Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Post #15 - Final Reflection

Part 2

Part 1

Part of this assignment is to answer the questions:

What will be the methods of teaching that you will emphasize? and
What tools will you use, and what tools will your students use?
We are also asked to describe the following:

Ourselves and our teaching
Our students and how they will learn
The tools our students will employ
and what the classroom will be like.
When asked what methods of teaching I will emphasize, I can say without a doubt, my teaching will emphasize project based learning. I will be teaching second or third graders (pending the availability of jobs), and will have to teach every subject every day. Project based learning gets students involved and excited about what they are learning. When asked what tools my students will use, I want to say everything. I want them to be able to use devices (like an iPad or laptop); I want them to use flip cameras and iMovie; I want them to know what a blog is; and I want them to know how to use social media for good.
When asked o describe my future classroom, I still picture the school I created in my mind from Blog Post #5. I want my classroom to be centered aroudn the students. It will be colorful and stimulating. It will include a huge word wall, a SMARTBoard, computers for student use, an extensive class library, and anything else my students need to be successful. My students will be able to use every piece of technology available to them and will use a lot of tools we used in EDM 310 (like iMovie, Google Docs, Skype, etc.)
I will emphasize blogging and podcasts in my classroom. I will also use SMARTBoard lessons as often as possible. We found some great resources this semester with lessons to be used on the SMARTBoards. I also want to involve podcasting because this can help with parental involvement. If they can log in to any computer and see what their child is doing, they can then stay active in their child’s life no matter where they are in the world.
In a perfect world, I will have the perfect class. That class would behave exactly as Anthony has described to the “special group.” They would be excited for learning, thirsting for more, and always ready to come to school. In this perfect world, I will be the perfect teacher. I want to model my classroom to be as much like Anthony’s as possible. I want my students to be excited to learn. I want to be the teacher that inspires them to do great things. I will be a teacher that makes a difference. All of which will begin with project based learning and no more Burp Back Education.

First off, I think this is a wonderful way to end the semester. We have been given the opportunity to look back at our past work and compare it with our current work. This means we can evaluate exactly what we learned in this class and see how we have grown as a student and future educator.
My first post focused a lot on how I want to incorporate the arts into the classroom. I still want to do this. I have a passion for the arts that will never fade away. However, I'm looking more and more into other possibilities, like virtual music class or choir (like Eric Whitacre from Blog Post #5. It's absolutely incredible what a little technology can do.
I would change how much I originally planned to incorporate technology into my classroom. I through in a small paragraph in the post about how tutoring and iPads, but at that moment, I was not convinced I would use a lot of technology. After EDM 310, I have completely changed my mind on this. I will use a lot more technology in my classroom. I want my students to be active and engaged in their learning. I will focus on project based learning and I will incorporate technology into this. Everything from videos, to google doc presentations, to blogging, to podcasting, and back again. I want to do it all. I just hope to find enough hours in the day to accomplish my goals. I ultimately want to inspire students to learn, not to recite facts. I want to end, as Dr. Strange would say, "Burp Back Education."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

PLN Final Post

A PLN is confusing at first? I didn't know where to begin. I will always be adding more to my PLN, but I think EDM 310 has really shown me how to do this. I think that by being a part of the Anthony Group, I have made connections with teachers in the field now, and by doing observations at Hutchen's elementary I made connections with principals and teachers in the area. A lot of my PLN has become who I know in the community. I have a good friend who's dad is now on the Mobile County School Board, so that is a huge connection to have. I plan to keep spreading my horizons and keep meeting new people. EDM 310 has shown me how to do that via social media as well.

Blog Post #14

Teacher Knows if You've Done the E-Reading
This is a bit of a shock to me. a company called CourseSmart has invented a digital textbook that teachers can track student progress on. The teacher can log in and see exactly which students are reading their assignments. The teacher can also see every key component the student has focused on. The idea is to see hat students who read less tend to be porr students, but this is not true in all cases. Students have barely opened the text, but can stil make decent grades.
I'm not sure how to react to this. I think it would be a great way to track student progress, but is it too much? It would be nice to have a record though. If a student begins to question their grades, the teacher can always pull up his reading progress and see if he or she is struggling because of lack of reading. But my concerns are what about students who still do well, but don't ever open the text? Or students that open the book to make it look like they read, but never actually did anything? Is there a way to track how long and what pages a student is on? What about a way to track the notes they write?
If this was used in a high school or middle school setting, I think it would go over better than in a college setting. College students should not be monitored and babysat. We pay for our classes and books, I would not want to pay extra for a book that my teacher can monitor. Plus, would my grade be affected if I wasn't able to do one reading one night? I would want to know if the teacher really thinks it's worth it? I mean monitoring 150 students in a lecture class could be a bit overwhelming. Would students feel like this is a violation and would they be willing to pay extra for that software?
I feel like the student is no longer focusing on learning material, but focused on making sure everytihng is done right to get the grade. CourseSmart has done a great job at inventing new ways to help, but I'm not completely convinced this is the way to go with students. I'm scared this would be too 1984 "big brother", even if it has good intent.

C4T Post

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension This week Mrs. Ripp posted about giving her students a voice her her classroom. She tells the readers exactly how to do this. Her post is all about a few questions she asks: Do my students have a say in what they are doing right now? Who set the rules of the classroom? Where do my students work? What is the vibe of the room? Who determines the grade? Who establishes the guidelines? Where do I hear my students voice? Where does the world? What do I do when students speak to me? How do I react? Which actions show that I care? What have I changed based on student feedback? Each question is answered by her and how she incorporates this into her classroom. Mrs. Ripp's classroom is very student central rather than teacher central. Her classroom should be a model as to what students need rather than what the teacher wants. My Comment: I've been following your blog this semester for my EDM 310 class. Your blog is by far the most interesting "teacher blog" I ave been assigned. I absolutely love that you give your students a voice! Students deserve the ownership of their classroom and their learning. After all, isn't it their future; their education? I hope to one day be half as inspiring as you are.

This post by Mrs. Ripp is about creating the perfect reading list. She is asking her followers their opinion rather than just creating a list on her own. Her students are asking for book recommendations and she is running out of ideas. This means she has created a learning environment in which her students thirst for more. She is an incredibly successful teacher! She has Here are some of the questions she asked: What is your number 1 book we should read? (Don't forget to leave the author name) Alabama Moon By Watt Key What is your favorite science fiction book or series and why? Beezus and Ramona series By Beverly Cleary What is your favorite realistic fiction book or series and why? Diary of A Whimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney What is your favorite historical fiction book or series and why? Number the Stars by Lois Lowry What is your favorite mystery book or series and why? The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene What is your favorite graphic novel or series and why? The Unsinkable Walker Bean / written and illustrated by Aaron Renier ; colored by Alec Longstreth. What is your favorite poetry book or series and why? Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shell Silverstein What is your favorite sports book or series and why? My 13th Season By Roberts, Kristi What is your favorite classic book or series and why? The Giver By Lois Lowry Because she asked her followers to fill out the survey rather than leave a comment, I did just that. My recommendations are listed with the questions above.

C4K (April)

Post 1
The first student I was assigned to this month was Peyton. She is 14 and gave a short biography for her blog post. She talks about living in Iowa and her favorite school subject (history). She wants to be a sports broadcaster when she grows up. She ended her post by asking what the reader likes to do in their free time.
My Comment: Hey Peyton! I'm Michelle, a student at South Alabama. We follow numerous blogs throughout the semester. This week, I got to read yours! What kind of sports do you like to watch and play? I watch soccer and football mostly. I used to play soccer and softball, but I was never that great of an athlete. It sounds like your career goal is perfect for your interests!

