter contacts as a result of an earlier EDM assignment and my attempt to branch out and make connections with educators I may gain valuable insight from. 

Mr. Fawcett's blog site "What Now? What Next? So What?" included an interesting blog titled "Tears". The blog depicted the story of a driven young, nine year old student of Mr. Fawcett's who had donated most of his day planting trees in honor of Arbor Day. I was both shocked and impressed that Mr. Fawcett communicated with this student via Twitter. Not having the opportunity to ask the young student about his volunteer experience, he tweeted to inquire. The student replied with 4 words, "I'll make a doc," and he did! It's not surprising that a teacher would be moved to tears when presented with the opportunity to reach a student who seems so motivated to make a difference and learn. I should also mention that this student, with his parent's permission, regularly tweets and follows Mr. Fawcett's blog. What an inspirational story. If we could all be so lucky......


As I stated earlier, it was a treat and surprise to receive Mr. Fawcett's blog as my C4T Assignment. It was delightful to read about such an inspirational young student, his early dedication to volunteering, and appreciation and use of technology. I complimented Mr. Fawcett and the student's parents on their nurturing of his interests, skills, and education at such a young, impressionable age. I would relish the insight of Mr. Fawcett's secret of connecting with his students on a professional level to peak their interest and encourage their fostering of technology.
Google Scribbles App

Final C4T

In my final C4T assignment, I reviewed and commented on a post by Michael Fawcett left on his blog December 15th, 2011. Mr. Fawcett announced the updated ingenious app feature added by Google, Scribbles. The post reiterated the opinion of Dr. Strange regarding the disastrous first attempts of Google, but in this case, they seemed to have come through in the end. 

I told Mr. Fawcett that I could imagine using the Scribbles app as tool for students to play games like "Draw Something" as a fun way to practice or study lessons. An interactive approach using technology like this would be much more exciting than sitting quietly and completing a worksheet.  Mr. Fawcett seems to have a true passion for his students, teaching, and technology. I'm thrilled that he was my final C4T assignment. What a way to end the semester!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Post #12

Founding Fathers App

Lesson Plan for History Blog

EDM 310 has been a class which has been filled with many surprises. My perspective of teaching has been expanded to include the implementation of technology in the classroom. Each assignment taught me different methods of technology that can be used in teaching. However, I believe it would have been beneficial to have had an assignment devising a lesson plan for students which included one of those methods. All future teachers will have to prepare lesson plans, and an assignment like this would allow EDM 310 Students to become familiar with incorporating technology in lessons they will someday teach.

History is one subject that I feel would benefit from this philosophy. Nothing could be more boring to a group of students than hearing about a bunch of people doing a lot of things that happened a long time ago, but imagine assuming the role of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abigail Adams, or Phyllis Wheatley and blogging as them every week! I wrote a lesson plan which allows students to learn about the American Revolutionary Period through the perspective of an assigned historical figure.

5th grade students would have weekly blog assignments which would revolve around the curriculum and lessons taught. Requirements and expectations for each student's blog would include:
  1. Create a blog as assigned figure containing a title, brief biography, and picture of their figure.  
  2. Post information on their blog, in character, as the history curriculum was covered.
  3. Contain at least 4 embedded photographs or videos.
  4. Contain at least 6 links to web resources.
  5. Properly cite sources with the use of alt tags on photographs or videos.
  6. Comment on at least 2 classmate's blogs each week.
  7. Become familiar with and properly use blogging etiquette such as responding to comments left on your blog and the responsibility of leaving appropriate comments. 
  8. Writing, spelling, grammar, and punctuation will be considered in grading.
I created a grading rubric which outlines requirements students would be graded on. Receiving a weekly grade would allow students to earn points for fulfilling blog requirements, writing skills, and summarizing the history information covered in class and homework assignments from the point-of-view of their assigned historical figure. It's my opinion that blogging would allow students to make history a reality.

I would recommend the following sites to students and parents to help them become more familiar with blogging:

This is an example of a student blogging as John Locke from a school in Bronx, NY.

A partial example of my grading rubric is listed below. I hope that someone becomes inspired by my lesson idea and can bring a part of education to life for their students through the magic of blogging!

Patriotic Owl
Grading Rubric

Ideas & Content
The ideas expressed are not original, often confused and are not connected to discussions around history time period and character.
The ideas expressed are not necessarily original, and are not usually connected to discussions around history time period and character.
The student expresses some original ideas. The majority of ideas are related to history time period and character.
The student has many original ideas and expresses them clearly. The great majority of ideas are related to history time period events, character, and emotions.
Evaluation Comments
Post Frequency
The post frequency is well below course expectations.
The post frequency is slightly below average.
The post frequency is slightly above average.
The post frequency greatly exceeds course expectations.

