Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blog Post 15-Final Reflection

“The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbor.” -Unknown

I started this course with nothing but fear in mind-I was terrified of what I thought was to come. I had heard horror stories! People who failed multiple times, people who changed their major because of EDM 310, and even people who dropped out of college because they couldn't get their degree without passing this class. Fourteen weeks ago, I was completely overwhelmed with the assignments before me. Now I've learned so much in what feels like such a short amount of time. I know more about the department I'm going into and I'm even more sure of my decision to be a teacher. I enjoyed EDM 310 and I'm pretty proud of that fact. Good luck to all future students and I hope we all learned very valuable lessons for our lives AND our careers. Catherine, out.

Project 16-Final Prezi

For our final presentation, my group (No Name) chose to create a Dr. Seuss themed Prezi. Earlier this semester we created a series of lesson plans based on several Dr. Seuss books, so we thought, why not continue with this adorable theme? Dr. Seuss books were the foundation of my childhood, so I was all for this idea! We named it 'Oh the Places You Will EDM 310' and we are pretty proud of the way it turned out. Some areas of this project were done collectively, but for the most part, we did the work independently because it includes our own videos, blog entries and photo galleries. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my group this semester! I hope you enjoy our presentation!

Dr. Seuss Prezi

Sunday, April 27, 2014

C4K April

I'm not sure if this was on purpose or if it was just a strange coincidence, but all three of my C4K children for April were from New Zealand and I thought that was really cool. The first was Takai, a child in grade 5 who wrote a blog entry about how he and his family spent Christmas. He had tons of pictures and even a drawing he did of his day at the beach! It was really adorable, here was my response: Hey Takai! My name is Catherine Stalvey and I am in college in the United States. One of my classes has asked that I read over your blog. I must say, I'm pretty impressed! You are a very good writer and you explain things very well. I can't believe you went to the beach on Christmas! Wasn't it cold? I live in the south, so I know what hot weather is like, but even we can't go to the beach on Christmas. I love that your family prays together, so does mine. I believe that is very important. I hope you are enjoying school this year! Good luck!

The second child I had this month was Aaron, a little boy in grade 4 who had just gone to his school's Fiafia day. This was really interesting to me, because a little girl I was assigned last month, Grace, wrote about her Fiafia day as well. His blog was also really well written, he set it up like a poem and his grammar as fabulous for a student his age. Here is my response to Aaron: Hey Aaron, my name is Catherine and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in the US. I really enjoyed reading your blog about your experience with Fiafia! I read another student's blog a few weeks ago, and she talked all about how much she loved Fiafia, too. Her name was Grace and she was in the Nieuan group, I wonder if you have ever seen her. I told Grace that we have a similar day called International Day, where several people bring things from different countries and everyone gets to experience a wide variety of cultures. I understand how nervous you got when you had to perform your song, I get nervous in front of big groups, too. The Jump Jam sounds like a lot of fun though! I actually just went to a concert last week and one of the bands that played had an "energy" portion of their show, too. They told everyone to put their arm around their neighbor and start jumping-it was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoy the rest of your school year and all of the Fiafia's you go to in the future!

My final C4K student for this month (and this semester, tear) was Efa-Lata, a little girl in Mrs. She's grade 2 classroom. She wrote about the day her family went to Mission Bay, a local beach, and had a picnic and went swimming. She, too, had a drawing of her adventures from that day and there were even a few actual photos of her and her family. Here is my response: Hey Efa-Lata! My name is Catherine and I go to school in the United States. I am studying to be a teacher so I am really enjoying reading your class's blog! Your weekend at Mission Bay sounds like a lot of fun! I love picnics and swimming. I go out on my boat a lot and I go out on my family's sailboat sometimes, too. I hope you enjoyed your weekend of fun! You seem like a sweet little girl and you are SO beautiful. Keep learning! I am already following your teacher on Twitter, so tell her to tweet me if she would like to after she reads this. Have a great summer!

I have so enjoyed getting a look into the minds of all the little ones I have read about this semester. It's really a totally different perspective when you talk to children vs. when you read what they have written. When they are allowed to write whatever they want, it seems like they open up a lot more and you get a little insight into their ever-changing minds. It really was an honor to read through so many blog entries by all these sweet kids and I can't wait to use a class blog in MY classroom one day! I even found this cute little cartoon about kids blogging-Why Should Schools Blog?", you should definitely take a look.