Post 2
This week, the student I was assigned wrote a character biography for herself. She wrote: " Girl in 8th grade  is fourteen live in mo; moved  from southwest city because her mom deai in a car crach and her dad moved to noel and girl in 8th garde  her name is betzy and she is native american and she will sart a  new school at noel element school."
My comment: Hi! My name is Michelle, and I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. My class follows student blogs, like yours, so that we learn to become interactive teachers around the world! I like that your class has been doing character developments. It's important to relate to characters.

Post 3
This week, the student's post I commented on was a post revealing the winner of the blog contest and had a great use of hyperlinks and pictures in the blog. It ended with questioning the reader about their favorite thing about the holidays.
My comment: Hi! My name is Michelle and I’m a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States. Our class follows student blogs from all over the world. This week, I got to comment on your blog. I like the competition aspect on your blog! It makes your readers want to come back for more. I hope your birthday was wonderful!

Project #15

Teacher: Michelle Vajgrt
Students: Becky Stuart, Jasmine Smith, Kayla Sandifer and Mary Cortipassi
Videographer: Brittney Patrick

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Anthony Group Reflection & Ideas

This semester, a group of us have been working with Dr. Strange and Mr. Anthony Capps (a teacher in Baldwin County). He has incredible innovative ideas for his classroom and he asked our help in creating lessons through his class blog .
This has been an awesome experience. We have seen our work in the classroom and seen how students react to it! It's real world experience without ever leaving campus.

We have been asked to put on our thinking caps and brainstorm new ideas to help integrate this into a normal EDM 310 experience. EDM 310 does a great job at introducing ways to integrate technology into the classroom, but not so much at showing students how this works in the real world.
My initial idea is to find a way to contact teachers in the area (Baldwin and Mobile) that actively use technology and/or true project based learning in their classrooms. Tell them about the experiment from the “Anthony Group” (as we so lovingly call ourselves) and see if they are interested. This would take a lot of prep work and it’s very iffy.
If it worked in the ideal manner, each student could be assigned to a group and would be able to work with a teacher on technology and project based learning that is implemented in an actual classroom. Even if it was only one or two projects for the entire semester, a small glimpse is better than none at all.
As of right now, that’s all I have thought about. I’ll have to keep thinking about other ways to introduce students to real world experience.

Blog Post #13

Brian Crosby, Agnes Risley Elementary School, Sparks, Nevada, Back To the Future
This first part of this week’s post was to watch Brian Crosby’s Back to the Future video on his blog. He shows how one topic can be expanded into every topic! He really does exactly what Mr. Chamberlain says, “it illustrates how one topic can encompass a huge range of learning." Crosby talks about his hot air balloon project and all of the projects associated with that. The students read the textbook material like the state mandated curriculum says they should, but Crosby expanded that into so much more. He had them create wiki pages, create a Flickr, and get create with their topic. They learned about changes in air pressure through activities like can crushing (from hot to cold) and lighting tissue on fire and watching it float. They learned about the different layers of the sky, like they were supposed to, then they sent a balloon up that took pictures. It really go the students involved with more than just reading about it. He also talks about teaching with a student that can’t even come to class. Students should always be involved in class, not just enrolled in class. He has the girl on video chat and she is involved in the classroom without compromising her health (she had leukemia). He says we can’t race students through school, they have to have opportunities. He closes with a quote by David Cohen and the part that stuck out to me was “..It’s not basics and then enrichment.” This is so true. Every from of learning should work together.
 Mr. Paul Anderson
In Mr. Paul Anderson’s video Blended Learning Cycle he says he is going back to “the power of the question and the power of learning” in his classroom. The beginning is a him acknowledging the people who have helped in. The end he has a great mnemonic device for blended learning: QuIVERS. Questions Investigation/inquiry Video Elaboration Review Summary I plan to use this in my classroom. Most of his video and blog are a little far fetched in my mind, but his ideas have a lot of merit. I can definitely see myself implementing some of his ideas, but not necessarily all of them. For some unknown reason, my links are not working correctly. Here is the direct link for the first: blog Here is the second:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blog Post # 12 edit

I figured out the technical difficulty from my previous post. The Tiki-Toki I tried to create is not free. You can create a timeline, but you can't share it. Here is my attempt, but I'm not sure anyone can see it besides myself.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

Blog Post 12 Due 4/14 Create an assignment for a Blog Post I should have created in your area of speciality (math, history, elementary ed, special ed, whatever). Write the instructions that I should have put here. Then do it. As you can see, I often use the suggestions made by students. Be a contributor to EDM310 in the future! This week, we are supposed to create our own Blog Post Assignment. Create. A. Blog. Post. HUH?! How the heck am I supposed to do that? I spent all week wondering, pondering, and still had no clue! This is a lot harder than it seems. Props to Dr. Strange for creating an entire class from scratch! Still, I need to come up with an assignment. What did we not cover in this class? It seems we covered every possible idea! Then it hit me... we learned all about how to do different things ad how to use different tools. However, we never discussed how to keep the student interested in your teaching methods. We tend to fall into the "death by powerpoint" trap. Why not liven it up some?

As a futre elementary educator, I'll have students that can't sit still to save their lives! How do I keep them focused on a virtual presentation? To help students become more familiar with DIFFERENT types of presentations, I would have them read this blog post by Nick Grantham.

I encourage each student to research every option Grantham has listed, but pick at least two to discuss. I want students to write a paragraph about what they discover about their choices. After researching, I want students to pick the one they feel is the better of the two and prove it by creating their own! They can present anything they want, just make me want to finish the presentation before I fall asleep.

Here is an example of what I'd like to see as the bare minimum:

SlideRocket: SlideRocket is a lot like powerpoint, but it brings it to the next level! More graphics, more visual stimulates, and less paragraph-per-slide. According to the article, this type of presentation would be a great presentation for people who like to stick to what they know (YUCK! Powerpoint..). The sky is the limit with this presentation, and it is definitely a presentation that will keep your audience of sugar-high 7 year olds captivated. You can integrate everything from text, to videos, to graphics into your presentation. It's a more interactive version of the tried and true powerpoint.

Tiki-Toki: Tiki-Toki isn't a slide and it isn't just a bunch of words. It is an app that displays a timeline. This would be great for teaching history/social studies or any other subject involving important time marks. This presentation style allows students to see (in an interactive way) a series of events in chronological order. This may not be the best idea for smaller children, but it has incredible merit!

Because I had technical difficulties, this blog post may take a little more effort than originally planned. Hey, that's education! Always learning what can go wrong and how to fix it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blog Post # 11

Technology is absolutely impossible to avoid, but why would you want to? there is so much I can do as a teacher! Technology has become second nature to everyone from teachers to students to parents. Using technology in class is probably one of the best things a teacher can do. Games, presentations, and any other related thing can be used for the classes benefit. In the video with Ms. Cassidy and her class, we see “Little kids with Big potential.” Her students blog and love the comments they get. It allows them to communicate with their family and worldwide. I loved the quote “Never ever say mean stuff” from one of her students. Ms. Cassidy is truly using technology for her class’ benefit and not her own! It’s inspirational to see teachers doing this. The students really seem to enjoy what they are doing! It’s not “boring worksheets” but instead interactive and exciting for students.
I absolutely love how in the Skype interview she describes collaborative learning. Students aren’t cheating if they are using the resources in front of them. Isn’t that how we, as teachers, have to prepare students for the future and for jobs that don’t exists yet. We should be teaching them how to use their resources and Ms. Cassidy hits it right on the dot! I am also inspired by her jumping straight into new technology uses rather than standing back and saying it would never work. She learned everything she needed to make her class better and more advanced!