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Progress Report: Final Project #16

    ipad kids

    Personal Progress Report

    With so much going on toward the end of the semester, it has been a challenge to focus on Project #16! Our group has been working on the individual contributions for the i Book as well as collaborating via email. My Sentence video and Book Trailer are both complete. I have submitted my chosen blog, #7 PLN, for my group's review and recorded my personal video about the most important technology tools I think I will be using when I teach. I have started collecting my 10 pictures which relate to members of my family and family history. I have now moved on to choosing a single picture to annotate and researching the steps to do this. 

    Our group has made plans to meet on Wednesday, July 11th to begin to put individual things together. I am definitely beginning to see that someone can't just sit down and create an i Book. Extensive thought and planning is put into a project like this. As I become overwhelmed, I try to remember that if a group of third grade students can produce one of these, I can too.  

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Blog Post #11

    blog report

    Ms. Cassidy + Technology with 1st Graders = Inspiration

    There have been numerous assignments involving the reading of a teacher's blog during the summer semester of EDM 310. However, viewing the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy in Canada seemed to bring a realism to the concept of teaching with technology. To actually hear how the implementation of technology began and evolved in her class confirms that everyone begins somewhere. Her clever use of technology (blogging, educational games) in centers is something that I will use. I can also envision myself having students post writings and work on blogs. Students in her class seemed so proud to see their work posted on a blog. They were also encouraged by comments left by family and other students. 

    Ms. Cassidy's method had many advantages. First of all, blogs form a portfolio of work. Students, parents, and teachers are able to see students' progress over time. Everyone learns that good manners are important. The second advantage I noticed is Ms. Cassidy's lesson to her students of the importance of social manners online. Hurtful words cannot be taken back once they are said or posted. This is a lesson in responsibility and good citizenship. Ms. Cassidy isn't simply satisfied with teaching her students to blog and play educational games. She introduces other elements of technology such as Wikis and videos to keep her students interested while laying the foundation of tools they will continue to build upon.

    One comment made by Ms. Cassidy struck a negative chord within me. It is discouraging to hear that while administration may have tolerated and allowed her to use technology in her teaching, she wasn't always encouraged. She also did not refer to many other teachers using these methods in their classrooms. To be honest, if I were her, I would not be able to resist wondering why other teachers could not see this importance and join in. Would other teachers be judgmental behind my back? It seems like it would be difficult to be unique. Hopefully, I will be surrounded by other teachers who value technology in the classroom as I have learned to. 

    Saturday, June 30, 2012

    Blog Post #10

    Adventures in Pencil Integration

    Pencil Cartoon
    John Spencer forces observers to pause and compare the differences in a cost effective Papermate and a hip Ticonderoga pencil. The difference? A pencil, is a pencil, is a pencil. Each cartoon creation is one dimensional with no depth or inspiration to the imagination. You can attempt different techniques, but the outcome will be similar. Mr. Spencer is "drawing" attention to the limitations of inspiration and excitement when working with pencil and paper. Technology allows things to literally come to life before your eyes. It think I know which one I would rather learn from. Don't you?

    Lions, and Tigers, and Pencils....Oh My!

    Cowardly Lion
    "Wait a minute fellas! I was just thinking.
    I really don't want to see the wizard this much.
    I'd better wait for you outside."
    John Spencer has a great way of telling some humorous stories to make a good point. After analyzing the cartoon, I read "Why were your students playing games?" I could picture a principal who looked like Archie Bunker (yes, I know most young people are wondering and googling Archie Bunker right now)  This principal avidly defends the opposes this teacher's approach to hands on learning and fun. My favorite part is the principal's fear that rote memorization scores will suffer if rote memorization skills are not focused on. I mean, memorizing information for a test which consists of basic information that will be forgotten within a week is far more important than hands on, engagement, interaction, and exciting educational experiences.

    This same philosophy was explored during "Remember Pencil Quests?" Teachers back in the day, God love them, they did the best they could with what they had. I actually remember a Pencil Quest or two. Even though we are no longer comparing cartoons, we are still comparing the same pencil, I mean principle. We have technology and wonderful tools  to open the minds of children, helping them shape their lives into unimaginable possibilities. Like the Cowardly Lion, sometimes we know the answer is just behind the curtain, but we are still too afraid to reach out and grab what we need most. We just need to find the courage to accept the person we can be, the teacher/educator we can be, and make the changes that will guide our students down their yellow brick road.

    Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

    Dr. Scott McLeod is a pioneer spreading the possibilities and resources of technology in education. He also has a creative way of comparing the pros and cons of children/students and their exposure to technology. He admits that there are many negative things that students could gain access to, but with responsibility and supervision, students are now able to have the world open up at their fingertips. Learn, experience, imagine, and become excited in ways and about places and things that they never knew existed. It's time for a change. As a future educator, I'm ready to hold myself up to the challenge. 

    Project #14 Smartboard Instruction

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    C4T Assignment #3

    Bart Simpson Cheating

    Blog Summary and Comment #1 / Should Teachers Assign Homework

    John Mikulski posted this question on his blog in an effort to address the issue of cheating. Someone had made a comment that homework was a pointless learning task, as so many students simply cheated, getting nothing from the assignment. Mr. Mikulski also addressed the fact that homework helps teach accountability and responsibility. Not all parents stress these virtues, and while it is not the teacher or schools responsibility to teach them, they are a part of life and education.

    Perhaps one of the most interesting points of his blog post was the issue of some teachers assigning meaningless homework assignments. Crossword puzzles and word finds seem to be popular with some teacher for some unknown reason. They don't seem to accomplish much aside from keeping a student busy and giving them the task of completing and turning an assignment in at a designated time. Determining the true meaning and purpose of homework for students is his underlying message. I can personally think of a few instructors I would love to recommend his article to.

    Homework is an important tool which helps students master new techniques. Like any other tool, it must be used properly in order to be most effective. If a teacher assigns a lot of busy work, the student may become burnt-out and discouraged with learning. When a teacher assigns something that helps students understand and sharpen skills taught in class, everyone benefits. It may be the student's responsibility to complete homework assignments, but it is the teacher's responsibility to be responsible in the homework which they assign.

    Blog Summary & Comment #2 / How Do We Fix the Outdated Education Model

    Mr. Mikulski emphasizes an interesting concept of the more things change, the more they stay the same in a comical way. While viewing a friend's facebook photos of their vacation pictures which included a photo of President Jimmy Carter's childhood school room, he noticed that aside from the wooden desks and hardwood floors, everything looked the same; straight rows for students with the teacher at the front of the class. Most classrooms today are equipped with smartboards, computers, and other technological gadgets. While they have evolved, the concept of the teacher at the front of the room separated from students all lined up in a row, has remained the same. Pointing out that there is a disconnect with today's learners, he posed the question, how do we fix the outdated education model?

    I responded by agreeing that the arrangement of most classrooms are straight rows of students sitting one in front of the other with the teacher at the front of the class. This reminds me of the old story of the grandmother who always cut the legs off the turkey before baking it. When she finally turned over that responsibility to her granddaughter, she was in the kitchen watching the granddaughter begin Thanksgiving dinner. As the granddaughter cut the legs off of the turkey and placed it in the oven, the grandmother asked, "Why did you cut the legs off first?" The granddaughter said, "You always did it that way, mom always did it that way, so why wouldn't I do it that way?" The grandmother then explained that she had only cut the legs off because she had never had a pan large enough to bake the turkey with them on. 

    What does the turkey story have to do with classrooms with desks lined up? Sometimes we do things just because that's the way they have always been done. I also told Mr. Mikulski that I have substituted in some classrooms which have tables spread out with 4-5 students at each table. I had more effective lessons when I walked within the table groupings and interacted with the students. This arrangement also seemed effective when students worked as groups and helped one another. Some teachers use the resources they have available in their schools, but perhaps a more creative arrangement of these desks/tables would allow students and teachers to connect, therefore teachers could become more in tune with the needs of their students.

    Blog Post #9

    teacher quote

    What I've Learned This Year

    As a person who has always dreamed of becoming a teacher and a student diligently working to make that dream a reality, I have often envisioned my teaching experiences in my mind; what my classroom will look like, discipline and incentive policies, teaching techniques to help my students reach academic excellence. The actuality of first year teaching experiences seems to hinge less on what I have envisioned, and more on points that Mr. Joe McClung reflects upon in his post outlining his experiences as a first year teacher. 

    This blog assignment required we read 2 of 3 posts, summarize, and comment on them. After reading the first post about Mr. McClung's first year teaching, I had to read both of the other posts. I then subscribed to his posts and saved At the Teacher's Desk website on my PLN. His first blog seemed like he was speaking directly to me. I am an organized person who has a plan for everything and thinks everything should go a certain way or the earth will spin off its axis! Unrealistic expectations can impose undue stress upon teachers. I need to be prepared to let go of control issues and be ready to go with the flow. Mr. McClung also stressed the importance of listening to students, not having unrealistic expectations for students, and continue learning. This information seems much more important than classroom decoration and organizational skills.