BLOG with Pushpins

Summary of Jerrid W. Kruse - C4T #4

My final C4T teacher was probably my favorite out of the teachers I was assigned this semester. Jerrid W. Kruse is a man of wit and extremely dry sarcastic remarks...but boy does he make some amazing points through his blog. In the first entry I read by him, Engaged or Entertained?, he discusses the basics of his viewpoints on technology in the classroom. Here is my response to him: I, too, believe that technology can be both a good and a bad thing in the classroom. Too much of anything is never a good idea, no need for overkill. I’m in a course this semester where I am learning all about technology in the classroom, not by memorizing anything, but by just doing it. When I started the course, I hated the idea of having most forms of technology in my classroom, for fear of them taking over my own ability to teach my students (also, I’m a big proponent of enhancing creativity and social interaction). However, as the semester has progressed, I have come to love the use of a SMARTboard and several iPads or tablets in the classroom. A SMARTboard is so efficient and can allow your students to see all the things on the internet at the same time as you, when you pull them up. The use of a tablet is a great idea because the students can learn on their own time! There is no leaving students behind by breezing through material, or slowing down to avoid leaving someone behind. Everyone works independently…until you utilize Project Based Learning and require your students to work together toward a common goal. PBL is the best way to use technology, in my opinion, because the options are endless! You can do so much as a group if you are using the internet or any other technological resource. I really like your blog entries-they’re quirky and fun and really enjoyable to read.

The second blog entry I read by Mr. Kruse, Teaching Responsibility was the post that really hit home for me. I am a combination of an over-organize list-maker and a professional procrastinator. His post covered setting deadlines for students and his curiosity about whether or not his students were really learning anything by not having set deadlines. Here is my second response: I heart due dates. I'm a list maker and if I add something to my list that is due soon, I am way more likely to do it right then than to wait until right before it's due at the end of a semester. I think due dates throughout the year are a good way to keep track of whether or not your students are actually learning-almost like an educational checkpoint. I think they can do nothing but enhance the learning environment. No one can avoid deadlines forever.

Like I said, Jerrid Kruse really was my favorite teacher to read posts by because I could relate a lot to his humor and quirky, snide comments. I read over several of his other entries and I really liked his perspective on teaching and remembering that, as teachers, we set the tone for not only the classroom, but potentially the education of our students for the rest of their lives. His posts were incredible!

Marker with Calendar

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post 13 - What was left out?

This week my blog is entirely devoted to a subject that is important to me that was left out of my list of assignments for this semester. When I read this assignment, I figured it would be easy to find something I was passionate enough about to create an assignment around, but it is surprisingly challenging to do so. I am an elementary education major, so I have decided to address an issue that seems to have several parents and teachers in a fuss. Here goes...

How young is too young for technological exposure?

Check out this video with Dr. Kristy Goodwin: How Young is Too Young for Technology?
Read what Robin Raskin had to say: Raising Digital Kids-$69 LeapFrog Toy Takes on the $500 iPad
What does ABC News think? Generation iPad:Could Device Hurt Toddler's Development?
Watch Bridger, a 2-year old with an iPad: Baby Works iPad Perfectly!
Check out George Couros' blog entry: The Principal of Change
Watch these kids: Young Kids and "Old" Technology: A Parent's Retrospective

After reading these blogs and watching these videos, discuss your opinion on the matter. Tell me the pros of giving your child an iPad, iPhone, etc. and the cons of having a technological pacifier, as it has been called. Talk about this matter from a teaching perspective first, but also tell me how you would feel about this as a parent. Would you worry about their social development? Do they need to always have something to keep them calm? Perhaps the technology is not the real problem, and maybe it is just the parenting. Maybe some children have parents who allow them to play games on their iPhones, but whom also have interactive time as a family...but there could also be parents who strictly give their children an iPad or game to keep them quiet. Tell me your stand.