C4T Post

Do you stop and solve problems or just whine?
This week's post by Vicki Davis was about being the problem solver versus being the problem. It was a short, but powerful message. She describes the "profound" difference between the two. Whiners, she compares to an ambulance; they constantly whine and alert everyone of the problems. She says to give her people of action, people who stop the ambulance, and people who do something! She challenges the reader to ask themselves one question - "[Are you] the siren, or the solver who stops to do something?"
This is the comment I left her:
Hi! My name is Michelle and I'm a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. Our class follows multiple blogs to teach us how to network. These next few weeks I am following yours.
I like your post this week. "Do you solve the problems or sit by and whine?" The comparison to an ambulance makes the blog post stand out more.
As a teacher do you think it is important to be the one to solve problems? Obviously this is a huge task to take on in any classroom. How do you take action and never whine?

11 ways to be positive when your spring break isn't all you wished for

This post is by far the best teacher blog post I have read this year. Her last sentence hit me where it means the most. "Remember your noble calling, teacher. And know that there are ways you can teach through the struggles of life - people are always watching so live your life in a way worth living."
This post was about her personal life. She had to have surgery over her spring break. It wasn't what she hoped for, but she gave 11 things that should still make her happy, and each one can be applied to the classroom in some way or another.
There are kind people in the world.
Rejoice in the Little Things
Put one foot in front of the other.
Play your game forward.
Mercy always trumps legalism.
There can be purpose in the pain.
Crying is not always the right thing to do.
There is always someone having a harder time.
There are always people having a great time out there.
Choose your attitude.
These 11 statements speak for themselves.

My comment: Hi. Good luck in your healing. I know your blog is encouraging to me. I'm glad your family was there for you every step of the way.
Your last statement absolutely hit this post home. "Remember your noble calling, teacher. And know that there are ways you can teach through the struggles of life - people are always watching so live your life in a way worth living." This is so amazingly true.
Thank you so much for this inspiring post.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

C4K Summary (March)

Post 1

This week, the fifth grade student I was assigned to was talking about being lonely. He talked about problems he had and said he kept to himself because he was lonely.
My comment:
People can be mean in 5th grade. Things get better as you get older! I like your honesty in this post.

Post 2

This week, Kole posted about life without the First Amendment. He discussed how he wouldn't be able to go to church or have other basic rights. He concluded about how he was glad he will never have to live without his rights.
My comment:
"Hi Kole! I'm Michelle, a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. My class follows student blogs like yours! I love your points for why your life would be different without the First Amendement! It would be incredibly different to live in an America without the rights guaranteed by this particular amendment. I couldn't image a world where I was not allowed to speak what is on my mind, where the clothes I want, or go to the church I attend. What do you think people would be like today without these rights? Would everyone be nice and happy, or quite and reserved?

Post 3

Emma posted a response to her teacher's prompt. She discussed her opinion on a video her class watched, and also responded to something she would change. She wrote about wanting to change her schools policy on discipline. She had valid points and it is hard to find something to argue about!
My comment:
Hi Emma! I’m a student at the University of South Alabama. My EDM teacher assigns us blogs to follow so that we can get in touch with people all over the world! This week I followed your blog. I liked your view on William’s first attempt. He didn’t fail at all! He just needed to make modifications to make things better. I’m confused about the second part of your post. Can you explain to me what plan is and SMART rules?

Post 4

Jouan did some research and discussed stories about the origin of the Easter Egg. He looked in to multiple stories and then formed his opinion. His post really showed how to put research into action before forming opinions about what to believe.
My comment:
Hi Jouan! My name is Michelle and I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in the US. Our class reads blogs every week so that we can learn how to connect with people all over the world! This week I was able to read your blog! I like that you read many stories about Easter eggs before you wrote about your opinion. It is always good to read a lot about something. Sometimes the first story you read is not always right. Keep up the good work!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Post #10

I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.
This week's post confused me at first. Once I red the comments under the picture (on the atual blog post) I started to understand. It is a sarcastic approach to the age old Apple versus PC argument. I first had to look up what a Ticonderoga was, a "better" pencil basically. I want to say this picture has an Apple represented by the "hipster" pencil, Ticonderoga, and a PC is represented by Papermate. PCs are cheaper, but tend to have more problems than a Mac. Mac's a pricey and "cool" but in the long run are more reliable. With a Mac, it's the most expensive purchase. With a PC, its a cheaper purchase, but repair costs and replacements can add up. The moral of the cartoon is along the lines of it's better to spend money up front for better quality than to spend less money on something unreliable.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
In the second post we read this week, Spencer was faced with his supervisor arguing that games are no method for learning. I love that in the argument, Spencer tries to convince the supervisor by saying soldiers and nurses do the same: Play games! I hate that some people still oppose new teaching methods. By the end of the post, a compromise was reached, but this is not always the case. Schools need to invest in, as Dr. Strange says, non-burp back education. Learning should not be one way only. Hopefully, I can make progress in schools by becoming a teacher.

Avoid Social Networking

I also read the post "Avoid Social Networking." This was hilarious to me. Can you imagine a world where teachers aren't even allowed to look at their students outside of the classroom? I definitely don't want my children to have teachers that ignore them!

Don’t teach your kids this stuff. Please?

McLeod is a man that travels to multiple schools that, as he puts it "live on the edge of deeper learning." His blog post states everything parents have thought about at some point. No social media, technology is bad, and all children should only be allowed to use pen and paper. Yeah, right. Children need to be stimulated and should learn technology. I hope parents read this post and are awaked by it. Kids should be aware of all uses of technology and how they can be used for good.

SMARTboard Project #14

Here's a quick how to for using a SMARTboard in your classroom!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung Volume 4

Mr. McClung found himself thinking about what his peers think about him. In his post, he says he worried about this, but then realized its about his students. He asks himself, are my students having fun? It is more important to be an excellent teacher for students, not for other teachers. I hope that once I find my teaching methods, I can stick to them as Mr. McClung has done. He found what worked for him and uses that to his advantage and to his students’ advantage. Using teaching techniques that this class, EDM 310, I believe it will be easier to connect and use creative teaching. If I find myself worried about what other teachers think of me, I can take a step back and realize that other teachers are blogging about the exact method I use. So it must not be wrong if someone, somewhere is using that method. If my students are still learning and having fun, then I must be doing something right.

  Mr. McChang (2010-2011)

I feel as though I can sum up Mr. McClung’s entire post in one quote: “Our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults.” Much of the same thoughts in the Volume 4 article can be seen here. His blog inspires me to want to be that teacher that stands out. I want to be that teacher that students want to come to school just to see! Students should like their teachers, after all, they are why we picked our profession? If other teachers don’t like you, but you are still a phenomenal teacher, then that is all that matters. He also mentions that even though you are excited about change, others may not be. I hope to never:join the darkside” as he says. I want that fire to stay lit as I develope as a teacher. I’ll have to remember his advice to stay true to the aspects of teaching I enjoy and not let others get me down.