    Blogs 2 and 3 were reflections on his second and third years teaching. Accepting the fact that you may not always have the opportunity to teach a subject you're interested in and discovering a solution to make the best of that situation was a great piece of advice. He also gave insight into some of the drama that exists among teachers/administration. Becoming aware of these instances, avoid becoming involved, and keeping your focus on your students will benefit you and your students. I enjoyed a realistic view of teaching and learning the ropes of working with administration and co-workers. I'm sure everyone's first year experience is a little different, but it sure is nice to have an idea of what to expect and prepare for.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Project #11 Read A Book

    When Mom Turned Into A Monster

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Project #12 Book Trailer

    Blog Post #8


    This Is How We Dream

    Richard Miller raised some interesting points in his presentation part 1. After taking EDM 310 and completing the assignments given by Dr. Strange, I now have a greater appreciation for the respect and wonder of technology. Some people feel so passionately about this, that they feel that modern tools should completely replace pencils and books in the classroom. They are all great, but no offense Mr. Miller, you're not taking my #2 away from me.

    Teachers have affected every accomplished, successful person since the beginning of time. Literacy is just as important now as it has always been. It's my opinion that students will continue to succeed whether they use an ibook or a book made of paper. The difference is the effort of the student and the effectiveness of the teacher. Mr. Miller verifies the popularity of ebooks. I can't remember the last time I took my daughter to the library or had to rush out to Barnes and Nobles to buy her the next book in a series she couldn't put down. When you consider that most newspapers and magazines are now accessed online, it's not hard to imagine that books will be next.

     I agree with using technology in every way possible to enhance education; blogging, smart boards, ibooks, and you tube. Thank you Jesus for You Tube! My husband has made home repairs, and I have learned how to solve math equations thanks to the power of You Tube. I can imagine having difficulty with explaining a concept to students some day and saying "Let's see if we can find something on You Tube." Pulling it up on a Smart Board would take no time at all. The wonders of technology....


    Carly Pugh: The Magic of Belief

    I was not surprised to see so many wonderful suggestions in Carly's Blog Post #12! Carly has given me so many words of inspiration, motivation, helpful hints this semester. Every time she reviews one my blogs, she leaves me with something that I've come to expect; a little "Golden Nugget of Carly Wisdom". Her appreciation and belief in the use of technology is apparent in all of the suggestions she shares. After reading Carly's post, I seem to be a bit more open to writing with technology. (Maybe I just like her a little bit more than Dr. Miller) It is my hope that in time, I will find the same excitement that Carly has and pass it on to my students as she has tried to with us. Carly reminds me of Glenda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. We have all doubted ourselves, but Carly reminds us that we had the power all along. We only had to believe in ourselves. Now, we should all click our heels together and say "There is no grade like an A. There is no grade like an A." You're the best Carly!
    School House Rock

    EDM 310 Is Not For Dummies or Chipper Procrastinators!

    I had already watched both videos, but it was so funny watching them a second time. The girls freaking out in the Dummies video had to be my favorite! When someone first begins taking this course, you definitely feel like a dummy! If you don't, Dr. Strange has a questionnaire for you to fill out to prove that you are even if you think you're not. I think both videos called attention to the stress and pressures that EDM 310 often bring, but also make you appreciate all that you learn. It's a journey, sometimes the road is bumpy, muddy, and seems like it can't be traveled. If you hang in there, put forth some effort and determination, it gets a little smoother and you know so much more when you reach your destination.

    If I had the opportunity to help create a video, I think I would have to go back to the good 'ole days of School House Rock. Just imagine "Lolly, lolly, lolly get your html code here"(the adverb song) or "I'm just a blog" (I'm just a bill). I can still remember those songs from.....not telling how many years ago. My point is, if you make something cute, catchy, and add a little jingle people will remember it. Besides that, some of these young folks don't know what they've been missing with School House Rock!

    Learn to change and change to Learn

    I don't know how many people I've told that I am so surprised at what I have learned in this class. I expected to perfect Microsoft Word and Excel, cut instead my entire perspective of teaching has been altered. Before EDM 310, I thought I had it all figured out and just needed to get my piece of paper to get into the classroom. Since taking this class, I have learned to change and that change will help my students learn. I have had to prepare lesson plans for another education class, and I have incorporated blogs and other aspects of EDM 310 into those plans. I am already planning on how I can Flip My Classroom and use a blog to communicate with parents. I love the part of the video when someone says that "We have to accept as educators that technology is not a choice". Today's students are living in a different world. We as educators, have the responsibility of becoming part of that world in order to better communicate with our students. Thanks to 
    EDM 310, I understand and look forward to the challenge. 