My Response:

I believe children are the product of their environment. For some families, the parents work so much that they are hardly able to spend time with their children, and as a result, they buy them iPads to serve as a source of, both entertainment and, apology for the lack of their presence in the home. We can't always blame the parents because sometimes life does get so busy that it is hard to juggle everything, but we can blame the parents for not making the appropriate amount of time in their busy lives to hang out with their kids. Some children suffer serious emotional heartache and are unable to develop socially because they have so little interaction with human beings; our parents are the first friends we make as children and they are ultimately responsible for the people we turn into. What is "young" though? Two years old? Four? In my own experience, my niece and nephew have fabulous parents! They spend time with them every day, they take them to the park on weekends, and they have family time with my parents, my fiance' and I on a weekly basis. They are incredible parents. Interestingly enough, my niece, Ella-7, and my nephew, Lincoln-4, are more tech savvy than any of us are. They have beat my high score on Temple Run. Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja more times than I would like to admit, but they are well adapted to being social at any time of the day. They don't need an iPad or an iPhone to keep them entertained, in fact, the only time they get them is if we are in a nice restaurant and the food is taking a long time and they are just bored. Even that is rare, though. They allow specific times for them to use their iPhones because they don't want them to become a pacifier or a necessity, and I completely agree with their philosophy.

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. -Bill Gates

However, as a future educator, I love technology for small the moderation. I believe there is a time and a place for the use of any device that could draw their attention away from things around them. In my experience in a first grade classroom this semester, the classroom seems to run much more smoothly when all the students are able to work on something different at all times-someone is typing their spelling words on the SMARTboard, someone is writing sentences with thought provokers on an overhead projector, someone is taking AR tests on the computer, someone is learning sight words on an iPad. The kids in that classroom seemed to really love technology, but they loved their friends and teacher even more. I think the amount of technology you allow in your classroom has to be correlated with your teaching style. Are you a fun, upbeat teacher? Use any and all technological tools you can get your hands on. Are you more laid back and want the kids to work quietly? Try not to have too much technology in your classroom because it could become a source of less social interaction amongst the students. The students can only be expected to work with what you give them, and I don't mean the technology.

Baby on iPad

In response to the video by Dr. Kristy Goodwin, How Young is Too Young for Technology?, I agree with her belief of what developing brains need-1. serve and return interactions, the children need their parents to work with them and teach them appropriate behavior and social interaction. 2. physical movement, children need to be active to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to keep their energy at an easily maintained level. 3. language rich interactions, how else with they learn to speak correctly? I thought it was really interesting that she said children are unable to learn from media until around 2 years of age, television that is; interactive media is a totally different story. They may learn some things form their iPad or your iPhone, but they ultimately learn everything from YOU. The video about Bridger and his iPad, Baby Works iPad Perfectly!, was a perfect example of a healthy way for a child to use an iPad. The parents had taught Bridger, a 2-year old, how to draw, read, and learn words on his iPad, instead of just showing him where all the games were. While I realize he probably know where all of them are and probably plays them, too, it was really impressive to me that they chose to film him doing all of the educational things his iPad had to offer instead.

What Robin Raskin had to say in her blog entry, Raising Digital Kids-$69 LeapFrog Toy Takes on the $500 iPad, really spoke volumes to me. What is the difference between an iPad and LeapFrog? Not many parents are willing to go out and drop $500 dollars on an iPad for their 4-year old, especially because it "might make them less socially developed", but yet they are willing to spend a significantly less $69 dollars on the exact same thing? Strange. LeapFrog may be producing games and apps that are more educational and kid-friendly, you will still get the same anti-social product if you allow your child to use this device too often. Parents need to be more interactive with their children if they want positive results in the development of their children, not just kid-friendly toys. The video of the children learning about "old" technology cracked me up-Young Kids and "Old" Technology: A Parent's Retrospective. We should really teach our children about new and old technology more often. How else will they appreciate what they have now? They need to know where everything started before they learn about where everything is now. What ever happened to the Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, floppy disks and rolls of film? Why did they go out of style? And dial-up internet? That's one thing I'm glad to see gone! My middle school days were full of that awful sound of the internet starting up...and no, I do not miss it.