Project #12

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blog Post #8 - Part Two

Kids blog post it note on corkboard

Because my brain was on Spring Break a week early, and I was not an observant person this week, I didn't take into consideration the time change and didn't finish the assignment. This means there are two Blog Post #8s and this one is late. I'm not even going to try and cover for that mistake. Lesson learned, Spring Forward happens every Spring and Spring Break doesn't excuse late work. Oops! Sorry Dr. Strange!

Dr. Miller "This is how we Dream"

In Miller’s video, he talks about writing in a creative way. It’s hard to imagine using his advice in lower age groups, but it’s worth a try. He talks about how there are several ways to teach students through technological ways. There are so many ways to get information to the public nowadays and in so many different ways.
In part one, he talks about writing. He describes two stages of writing and information sharing. Pencil and paper in libraries and now typing and computers. It’s crazy that we have gone from multiple books on the table to multiple windows on the desktop. People have access to unlimited resources, some by just taking their phone out of their pocket.
In part two, we can see how things can change instantly online. One of his driving points is that ideas belong to the world, and are no longer individuals. Things like iTunesU make it easy to share everything, like lectures and books.
I hope to be able to incorporate technology into my classroom. There are so many ways to do this. From blogs, to youtube channels, to iPad apps. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8 - Part One

Carly Pugh - Blog Post #12
Carly is such an inspiring writer. Her blog post makes it easy to see her passion is teaching. Her blog gives the reader an insight to how she will use her creativity and the technology available to her in the classroom. This particular post gives a direct example of Dr. Miller's writing with technology. I love that she incorporated different playlists into her post and gave an example. Instead of just saying what should be done, she showed her audience.

EDM 310 is Different

The Chipper Series shows the importance of classes and this class, EDM 310. In the video Chipper doesn't take school seriously and ends up treating life as a joke. Things that seem minor now, could be potentially big problems in the future. Things like slacking off and submitting work late can lead to losing a career in the future. Employers take things seriously, and by learning proper habits now, they will stick in the future. This video is a great option for showing any student who is concerned about their future. EDM310 for Dummies was such a help to watch at the beginning of the semester, but watching it a second time, after half the semester, puts it into perspective. The video makes me feel better about this class. I feel like I have hit that "This is it! I quit" moment with writing blog posts. But by using resources provided by Dr. Strange and other students, the class gets easier.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

The video for this section of the post was all about the lack of technology in some classrooms. It sometimes is annoying that students have all sorts of technology at their fingertips, yet aren't allowed to use that in their classes. Teachers aren't using all of the potential they could be using. Like with this class, we are given guidance on how to use technology for educational purpose, students should be taught how to use technology. Why not allow students this luxury?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

C4T Post

Mind Shift Logo

The teacher I was assigned has not updated her blog since before Christmas. Instead I chose to comment on Tina Barseghian's Mind Shift: How We Will Learn.

Post 1

I chose this blog because I felt like like the latest post was very similar to the assignment for Blog Post #2, “Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity”. Barseghian titled her blog post "How Free Play Can Define Kids’ Success". The entire post is about how children need unstructured playtime to build their own resilience. The closing sentence of this post spoke to me the most. "Keeping children on rigid, academically driven schedules denies them the space for some of the real self-learning that will see them through unexpected challenges, the ones that aren’t on the test." This flows right into the idea of non-traditional teaching. As teachers, we have to follow strict academic schedules, but maybe making time for play is just as important. According the Barseghian's post, children develop the skills needed to be competent adults through playtime. The learn competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. These 7 C's cannot be taught on a strict routine, but are learned through experience.

After introducing myself, the comment I left is as follows:
I absolutely loved your post. It reminded me a lot about an assignment we did recently. We watched the video ( This man talks about how creativity is just as important as the academics.
I hope to be able to use your last sentence as a guide in becoming a teacher. It's about time that educators begin to realize not everything can be taught, sometimes it has to be experienced. Self learning is a valuable teacher and children should have more opportunities for this.

Post 2

This week, Barseghian talks about design thinking in her post What Does ‘Design Thinking’ Look Like in School?. The definition she gives is "design thinking is an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand." This is a lot like my high school learning experience was like. I was in our school's EPIC (engineering pathways integrated curriculum) program. We were able to incorporate engineering design principles into our classrooms. We even got to build a robot and compete in the national and state Robotics Competitions. This design for teaching made me want to go to class. It was like learning hands on experience without the question of "why does this matter?"

Barseghian talks about a school, Nueva School in Hillsborough, Calif., that used this learning method. An example project was building a LED lamp. The grate thing about this project is that students used the entire design process! They began with what, gathered research, and eventually develop the product. She goes on to say "elements of design thinking are easy to implement anywhere." This is definitely true! I really encourage everyone to read the entire post and learn about design thinking in the classroom!

I left the following comment on her post:

I absolutely love his post. I can relate well! The public high school I attended had an engineering program curriculum (EPIC) that used design thinking in the classroom. We did simple projects like building a Putt Putt boat to extreme projects like building a robot for a national competition. We were able to use your exact definition in our classrooms ( real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand). I would love to see more schools move towards this learning process! Thanks for your interesting blog posts, I throughly enjoy reading them.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

I watched part of Randy Pausch’s last lecture during the first assignment involving him, Blog Post #1. I didn’t get the chance to finish it, so I’m glad we had to do this assignment. I did research him a little before this assignment and this is what I learned. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer before he was 50. The entire concept of the Last Lecture is based on challenging professors and educators to summarize all of their knowledge in one final lecture for their students.

Most of his the last lecture focused on achieving childhood goals. He talks about the walls that can be put up to deter anyone from reaching their goal, but you have to persevere. This is something I can strive to teach my future students. If you can dream it, you can make it happen. A teacher should forever encourage students to tear down the walls in their way. In addition, a teacher should prepare a student with tools and knowledge to keep fighting for what they want. His story about becoming a Disney Imagineer inspired my conclusion. He says “brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” As a teacher, I could teach students how to prove how much they want something.

Pausch talks about an idea that keeps student’s engaged by teaching through technology. He calls it edutainment (education entertainment). He relates this to other places and people who have used the idea for employees and students. It’s like a puppet, or his metaphor is “head fake”. Meaning he teaches students something fun, but all the while they are learning something valuable. This is much like our EDM 310 class. If you told me Dr. Strange was going to teach me HTML coding, I’d laugh at you. But instead, he taught us to blog and gave us tips on how to make something do something else. I honestly didn’t realize it was the basics of HTML coding until I was at work helping my boss create a code for our store website. She asked how to do something, and I surprisingly knew how. This method could be useful in any classroom. It would make students want to learn rather than want to procrastinate.

In another class I’m taking, we talk about non-traditional teaching styles. Pausch seems to have embraced that completely. Instead of his students sitting in a desk and listening to him drone on, students are up doing projects. He tells of stories that make it seem students have to search for answers themselves. They rely on their professor to show them the resources, but they rely on themselves to learn more. It’s crazy to think his methods may have taught students more than they would have ever learned through traditional textbook learning. Randy Pausch has changed how others believe in teaching and has inspired putting the student first.

Project #9

PLN where each letter is made of books

Personal Learning Network (PLN or PLE)

According to Dr. Strange, "Your PLN is the set of PEOPLE and TOOLS that you can call upon for help, consultation, collaboration, or other assistance." He says blogs, twitter, and other "social media" sites can be helpful when connecting with others around the world. I believe this to be incredibly true!