    My Comic

    Video Tool

    I recently discovered the video tool Animoto for educators. It is can be used to create video presentations which will bring your lessons to life! Students will love the music and photographs you can easily incorporate by utilizing this tool. It would also be easy to share lessons with other educators or upload to your teacher blog. This user-friendly program will bring a cinematic feel to your classroom lessons. Be ready to answer questions, because all of the other teachers will want you to share this secret!  

    Don't Ask If You Don't Want To Know... is so easy to use! I can imagine using this on my teacher blog. Students, and parents, may enjoy answering questions pertaining to class and lessons and learning the outcome of the poll.
    Please respond to my first attempt at polling. It will be fun to see the results!

    Check out my poll: "Who believes they have learned things they will use as teachers in EDM310?":

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Project #9b Prezi

    PLN Project #10 Progress Report

    My Personal PLN
    Christie Mason Initial PLN
    PLN Progress Report

    When I first researched this assignment and explored Symbaloo, I was a bit skeptical. We already have tool bars and can bookmark favorite websites. However, after watching several videos, reading the opinions of teachers who regularly use this tool, and experimenting with Symbaloo myself, I must admit I'm hooked!

    Customizing a "Personal Learning Network" provides users with the convenience of having everything from personal interests (music, itunes, facebook), regular shopping sites(amazon, ebay, etsy), and sites regularly used for teaching(Tech4Teachers, Edu Rethink, & History Lesson Plans). The beauty of using Symbaloo is that it can be customized for any individual's personal needs and interests. Another benefit is that users can choose to keep their Webmix private or make it public. When a public setting is chosen, individuals can share their ideas and resources with those who have common interests and needs. 

    I first imagined this would be an assignment which I would complete and move on from. Once again, Dr. Strange has shown that there are technological resources which benefit everyone, especially teachers. Can you imagine how many pieces of paper or file folders I would have to keep organized to access these resources? What if I left my file in my classroom and I wanted to work on my lesson plans over the weekend? With Symbaloo, much like Google Docs, I can access my information from anywhere! I'm surprised and happy to say that I have a much higher grade on this progress report than I initially expected!

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Blog Post #7

    Classroom of the future

    The Networked Student

    Well, after watching the Networked Student, let's just say, I don't have the same warm and fuzzy feeling I had after watching Steve Pausch or the optimistic "Go get 'em" attitude after watching Flipping the Classroom. I'm kind of wondering how in the world I'm going to pay off all of these student loans if there are not going to be too many teachers in the classroom. If many schools will be able to utilize fewer teachers through Network learning, will I have a job? I believe that we are to walk away from this assignment understanding that if we want to obtain and keep a job, we will have to maintain strong technology skills for the remainder of our careers.  

    It's my opinion that this video is partially used with the "If you're not a good person you're going to hell" ideology; if you're not a technology literate teacher you'll go through hell because you will not have a job. Dr. Strange is wise to make us aware of the reality which we must face as future educators. We must all take the application of technology in education very seriously and not just consider it for one semester as we complete this course. The world is changing in many aspects; communication, banking, and shopping are just a few examples. When you consider the conveniences and differences of these examples now and 20 years ago, it makes it easier to accept the fact that education is also changing.  

    I really enjoyed previous videos like "Flipping the Classroom" and "Classroom Disruption" because it had a happy medium. A technological parallel that created an environment where teachers and technology worked together to lead students to enlightenment. I learned through this video that teachers should not only teach by using technology, but teachers should be prepared to lead students as they teach them to learn and research independently using technology.

    Students who use technology to research and learn independently still require direction. The video showed how students were taught to conduct proper research from credible sources and sites, bookmark their research in sites like Delicious, and network through blogs to obtain and share information. Students in EDM 310 have been learning these same skills during the Summer 2012 Semester, and we have a teacher. While we may not have a lot of classroom instruction time, we have a computer lab with Dr. Strange and qualified, knowledgeable, and friendly Teacher's Assistants working regular hours who are always happy to help. We also have a network of help options including email, cell phones, messaging, facebook, and Twitter. Somebody has to plan, teach, implement, and be in charge of all of that. Maybe I won't have to worry about having a long as I'm technology literate.

    Scarlet O'hara

    As God As My Witness, I'll never be without a PLN again!