I feel like the last two things I was asked to review, Generation iPad:Could Device Hurt Toddler's Development? and The Principal of Change could be more related to teaching than to parenting. In the ABC News video, the anchor discussed the story of a family of 3 little girls who were completely consumed with their iPads. They challenged the family to remove them from the home for a month and see what the girls would do with their free time, and it had surprising results. Instead of moping about their iPads, they actually seemed to not be bothered by the lack of their presence-they found time to play together and the oldest daughter even took up sewing! Once the iPads were returned, the parents set strict limits on the amount of daily use they could have because they saw how much the results altered the interaction between their girls. The girls managed to calm themselves down in stressful situations instead of being calmed by an iPad or iPhone and that was the most positive thing in the parents' eyes. In teaching, if I were to just hand a student an iPad to keep them quiet if they were disrupting the class, what would that teach them? "If I act bad in my class, my teacher will let me play games to make me stop, so I'll just act up more."? Possibly. Maybe one day technology should be removed form the classroom for a quarter, just to see how children of this generation would react. George Couros read my mind in his blog entry! He brought up the fact that technology is NOT supposed to just teach children how to create things on a computer, but to teach them how to work together and how to learn things independently. Project Based Learning could be the best thing to ever happen to the education/technology world because it forces students to work in pairs or groups but it allows them to do so in a productive, less frustrating way. All in all, the education department has made some phenomenal changes in improving technology in the classroom, but maybe a step back would be a good learning experience for both teachers and students.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Post 12 - Assistive Technology

When it comes to learning, every child (or person, in general) learns differently. Some people are auditory learners, some people are kinesthetic learners, but then there are those special people with learning disabilities who often struggle with learning from everyday devices. For a student who has no problem learning, using a SMARTboard may not be an issue, but what if another student is blind? Another student may have no difficulty using their iPad to play a game with their sight words, but what if a student is deaf? There are specific tools that have been designed to help these special little guys out. I know there are usually classrooms set aside for special needs children, but even in a setting where every student is on a relatively equal playing field, everyone may still have a different need than the person next to them.

Assitive Technology
First up is the Abilipad, a tool used to help students with their text input. For a student who is blind, it could be really helpful to have an assistive tool like this that would allow them to use speech-to-text to type what they wanted to type. Some schools may not be fortunate enough to acquire several types of assistive tools, but this one is pretty readily available, especially since the price tag maxes out at $50.00. This could also be really helpful for someone who has suffered from a speech impairment, like a mild speech impediment, because sometimes their speech is not clear anough for our devices to understand. How could speech-to-text help a child who has a speech impediment? Well, this tool also has a top of the line word predictor that assists in translation. I came into contact with a student this semester during some of my field service whom this tool would have been perfect for! He had a very mild issue with his speech, but when he would speak to me, I could barely understand some of his words because his problem was only with a select few sounds. He wasn't considered a special education student because he didn't have any type of learning disability, but I believe this tool would have been helpful for him in the classroom because his teacher required a lot of speech-to-text activities on their classroom iPad.

Next up is Draft:Builder-a program that helps students prepare, organize and strategize a plan for writing assignments. This form of assistive technology would be exceptionally helpful for students who may have ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia because it is a way to help ease their mind by giving them suggestions to help them write efficiently. This semester I have also encountered a student who experiences trouble with his ability to read and organize his thoughts well enough to write properly, because he suffers from ADD. I believe Draft:Builder would have been very helpful to this child, how do I know this? I tutored this child in reading and I saw his struggles firsthand. It is always unfortunate when you meet children whom you know have disabilities, but learning disabilities are an entirely different world. You don't always see those problems coming and when you realize that they exist, it is absolutely heartbreaking until there is a solution. I believe it is important to remind these children that they are just like everyone else, they just need a little help discovering how they learn best; I want to include every child, no matter what their abilities or disabilities are, in the activities in my classroom. My heart is for helping children with mild-moderate learning disabilities in a "normal" classroom setting and I hope to be able to use tools like Draft:Builder to do so.

The final assistive technology resource I wanted to bring to light is PageFlip. This tool is exactly what it sounds like-a page flipper. Now, when I first saw this with the example of "setting it up in the kitchen", I immediately realized how ridiculous that sounds, and how often we take things for granted in America. There are starving children in Africa, so we buy page flippers for our cookbooks...crazy. Anyways, PageFlip is actually NOT intended to be an unnecessary first world resource, it is intended to help people with physical impairments who are unable to turn the pages in a book themselves. I watch a lot of Grey's Anatomy and when I found out about PageFlip, all I wanted to do was dive into my favorite television series and give this to all of the people who suffered brain damage that altered their physical abilities or the family who smashed into the ambulance with a premature baby in it and had serious physical damage. I think this is probably my favorite tool that I discovered because it is the most useful and thoughtful creation because it is designed to help people with serious injuries. I really enjoyed looking for assistive technologoies more than I thought I would because it reminded me how important it really is to keep the disabled students in mind when preparing lesson plans for my classroom.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Project 12B - SMARTboard Lesson Plan