I have two twitter feeds, a personal twitter and a "professional" twitter. I also have a facebook with a variety of "friends" on there. Most of my past teachers are my friends on here and they love when I reach out to them for advice about my future career in education.

As a start to building a PLN, I built relationships with people already in the profession. Luckily, with EDM 310, I am able to look a new tools weekly to add to my PLN. Every tool we have looked at so far has been helpful and something I feel as though I can use in the classroom.

C4K Summary for February

Kids blog post it note on corkboard

February 10 - Riley

The student's blog I read was a post about cell phones versus hospitals during world war. This particular student says that hospitals are more important. Several reasons are given, but details are lacking. In my comment, I asked a question hoping to promote more of a conversation. My comment is as follows:

Hi! I’m Michelle Vajgrt, a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class! Our class reads other blogs and tries to connect with people around the country and world. This week, I read your blog. Your class has a very interesting topic: cell phones versus hospitals. You bring up a good point, soldiers had big and bulky phones. You are right, hospitals are useful during war. I also agree with you completely; hospitals are more important than cell phones. I’d like to read about other reasons why you think so! Since hospitals did exist, do you think they were good enough, or could they have been better?

February 17 - Laura

The student, Laura W was assigned to me this week! She is from Canada. Her most recent post was about a sleep over she was looking forward to. I posted after her sleepover had past, so I posted this comment:

Hi! My name is Michelle Vajgrt and I am a student at the University of South Alabama (just like Heather!). I hope you and your friends had as much fun as you thought you would at your sleep over! What type of games did you get to play with your friends? Maybe you will get to have a sleepover for your birthday!

February 24 - Rikoshae and Jordan

This week I was assigned two student blogs. The post was simply a welcome to Room 6 post. I post a welcome message on each of their blogs!

Hi! I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama in the United States. Welcome to Room 6! I look forward to reading about your class projects.

Project # 8

Our video didn't fit into one YouTube post, so it's in two parts!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Project #10 - Extended Edition

Join.Me Logo

I found another super cool technology use at work yesterday. I really think it's worth sharing, so I'm going to have two Project 10 posts!

So I'm incredibly "computer dumb" when it comes to writing computer code and all that jazz. So at work, when my computer was having issues, I called the University Academic Computing Center. They have this nifty tool called Join.Me. You download the app to your desktop and you can choose to share your screen or to join someone else's screen through a nine diget one time code. As I was watching the computer center take over control and move around things on my desktop and type code directly into my computer, I couldn't help but wonder what else it was capable of doing. So I went back to the website. They had a heading that said "Present from iPad" (now we are talking). So I downloaded the app on my computer and iPad, and what do you know, it works! This tool could be so useful in classrooms with Smart Boards. A teacher could control the screen with her iPad while moving around the classroom. You can even put presentations, documents, etc into the app and display them directly on the screen. It is completely up to the users discretion. It can even be open to where anyone with the code can log in and see. Or you can log into their computer and see! It can be set to private or open. It can be invite only, or open for anyone to join. The sky is really the limit! Unfortunately, you have to eventually buy it. The trial period is only 21 days and for a year subscription it is $149. But depending on your level of presenting and technology use, it could be worth it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10

Finding the right tool

I’m going to cheat a little on Project #10. The assignment was to find a tool or use of technology not covered that would be useful while teaching. While the tool I chose is helpful in multiple ways, and it is a form of technology not covered, it is something another professor told me about. I didn’t actually discover it myself. But it is super useful, and I want to share it with everyone!

Have you ever heard of book trailers? They are an awesome tool to get students interested in reading. It is where someone, somewhere, has created a preview (much like a movie preview) in a video form for students to watch. Well this particular site (which I did have to search for myself, so I guess I didn’t entirely cheat!) Book Trailers for Readers has a huge collection of these. As a future elementary educator, I have to find ways to make students want to read. This is not an easy task! Book trailers can make this easier. Students get a visual representation of what they are about to read, so it sparks their interest! I will definitely use these in my classroom.

This is one of my favorites, and it's student made! We read Roald Dahl's The Witches in third grade! I love that even a rating is included with the trailer!

Blog Assignment #6

descriptive word collage of twenty first century teacher
The Networked Student

I really liked this presentation. It made me think of our last blog post about why teachers are needed, even when students are learning more through the internet than in the classroom. The entire time I was watching the video, I was thinking “is he suggesting eliminating teachers?” I was confused until the very end.

 I actually took a screen shot (the image at the start of this post) of what meant the most to me from this video. What is a 221st century teacher? She/He is a Learning architect, a modeler, a learning concierge, a connected learning incubator, a network sherpa, a synthesizer, and a change agent. A teacher has to introduce students to the resources available to them and how to use them to the best of their abilities. Students need to be pointed in the right direction and should be given (this means taught by a teacher) basic information. Basic information means the ability to form educated opinions based on others’ research and opinions.

 It’s amazing how much information is at the fingertips of every student. It is the teachers job to show them how to use this information for good and for educated purposes. Teachers are essential in making sure students can navigate the “bad” information sites to find the “good” sites. Teachers in the 21st century are more valuable than ever before. Not only are they responsible for “normal” education, but they are now responsible for so much more. Being a teacher is no easy task in todays education system!


Symbaloo seems really interesting. I like how you can have personal blocks as well as educational or class blocks. The information and ways of presenting information through this tool is incredible! I definitely want to look into this more!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #5

Inspector gadget teacher
If I Build A School

Krissy Venosdale is a gifted teacher in Missouri. She is an extremely creative and passionate woman. She loves incorporating science and technology into her classroom and wants her students to use creativity in learning.

Her post is a ramble about if she were to build a school. Her creativity spills out of this blog post. Her dream is a school that no longer bases its curriculum off of state and national standardized testing. Instead, it's a school coated in creativity. So much so, she wants a giant tree house in the library! Her approach is so student centered and non-traditional. It is truly a breath of fresh air. She wants students to desire to learn. Her ideal school is one children would be excited to attend. It would be a welcoming environment.

I had a teacher I used to help out that had a reading barn. Kids loved it! It was a huge cut out of a bar that took up an entire corner in her classroom. It had a loft bed on top for cozy reading and space below it for a classroom library. It was the most creative thing I'd seen in a school. So why can't this be the "norm"?

I attended a performing arts elementary school. You know what my favorite classrooms were? One was my kindergarten classroom with a puppet show carpet and stage. Yes, we performed puppet shows to our classmates! Even our teachers did. I learned my lessons through a puppet. The other, was a teacher with her classroom theme as "the sky is the limit." The walls were painted as a sky, complete with clouds! There was even a giant tree painted in the reading corner and an airplane with a sign attached that was painted as flying on the walls. I wanted to go to school so I could see these things.

So when asked, what would my ideal school be, I pick a combination of my elementary school and Ms. Krissy Venosdale's school. One tiny change, instead of classrooms, I'd have activity rooms. Each room would teach a lesson in a different way. Students could pick how they want to learn. Are they a hands on learner? Then they can go straight to the science lab! Are they an artist? Send them to the art studio to display their talents. Do they want to use a smart board all day? Send them to the tech room! Is this student a leader? Let them teach a class. Students should have a say in how and what they learn.

My school would not be my school. It would be the students school. And seriously, it would have "a big treehouse, IN the library!"