    O.k., so I have just been explaining the inappropriateness of eye rolling and sighing when my daughter doesn't like what I say, even though she knows I'm correct. I am a 40 year old, Southern to the bone, show good manners at all times no matter what, kind of lady. I demand it from my children and will expect it from my students. It's important ! Imagine my surprise when I first watch "The Networked Student" and try to contain my composure, keep a lady-like attitude ,then  as I calculate my Student Loan Debt and how much further I have to go, my eyes begin to roll and I sigh. I think, worse things have happened, take the Burning of Atlanta for example. I remained positive and thought like Scarlett "I'll think about it tomorrow. Everything will be fine when I get to Tara. I'll even ask Ashley for the money." (Picture me smiling as I begin to rip drapes from the windows to begin putting together a spectacular dress using a pattern I just found online. Peace returns to the world...

    Now, I'm sitting here in heavy, green velvet. Pins are sticking me EVERYWHERE and Dr. Strange wants me to watch this glorious, little 7th grade child share her PLE with me. First of all, I'm thinking PLE, Fiddle-De-De! I don't know nothin' 'bout no PLE Dr. Strange. As I watch this brilliant young girl show how she has designed her computer using a program called Symbaloo, saves all of her research, interactive learning apps, bookmarks them, and they are always there. She even has a section for private, fun, personal things and a section for her school work. She has the freedom to study and complete assignments in any order she wishes. 
    I realize, I'm supposed to have a plan for this now! The Yankees might as well be burning down Atlanta and taking Ma's silver because I don't have a plan. 

    I rush back to Tara to log onto the computer only the Yankees have taken it. I see "Old George" at the boilin' pot and ask if he knows where Ashley is. I tell him I need money to buy an I Pad. He tells me" Mr. Ashley aint got no money, and I can ask, but "Askin' Aint Gettin'!" Ashley didn't have a cotton-pickin' dime, but Rhett had heard of my dilemma. Instead of a new Red Silk Petticoat , he had gotten me a an I Pad in Savannah! As I sigh, I log onto the gadget and within mere minutes I have created a proper PLN.. It might not be quite as much as the 7th grade girl has, but I'm remaining positive. "Tomorrow is another day! And as God as my witness! I'll never go without technology or a PLN again"

    And you know, I just heard about this 12 year old boy named Thomas Suarez? I wonder if he's from New Orleans? Anyway, I might just see if that Mr. Frank Kennedy will buy some stock in this young boy's ideas. Word is he will be the next Steve Jobs. 'What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one.' "If the old ways are going away and Technology is building up, someone has to be here to make money from it. After all, Tomorrow is another day!

    Thomas SuarezThomas Suarez

    This amazing young man, Thomas Suarez,  is incredibly focused. He loves what he does, researches, looks up to examples of mentors like Steve Jobs, and has the support of teachers and family. He has already learned enough to begin writing apps which can be accessed at the I store. He will be creating apps which would be free to local school systems, and sell to other school systems. All money raised will go back into his local school system. This young man has already found a passion for life and way to give back and encourage others. Sounds kind of like Randy Pausch. 

    Dr. Strange asked, "What does this video have in common with the others you've just watched?" Well, for one thing, I expected one more video filmed in front of the green screen with Dr. Strange playing Daddy Warbucks and Liz playing the part of Annie with a production of "Anything you can do, I can do better."
    Annie and Daddy WarbucksAll three videos have shown that these students are light years ahead of teachers in their uses of technology. We are going to have to become life long learners, dedicated to assisting these students in their pursuit of an education in the next generation. 

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    C4T Assignment #2

    Different Baby Animal Accepting Each Other

    C4T #2 / Blog Summary & Comment #1 

    My second teacher blog assignment required that I follow the blog of Angela Maiers. Her most recent post included a guest post written by Lisa Cooley. Ms. Cooley emphasized the importance of teachers showing respect to their students. Respectful teachers model an important characteristic that students may then display in return. A student/teacher relationship based on this principle can also influence positive behavior in the classroom.

    Many schools often have numerous bureaucratic rules. Minor infractions by students such as talking in the hallway or eating in class are a few examples Ms. Cooley refers to. Choosing your battles when disciplining students can make a major difference between earning the respect of students and resentment of students. Some teachers assume the role of dictator and enforcer of rules rather than working to teach students accountability. Accepting students as individuals and showing them the same respect that you would appreciate can bridge a gap that exists between most teachers and their students.

    Ms. Cooley's blog made me reflect on the meaning of respect. Respect is something that is stressed and expected in many cultures, but especially here in the South. We are brought-up learning to "respect your elders and say yes ma'am/sir and no ma'am/sir". However, many teachers seem to view themselves as authority figures where respect is a one-way street. I replied to Ms. Cooley that after many years of substitute teaching, I have often observed teachers who clearly do not show respect to students. As a result, students usually do not have much respect for these teachers and have behavioral issues in class. I agree with Ms. Cooley's assessment that showing respect is not only the right thing to do; it is a practice which can help students learn accountability and reduce the frequency of classroom disruptions. Teaching students important life lessons does not have to only pertain to math formulas and writing skills.