For this project, my group used a lesson plan we created a few weeks ago that was all about Dr. Seuss and how we would incorporate the books into our classroom to meet different standards. We used a tic-tac-toe game from one of the links Dr. Strange allowed us to utilize, called SMART Exchange. Our lesson plan meets several of the Math Standards, found here. We used Geometry and adding to teach our students via the SMARTboard, and we thoroughly enjoyed creating this lesson plan. I apologize for the lack of clarity displayed in the video-we had some trouble getting our camera to not have a glare on the SMARTboard. After some editing, it is much clearer than what we started with, but what you cannot see, we make up for verbally. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Project 10 - Interview with Mrs. Lindsey

The teacher I chose to interview for my project was Mrs. JulieAnna Lindsey, a 7th grade English and Language Arts teacher at Grand Bay Middle School. The educator I chose as my inspriation for this interview was Marc Prensky because I watched several of his videos when he was my C4T a few months ago. In his video What is the role of the teacher in today's world?, he discusses the importance of incorporating creative projects into the classroom and how to enhance the creative ability of our students. I loved this video when I watched it the first time and I still do! In the beginning of the semester, I did some observation hours for another course with Mrs. Lindsey and I immediately knew I loved her teaching style. She is a great blend of fun, when it's appropriate, but serious when it comes to learning. I have known Mrs. Lindsey for a number of years through church and family friends, but she is also doing all of the decor for my upcoming wedding! This teacher holds a special place in my heart and I was so honored to interview her. I wish there hadn't been a time restraint on this project because I ended up with about ten minutes of footage, but I had to cut some questions out because of time. Also, I was NOT texting or anything during this interview-I had all the questions pulled up on my phone to serve as a reminder while I was talking.

C4K March

My C4K for this month were both students from other countries, which I thought was really cool. The first was Hine, a year 5 student from Mrs. She's class in New Zealand. In the entry I responded to, she had just had a class picnic and posted a video slideshow of pictures from the day. "Hello Hine! I am Catherine Stalvey, and EDM 310 student in the United States. Your picnic looked like a blast! I remember having picnics when I was younger, and I remember having a fall festival every year at my school that was a lot like your picnic. I saw in your video that some students were hula hooping-that was my favorite thing to do when I was in second grade...even though I wasn't all that great at it. I hope you are having a great year at school and that you are learning a lot! I will definitely be keeping up with your posts from here on out. New Zealand must be an amazing place to live! I have a friend moving there soon and I am very jealous of her. Have you ever visited the States? It's pretty nice over here, too. Have a great day!"

Next was Grace, a 7th grader, who posted about her experience with what seemed like our version of an International Festival. She said they called it Fia fia, and that all the students were divided into groups, where they learned a dance or some kind of presentation that they would show to their classmates. She was so excited because she was in a group with one of her friends. "Hi Grace! My name is Catherine and I am a student at a university in the United States. I have never heard of Fia fia before, but it sounds really interesting and fun! When I was younger, we used to have a day that we called "International Day" where we did the same thing-brought different foods, candy, treats. International Day was more like stuff from different countries, but it was the same idea. It sounds like you really enjoyed being in the Niuean group, and I bet you were crazy excited when you found out your friend was in it with you! I hope you enjoy all the days you have left in school this year! Good luck!"

Both of my students from the month of March struck me as energetic, fun-loving kids (seriously though, what kid isn't both of those qualities) who truly enjoyed posting things on their blogs. They seemed like they really took the time to decide what they were going to say before they just started typing, and I thought that was really admirable coming from such young students.

Summary of Edna Sackson - C4T #3

Edna Sackson
Edna Sackson of What Ed Said is studying to be a primary teacher and has a blog written so well it will leave you completely in awe. She writes with understanding, wit, and a little bit of sass, but she is sophisticated in her methods. I found myself getting lost on her blog because I was reading so many entries because two just wasn't enough.