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Oh my heavens! Anyone who has any connection to music will be blown away by this video. A virtual choir?! Who would have ever thought it was possible to create such beautiful music without ever meeting. I still have goosebumps from watching the video. Technology has really created such powerful tools. Who would have thought that 185 different people, singing from their own homes, could create such a sound. I am still in awe over watching that. Especially because I am a music person myself. This is absolutely a terrific use of the internet. If a virtual choir can create this type of sound, what is next?

Teaching 21st Century

This presentation states one thing that stands out among the rest. Teachers are filters. Robert's sees teaching is not the same it has always been. Teachers are no longer the main source of information and learning. Students can learn more through internet research than they can ever learn from a classroom teacher. The problem is, how do they decipher what is fact and what is opinion. Teachers have to use the same resources students use daily, but show them how to use them correctly. Show them how to filter their internet searches to get exactly what they want; show them what sources are good for news, and what sources are slanted towards the producers opinion; show them how to find published works as well as blog posts with the same legitimate information. Teachers have to open their eyes are realize technology has taken other the average student's life. Teachers have to adapt to new resources. How does this effect my future career as a teacher? I have to stay constantly up to date with new technology, new search engines, and new ways to teach, no educate, my future students.

Flipping the Classroom

Flipping the classroom is an odd concept for me to accept. By flipping the classroom, actual learning and discussion can take place. According to Katie Gimbar's video, students "preload" the material outside of the classroom. While this seems great, what about students that do not understand the material at all? They pre-load the wrong information, then more time is going to have to be spent in class trying to "undo" what the student has tried to teach themselves. In harder subjects, like math, this may be a bit of a difficult task. In other classes, like literature, this may be beneficial. Her FAQs seem to answer all questions, but this is still such a foreign concept. My first response is that there is no way this could work. (much like Dr. Strange's initial reaction to Twitter!). I would have to do a lot more research than a few videos to decide if this would be a process I could use in the classroom.

On second thought....

Let's make the whole library a forrest. Like found on about the first green library. library entrance with sign stating My Tree Houselibrary features children reading with trees on the walls and books all over the room

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Project #6 “This is My Sentence” Video

She Makes a Difference by Helping to Grant Wishes. Video is a response to Daniel Pink's "What's my sentence?"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #4

flat stanley, boy with brown hair and big smile Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley is a project I remember doing in elementary school, so I was super excited to read this post! You can tell exactly how excited the children were about the project in the voice clip. This was a great idea to do with the class. I love that they each got to pick their place and had to do their own research. This is a great project to teach children about different places. Even using their imagination about the smells, sights, and feelings just makes the project so much more fun.

Podcast Collection

The article posted by Judy Scharf on Curriki is absolutely awesome. I have never actually known what a podcast is. It was nice to sit down and read in detail what, how, and every other detail associated with podcasts. Ms. Scharf also has listed several lesson plans that could be helpful for use in the classroom. She also has links to other sites that could be helpful for teaching students.

Podcasting in the Classroom

Mr. Joe Dale posts about how to use podcasts in the classroom. His video, as well as his post, talks about how its effective for worldwide connections and project based learning. It's also awesome in that he touches the topic of Blooms Taxonomy. My favorite part of this post is that things I'm learning in other classes are coming into play with other teachers. A great point he brings up is that parents are more involved. With a podcast, parents can log on to any computer and see what their child is doing in class. This is an awesome way for students to connect with family in other states as well. Podcasts can be awesome for a lot of reasons. I look forward to doing more with this type of technology in the classroom.

Friday, February 8, 2013

C4T #1 & 2

inspired is to be inspired
Mrs. Ripp's Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension

Mrs. Ripp's blog is definitely one I will follow in the future. Many of her blog posts focus on the subject of reading. Reading is a hard subject to 'force' students to want to love. Some students take naturally to it, while others resist entirely. Her most recent post, "10 Things that Helped us Love Reading More," is just that, a list of 10 suggestions for a classroom to ignite the love of reading. She says that by having a mutual ground, the teacher sharing her current reading and the student doing the same, as sparked an interest in specific books. She also pulls from technology and shows her students book trailers. Just about everyone loves watching movies, so by showing students a book trailer, they can get an idea of what the book is about. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her blog and would recommend it to anyone looking for ways to help their students fall in love with reading.

In my comment, I told her who I am and a little bit about my background (school, major, Dr. Strange's class). I also complimented her on her blog and told her I was genuinely interested in following her posts. Reading has always been something I am passionate about. Reading creates an entirely new world. I told Mrs. Ripp that I was nervous about how my classroom ideas would turn out, but I would love to use her suggestions to inspire my future students. I singled out number nine on her list. She says to give students ownership. Let them choose what they want to read. Rather than forcing the entire class to read one particular book, she suggests small groups. By doing this, an individual's voice can be heard when talking about the text.

A Few Posts Later

Mrs. Ripp is such an inspiriing person. I love reading her blog posts. This particular post was about "the angry students." She tells of the angry students that need attention and care. ONe of the most amazing lines in her post is "...we hope that they leave us a little less angry, a little more trusting, a little more ready for the next step in life. In the end, that is all we can do; hope and believe..." If every teacher believed in this philosophy, the world would be a much greater place. I especially love that she links to past posts to reinforce her topic. In my comment this week, I introduced myself again. I also commented her on her perspective of teaching and told her I looked forward to reading more posts. Part of my comment was "Your perspective on teaching is one that I hope to one day establish in my own classroom. Students should not have pre-labeled habits. Any teacher can change a child’s life. I absolutely love that you reflection of a student is who they are in the present moment. I look forward to reading more of your posts."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post #1

Special Word Art
First off, I love that the WolframAlpha is available for use on my iPad! I absolutely love finding useful apps for my iPad!

Comparing data

When I did the search for Compare Populations of India, China and the United States I saw about what I expected. The United States has 309 million people, India has 1.21 billion, and China has 1.35 billion people (Whoa!). That means India has 1051 people per square mile. China has a better ranking with only 376 people per square mile. The United States has ONLY 87.3 people per square mile. That is a crazy difference in numbers!

Personal Searches

I chose to compare University of South Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Since I am a transfer student from UAB, I was curious as to how the tow compare to each other. What I did not know about USA was that we are a large master’s granting university while UAB is known as being a major research university. UAB has around 2000 more students. Comparing tuition shocked me. I have always been told USA is one of the most affordable schools in Alabama, yet USA has an average tuition of $4860 per year while UAB is lower at $4224 per year. USA has a low graduation rate compared to UAB. While this is disheartening, I would pick USA any day.

The second search I did was to compare Facebook to Twitter. Did you know Facebook has over 12 billion users?! Twitter as around 700 million, but it is a much newer form of social media. Or so I thought... Twitter is 13 years old! It has just recently become so popular. Its crazy to think of how long these social media sites have been around.

In the Classroom

This tool could be used in all kinds of ways. Teachers could show their students two things compared side by side in a matter of seconds. Any piece of knowledge can be compared! This could be especially helpful for high school seniors when trying to compare colleges. Most information can be right there for them to look at.