    Blog Summary & Comment #2

    Wishbone: A Platform for Students Passions

    It's difficult to believe that many students grow up with no words of encouragement or seeds of hope planted in their minds with the prospect of sprouting into dreams of success in their future. Reed Matheney published a  guest post on Ms. Maiers' blog regarding an inspirational non-profit organization who helps build dreams. "Wishbone" is a non-profit, community outreach program which matches at risk and low-income students with donors who are willing to work with these students, helping them to learn skills they are truly interested in. I guess you could say it's sort of an apprenticeship. Donors get the benefit of helping young students, possibly opening doors that will change their lives. The students get the benefit of obtaining skills, real-world experience, and learn that their dreams are possible. Mr. Matheney addressed the fact that teachers should look beyond lack of performance, boredom, and behavioral issues. Get to know these students as individuals and explore a community out-reach program to give that child a chance. In other words, take the time to care.

    Beth Schmidt is the founder and Executive Director of "Wishbone". Beth noticed that most of her students had few opportunities to pursue interests outside of school. Some students did not enjoy the curriculum in school, became bored, and had little hope for a productive future. She ran a marathon raising money to send her first group to summer camps. Each student had been assigned to research a camp they would be interested in, write a paper providing information about the camp, and valid reasons they would want to attend the camp. All students from this first group went on to graduate from High School and are all now majoring in the subjects which pertain to the camp they attended. I agree that encouragement by a teacher can become a life altering event. We need more teachers who stress the importance of success and dreaming big. 

    My comment to Ms. Maiers and Mr. Matheney included the story of my daughter's 6th grade Science teacher at a College Preparatory School. She seemed consistently ill and short with students; never had a tad bit of patience. She used her "teachers burn-out" as an excuse to take her frustrations out on her students. She had my daughter's class say, in unison "Would you like fries with that? and What kind of sauce would you like with your nuggets?" I was so angry! I can't really write on here what I had wanted to do with some fries and nuggets, but I guess you can imagine..... What I think now is, why can't she be more like the teachers in the Wishbone Project? Many of my daughter's classmates come from lower-income, inner-city, schools as it is a magnet school. It has a wonderful reputation for producing intelligent and prepared students. However, I think her school would benefit with more teachers who are willing to put that extra attention into helping students succeed in the classroom and researching alternative training for those who need it. 

    I also told them that I respect their project as teachers take the time to get to know their students' individual skills, interests, and abilities. Every teacher knows that all of their students will not have the same opportunities in life for higher education. A student should NEVER receive discouragement from their teacher! By reaching out to the community and placing students with employers who can teach them a trade they are genuinely interested in, the students have an opportunity to do something with their lives. If a child has at least one person in their life who makes them feel special, capable, valuable, and like someone believes in them, it can alter the course of their life forever. By implementing this teaching and caring philosophy, the lives of students, future generations, and communities would benefit tremendously.  


    Meet Sandra

    Locke High School
    Mock Trial Institute, UCLA

    The community where Sandra lived and attended high school was infested with gang activity, drug addiction, and prostitution. The turmoil of her community affected her high school experience and her learning; however, she aspired to be and do more.

    As a high school student, Sandra set many goals for herself: to go to a university and also to get a Master’s degree and a law license. She has always wanted to become a Public Defender, but she didn’t know if she would make a successful lawyer because she had never experienced any kind of pre-law classes.
    Wishbone sent Sandra to UCLA’s Mock Trial Institute, where she was one of the program’s highest performers. She is now a student at Bennett College for Women, taking pre-law classes. Sandra is a Jesse Jackson Push Excel scholar and a pre-alumna ambassador of Bennett College. She is also the youngest member of Wishbone’s advisory board.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Blog Post #6

    Randy Pausch

    Randy Pausch 

     (1960 - 2008)

    Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

    Randy Pausch has to be one of the most inspirational speakers I've ever heard. Even if you disregard his illness at the time of the lecture and put aside the fact that he passed away in 2008, his accomplishments and enthusiasm for life are contagious. It was difficult for me to watch his lecture without a giant lump in my throat, as it is typical to feel sympathy for someone in this situation. Randy Pausch retained his zest for life even as he delivered his last lecture.

    Anyone who watches Randy's lectures can gain knowledge about anything from Building Virtual Worlds to Time Management. I was reminded of many important things while watching the Last Lecture. What I learned was that it is important to apply positive life principles every day and it is vital to implement these as a teacher. Randy is an example that every day counts and we should do our best to make a difference until our very last day.

    It is important to lead by example in the classroom. I have seen so many teachers start their day unprepared, ill tempered, with no patience for their students or excitement for the day. What kind of effect does this have on students? Randy states that it's important to be a Tigger rather than an Eeyore. It's important to keep having fun, no matter what. When teachers maintain their enthusiasm and compassion, students will come to expect it and even return it. Randy stressed the importance of believing in your students and being loyal to them. This is a concept I recently read about in Mr. John Spencer's blog. It appears that with intelligent, successful men like Mr. Spencer and Randy Pausch emphasizing the importance and benefits of giving students the benefit of the doubt and being patient enough to find the best in everyone, this would be more common among teachers. I have worked with teachers who were miserable from the time they walked through the school doors to the time they left the parking lot. Everyone has bad days, but I am going to start today and do my best to follow through every day of my teaching career to model my dedication through a positive attitude, respect, and loyalty to my students. Perhaps I will encourage others by living up to Randy's standards.

    Students have come to me and asked, "Mrs. Mason, how does this look? or What do you think?" Randy's Last Lecture taught me to not be too easy on my students. I should push students to set a higher bar for themselves by encouraging them to do better. Even when I think they have performed well, giving positive, critique and advice will help my students strive to work harder. Giving them this drive and confidence to move forward will be a life changing skill that can help them succeed in future endeavors as well. This philosophy is also important in students who may want to give up. A teacher should never give up on a student, but support them and become resourceful enough to help them do their best.

    Group work in the elementary or middle school classroom is something that is usually loud and out of control. Randy has proven the effectiveness and benefits of group collaboration and projects. Students learn to share ideas, collaborate, and learn to work together while accepting criticism. Kind of sounds like the real world,J-O-B doesn't it? I can understand why Randy would have us do these things. Students even begin to learn through creative assignments not realizing they are having fun. Randy called this the great "Head Fake". 

    I'm not sure if you've noticed this before; it could just be me. I cannot tell you the number of times I've had the simplest of days planned only for everything to go wrong! Anyone who has ever taught in a classroom can tell you that this dilemma seems to take place there as well. When that happens if we freak out, stress out, flip out, things just get even worse. Randy says we should roll with the punches. Don't complain, just work even harder and things will turn around. I absolutely love that he referred to Karma. If you put out negative energy and actions, it just brings back more negative energy and actions. Be grateful for the days that don't go exactly like we planned and keep your eyes open. That's when Randy says we will learn something when we least expect it. 

    When teachers can begin to learn from their students, accept criticism, feed back, and use it to improve, everyone grows and learns; Instant Karma. We should also be humble both as  future educators and educators and show gratitude to all of the people who have helped us reach our goals. It's so important to have people believe in you, encourage you along the way, and be there to continue on your journey. Showing that you value their support and guidance is a wonderful trait to have and model to students. 

    I know that I have written more than the required 4 paragraphs for this assignment, but Randy Paush has had a deep affect on me ever since I saw his story on ABC's 20/20 years ago. The story of his determination and dreams, his beautiful family that he has so many reasons to live for, the countless students that he has nurtured and mentored, and last but not least, the legacy he has left as and educator and motivational speaker. I get excited and think "I want to be a person and educator just like Randy Pausch," but how many of us will get burned-out and start to complain and gossip with the group(there's one in every school) that is unhappy about everything: administration, students, paperwork, parent-teacher conferences, workshops, the school calendar,  you name it. I don't want to be that person.

    I don't even know where I will teach, but I do know I will have 3 things placed in my classroom so that I can clearly see them every day and maintain a proper perspective:
    1. My framed College Diploma / Teacher Certificate with a picture of my family that supported me every day.
    2. A framed copy of all of the classes, requirements, hours, I had to take in order to graduate signed by Jayne Kennedy who has been the most wonderful advisor to a 39 year old Freshman in 2011. This will remind me of all that I worked so hard for to get into that classroom everyday.
    3. I believe I will add a small picture of Randy Pausch to remind me that life is what you make of it, anything is possible, and remind to daily use all of those wonderful nuggets of wisdom he shared and would still be sharing if her were able. To leave a legacy like his would be one of the greatest accomplishments in the world.
    Pausch Family Photo
    Randy Pausch Quotes:
    *Don't complain; just work harder. (Randy Pausch)

    *The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. (Randy Pausch)

    *Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their childhood dreams. (Randy Pausch)

    *The best gift an educator can give is to get someone to become self-reflective. (Randy Pausch)

    *It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. (Randy Pausch)