Social Media Counts

Holy heck! Has anyone else been as blown away as I was about the numbers in the Social Media Counter by Gary Hayes? That and the recent comparison I did on WolframAlpha scare me a little. It’s great that people are utilizing the internet so much, but is it for the right reason? Of the millions of youtube videos uploaded while my counter was going, how many were of substantial material? As future educators, we have to sort through all the “junk” to find appropriate material. As a professional, this many users on social media sites means its more important than ever to monitor what you post and what you say. If this many users are uploading photos and commenting this much, people should really be aware of how they present themselves. Social media sites are monitored by future employers and it is important to make a first impression.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

image is of social media logos like twitter connected to a figure of a globe
Before I Begin the Assignment

I thought “yeah right” when Dr. Strange told us that teachers use blogs in classrooms everyday. Oh boy was I wrong! I started my field experience this past week. My teacher has a class blog! She posts her weekly memos, her letter to the parents, and daily snippets of what is happening in her classroom. She even has a calendar of the entire school year. Her students’ parents are even able to comment on it. It’s an awesome tool to keep her parents informed. With her permission, I hope to post a link to her blog soon! Another cool tidbit about technology in the classroom is the use of SmartBoards. At the school I’m going to, each classroom has a SmartBoard. Every morning, someone comes over the intercom system and tells teachers to turn on their boards. The morning announcements are done on the board! The incredible part is that we, in this class, are learning exactly what teachers are doing. Thanks to Dr. Strange, we won’t be behind in the use of educational technology.

Also, for anyone curious as to where my picture came from, check out this article about using social media! It's impressive how much each outlet has grown! It talks about how the world is literally at your fingertips. The article is one from an online Asian magazine from October 2011, but their site is still pretty cool. It brings you back to the whole idea that at the click of a button, you can explore Asia from right here in Mobile, Alabama!

Guidelines for Peer Editing

One thing a lot of people tend to forget when peer editing is be positive. Instead of saying “This is all wrong,” say “You could improve this by (fill in the blank).” It’s often intimidating to edit a peers work. I often think: What if they get mad? What if I’m too mean? What if, what if , what if?? It’s a fear everyone must overcome. How can you be expected to fix a child’s work if you can’t edit your classmates? By following the steps in What is peer editing it can be beneficial for both you and your peers. By complimenting, suggesting, and correcting you can be helpful versus hurtful. Some of the kids in the awesome video, Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes, and I should read the slide show Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial. It gives helpful tips to help even a Mean Margaret or a Jean the Generalizer! The video is an overexageration, but a helpful tip in showing students what to avoid and how to become more of an effective editor.

In my comment to a classmate, I tried to stay positive. She had a lot of good content, but did not go into detail. I chose to critique her blog by simply asking questions to further her thoughts. By doing this, I hope to make her want to share more of her thoughts. She has a great topic sentence, then doesn’t follow through with it. Her ideas are wonderful! However, I feel like she is like most students (myself included) in that we want to rush to get the assignment done, but do not go into detail. Hopefully, after reading about peer editing, our assignments as a class can improve.

On a related note, pointing out grammatical and spelling errors may not be something you would want to do on a public comment on a blog. On one hand, prompting someone to answer more questions can benefit them; on the other, publicly embarrassing someone can have the opposite effect. While the editor may not have the intention to embarrass, it can come across as that way. It’s best to think of how you would want something said to you before you tell another. On a blog, a private message may help in some cases. Others, like asking for details, can give everyone reading the blog more information.

Assistive Technologies

If you EVER need to be inspired and reminded why teaching is such an important career, watch Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children. Just wow! The very first thoughts after the short video are “How can I prepare myself for these children?” It’s true, how can I, correction WE, make a difference? Tools like The Mountbatten and math devices are making this as easier task for teachers. The mountbatten device is as complex as a computer! Students can hear the letters as they type the braille. It can also save and send documents to a computer for a teacher to see the students work! It’s incredible how far technology has gone for those who do not have any impairments, but its come just as far for those who need it most! With the math device, it is as simple as building blocks but also as complicated as a barcode and computer. I had no idea things like this exist! If I were to have a student that needed these tools, I would definitely utilize them. Students should be able to take advantage of every tools available to them.

The coolest video we watched this week shows how an iPad can be used to teach a blind student is found here. This is a mother learning to use her iPad as if she was blind. I’m really excited about this particular method of learning! I can’t wait to get out my iPad and try out these methods! If these programs are as awesome as the videos make them seem, they will work fantastically in the classroom! I will definitely be using these as needed with my future students.

Learning To Use Technology

A lot of the terms used in Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts are ones Dr. Strange uses in class. Ms. Vicki Davis talks about hyperlinks, twitter, blogs, and google docs. Through the programs this particular teacher uses students and teachers are connected by more than just pencil/paper. She brings up an interesting point about how if you force a student to learn in only a traditional way, you are cheating them of a full education. Not all students learn the same way. Using technology opens up a whole new world and whole new method. She says she enjoys turning the school upside down! Why shouldn’t she? She has empowered these students to do more than just accept textbook material. She has introduced them to the entire world with just the click of a button.

I encourage anyone interested at all in this type of teaching to check out Edutopia. It’s full of useful information, including traditional teaching methods. A link I like a lot is Apps in the Classroom. This might be because of my new found love of educational iPad apps, but it’s still useful information! Check it out! You never know; you might learn something new.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Did you know word art
Did you know?

The one sentence that stands out most about the “Did you know?” videos is “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist.” Both videos, Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod and Dr. John Strange, display this important question.

As a future teacher, hopefully within the next two years, this is a scary thought. Jobs do not even exist yet, but a current student, sitting in a classroom right now, will take that job. How is this even possible? The ever increasing forms of technology and communication. In 2013, any piece of knowledge any one person could want, is instantly at their fingertips. Imagine what 2023 could bring just ten years later? How do you even begin teaching a child new technologies, new skills, and knowledge for a future job? I cannot stop thinking of this particular question. How? Do we say well hopefully they will figure it out? Do we say the smart ones will get it right away? What do we say? How do we teach?

The answer is simple. We teach students the skills needed to find their own answers and we teach students to love learning. If, as a teacher, I can ignite a passion for LEARNING, my job is done. As an educator, one must inspire students. By always looking for new information, new fun technology, and new topics of discussion, teachers stay up to date as well as students. If students see their role models and educators taking action to constantly learn new things, they will begin to do the same. To prepare a student for the future means to give them the tools and guidance needed to survive the unknown. To survive the unknown, one must constantly learn new skills. Teaching a student to love reading is the best way any educator can accomplish this goal.

On “Mr. Winkle Wakes”

Mr. Winkle Wakes is a cartoon approach to an important point about education. The video shows an old man waking from a hundred year slumber to see a world that did not exist when he went to sleep. He sees scary office buildings full of strange machines and an even scarier hospital full of machines keeping people alive! He keeps wondering around, trying to find his place in the new scary world. Finally, he stumbles into a school. He sees students studying, teachers lecturing, and students taking detailed notes. He’s finally at home. The narrator says its familiar in that the structure of learning has yet to change.

While this is true in some aspects, others it is not. While it is still traditional for the teacher to stand in the front and lecture while students take notes, it is not always the case. Teachers are involving their students more in more with technology. Programs on SmartBoards, personal computers and iPads are stimulating a more active role in learning. While this is not the typical, it is causing students to learn more information and how to find the information for themselves.

On “Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity”

We have no idea what the future will bring. Ken Robinson says “everyone is interested in education”, but I believe only some pursue that desire. In his video he says all students have talents and creativity. He states that creativity should be treated with the same rate as literacy. They are equally important. So why do teachers not express their students talents? Students are not afraid to be wrong, and this is exactly why they are able to constantly present new ideas. Robinson says that by the time students become adults, they have grown and been “educated out of [education].” Every school system has an education hierarchy: math, language, humanities, and THEN arts. They are passed over. Why are we not focusing as much on arts as we do math? Yes, math is important, but why aren’t the arts important? Why can’t a child be just as interested in dance and music as they are math. Students should be well rounded.

I was fortunate enough to attend a performing arts school as an elementary student. My school did focus on the arts and, sometimes, the arts (music, painting, drama, and dance) took precedence over math and science. Other days, subjects too precedence over the arts. It all balanced itself. I continued to a high school that had a program focusing on engineering. You know what? I was a musician as well as an engineer in training, AND I excelled in both. Developing the arts IS equally important. I agree whole heartedly with Ken Robinson. Education needs to change to always include the art.

Schools, Future and Change
Mr. Winkle Wakes says that education has not changed. But oh it has! Just ten years ago, my teachers did not all have computers in their classroom. Today, every teacher has one. My school had two SmartBoards. Now, most of the classrooms have one. Technology is taking over our classrooms. This is a wonderful thing! Access to technology means access to a wealth of knowledge. Teachers still lecture, but they also teach students to want more. By wanting more, students can use their access to computers and internet to discover more.

But Mr. Ken Robinson says teaching is killing creativity. The change that needs to happen in a classroom is to find a balance. Technology should be used for the good of reading, writing, and mathematics as well as the arts. The two should be hand in hand. A classroom should not force a students creativity to disappear. “Every child is born an artist.” Teach the child to use their artistic abilities. Typically, students that have an artistic hobby also score better in schools. So why not take advantage and teach students to their full capacity?


Pinterest is one of my favorite websites hands down. Not only can it be used for personal shopping, designing, cooking, and photography, but it can be used for so much more. Before this class I actually had two separate accounts. One is my personal account listing my bucket list and links to places I want to visit one day, ways I want to design my future home, and clothes I wish would be in my closet instantly. The other is my teaching Pinterest. I stumbled onto the education category and found numerous links to blogs, classroom projects, and guidelines for new teachers. My Pinterest has multiple boards separated by subject, and even includes one specifically for how to use technology in a classroom.

Without a doubt, I believe Pinterest can be used for everything listed in Aaron Morrison’s post Four Ways to Use Pinterest in Education. I love that it is a visual representation of what I want to incorporate into my classroom. It’s also useful in that every idea I ind on the internet can be grouped into one place. This means there is no researching for a topic just to find that one perfect assignment for your classroom. It’s all right there, and easy for others to find as well. Everything is in one place, but it can also be filed on to different boards. Everything can easily be found at just the click of a button. It’s also a fun and easy way to get students involved. They can easily “pin” their own ideas and be able to find them later.

Every board on the Top 20 List has merit. I chose to begin following them all. It seems that students are drawn to computers and computer programs, so I am always looking a computer programs and iPad apps that are fun, students want to play, and that teach a child at the same time. Each pin on the technology board comes with instructions on how to accomplish the desired results. One even focused on making reading fun. How useful! A board that shows you exactly how to make your students want to learn. A useful pin I already found is a list of free apps for teachers. I have an iPad already, so I immediately started looking these up. Some of them are even nice for using with the child I am tutoring this semester.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Project 2 Wordle

Wordle made of words pulled from the about me section

I like how this image turned out. I feel as though it is a general representation of myself. Most of the words that jump out at me are 'artsy' related words. Other words that jump out are parents and passion, two things that mean a lot to me. A Wordle seemed like an odd idea at first, but it actually is a good idea to display important ideas in an individuals life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

About Me:

My name is Michelle. I am a 21 year old native Mobilian. Aside from my freshman year spent at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I have never lived anywhere other than Mobile. I have one little sister who is more like my best friend than anything else. Both of my parents have always supported anything we have chosen to pursue, from dance lessons, to music lessons, to sports. Being a natural born klutz, I never fit into the sports or dance category, but music was a different story. I am capable of playing three instruments, clarinet, bassoon, and piano. The arts are something I hope to one day incorporate into my classroom.

I originally went to UAB with the idea that I would be an engineer. After realizing I was insane, I transferred to USA and moved home. I actually spoke with several of my parents’ friends and talked to a career counselor before deciding elementary education was my true passion. I believe I honestly decided to be a teacher in the fifth grade. Fifth grade students at my school were allowed to be a kindergarten helper. I loved being able to read to the children and inspiring them to want to learn. I have always enjoyed working with children. I remember one particular child telling me he wanted to be just like me when he grew up. He said he wanted to be smart and wanted to make a difference in the school. I ran into him once years later and asked if he remembered me. He told me could never forget the person that made him fall in love with reading. It is obvious he still has the same passion for learning that I remember. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to inspire students in the same manner that I was able to inspire him.

My Future Classroom

Its hard to imagine that I will actually be a teacher one day. Is even harder to imagine being a traditional teacher because I did not go to a traditional elementary school. Instead, I went to a magnet school that focused on the arts. This is the same school that made me fall in love with learning. My second grade teacher is the one I remember most. My memories of her have actually helped me in deciding I want to be a second grade teacher. Her classroom, as well as the other teachers at that school, had extremely stimulating environments. Walls were covered in colorful decorations, all of which had a purpose. As a student, I only noticed the pretty colors and designs, but what I didn’t notice was that these posters had valuable information that I would learn in the classroom. My classroom will have decorations like these. In a classroom students need constant stimulation. By having things posted and activities spread about the classroom, there will always be an activity for a student to keep their mind active.

Hands on learning is one of the most effective ways of learning. Whether hands on means through computer programs or science experiments doesn’t matter. I plan to teach in this manner. My students will be constantly active, like my elementary school experience. By just showing a student how do something, they do not accurately learn critical thinking skills. By actively participating in a project, students don’t rely on just memory and pictures of what is supposed to happen. Instead, they learn what they saw, what they did to make something happen, and what they observed.

Most of my teachers used the arts to teach many things. I hope to incorporate as much of their teaching methods into my own teaching habits. For example, to teach shapes in the first grade, my teacher had us go outside into the parking lot with chalk. She called out shapes and we each got to draw the shapes on the ground. By the end, the parking lot was completely colored. We had a two story building, so we all went upstairs and looked down at our artwork. It may seem like a simple task, but it filled each student with pride to see their shapes where every student and parent could see them.

Now, teachers are relying more and more on technology, such as iPads and SmartBoards to teach their students. Recently, my mother was telling me about a new line of tutoring notebooks that come with iPad apps. Students react to technology more than textbook learning. iPads and tablets are fascinating to a wide age range. College classes are become more and more technology dependent, and I hope to use this same technology in an elementary setting. By using a tablet to tutor a student, it stimulates more than just the part of the mind pertaining to that subject. The fascination sets in and students tend to want to continue using the program so that they may learn how it works. While learning how the program works, the student must also learn the material.

About Dr. Pausch’s Video

I have never heard of Dr. Pausch before, but his video was actually interesting. I actually did a little bit of research and he is an inspiring person with a fascinating career. In this particular video, he talked about having “To Do” Lists. I have always been a person to make out hundreds of these lists, so he is preaching to the choir! However, he says plans have to be flexible, but you have to plan first. I am not a long term planner by any means. Yes I make plans for when I want something done, but I don’t typically break things down like he suggests when making to do lists. He also says if you have a huge list of things to do, start with the ugliest one. As a typical college student, this is not the order I want to accomplish things. Usually, I want to do the easiest thing first and procrastinate until the last minute. I learned that I should take things step by step, and do right things, not necessarily do things right. think I will set my goal this semester as one that focuses on his advice. He says to make to do lists step by step, make a plan, and do not put the hard things off until the end.