The shifting roles of the Librarian and the IT Facilitator

In this entry, Edna talked about how creativity in the classroom is getting lost. She said that teachers are losing their ability to teach new material any other way than the norm, but it isn't as effective as it could be. My comment to her: "Amazing blog post! My name is Catherine Stalvey and I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's class. I believe creativity is the most important tool out there! I was always taught to think in different ways and to find an unusual perspective on different circumstances throughout my life. Your post hit the nail on the head! I love the analogy about ways to eat Oreos-haven't we all been there? Whether you're four years of age, or 44 years of age, you never tire of finding new ways to eat those life-changing cookies. Your writing is so easy to read and so relatable, and I honestly enjoyed reading through about 5 of your other entries. You have a gift! Keep it up!"

Is technology dangerous?

This blog entry was about an inservice Edna attended recently where the lecturers were referring to technology too broadly for her liking. She said that it appeared as though her mentors, in a sense, were people who were terrified of change, people who didn't like what they though technology was because they didn't understand it, people who were too stubborn about the changing education system. Here is my response: "I love love love this post! This is Catherine again, from the University of South Alabama. You really have a knack for blogging, and your thoughts hit the nail on the head every time. It’s so true that so many educators are terrified of technology, but as you stated, it’s almost never because of what the internet is capable of, or any logical reason at all, it is because they have no idea what they’re doing. It’s sad, really. So many people are missing the opportunity to have SMARTboards in their classroom or tablets for their students to help them learn at their own pace…all because of a stubborn refusal to learn something new. Your sassy ending was the perfect touch! ‘If you don’t understand something…don’t teach it to pre-service teachers. Otherwise they’ll blog about you.’ Amazing, simply amazing!"

Blog Post 11 - Teaching & Learning

As future educators, it is important for us to keep up with the ever-changing methods of teaching and for us to never stop finding new ways to teach material. Whether it means assigning "odd" projects or even collaborating with other teachers, like some of the teachers in this week's videos did, we should never give up on trying new things. In every day life, it is easy to become jaded and feel like there is no reason to do something any differently than you have done it for the past five years of your life...until you have to. Will our students really keep learning if we never evolve with the new curriculum?
In my interview movie for this week, the teacher I spoke with-JulieAnna Lindsey-talked about how she is having to adjust her teaching because her school is incorporating more of the Common Core Standards. She has been a teacher for five years, but she said she feels like a first year teacher this year because she's going through a testing phase with her students and having to figure out what works all over again. Does this mean the ACCRS is helping or hurting teachers in our school systems? For Mrs. Lindsey, this new phase of learning while she teaches is a nice way to mix up the monotony of teaching middle school. Maybe the board that made the decision to change the standards this year should take into consideration that not every teacher can adjust as quickly as she did...or maybe this will make struggling teachers rethink their teaching methods that may have gotten stale. Perhaps it's a great thing!
I really enjoyed watching these videos because it opened up my eyes to an entirely new world of teaching styles. For instance, the teachers in Canada who combined their English and History classes because they felt their students could learn better this way completely blew my mind. Why hasn't everyone done this?! These kids were learning so much more because time was no longer an issue and they were able to have quality work because they had multiple teachers with them at all times. There is nothing that excites me more than thinking about my future as an educator and I know I will always try to stay creative with my teaching and always keep my students on their toes. Below is my group's slideshow presentation of what we learned from the blog assignment this week. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog Post 10 - REVolutionary Teaching

Sir Ken Robinson quote

In Sir Ken Robinson's video, Bring on the Learning Revolution, he talks about how we, as educators, need to stop teaching in such a way that generalizes students' futures. He says that students need to be taught in a way that will appeal to their creative side and whatever sparks their interest. We need to determine what their niche is at an early age to avoid training them their entire lives to be someone that they are not. When I graduated from high school, I was going to start massage therapy school because that was the talent I had discovered at an early age, but after way too many arguments with random friends and ex-significant other's moms, I decided I would take the "normal" path and go to nursing school. I had always been a caring person and I loved seeing people recover from tragedy, so I figured it was where I belonged. It didn't take long for me to realize that blood makes me queezy, bodily functions disgust me to no end, and vomit will make me vomit in 10 seconds flat. What could I do? I had already been in college for two years and I was already in nearly $20k worth of student loan debt. I spent the summer searching for answers and taking everything around me as a "sign" as to where my future was going. I began taking education classes and I immediately knew that teaching was my calling in life-my natural ability to care was meant for children, and my want to see people "recover" was really a want to see small people succeed. Sometimes I wonder where I would be had I stuck with massage therapy, because I still really love it as a professional trait and/or hobby...but I know I'm right where I should be. Our students should never feel like they aren't good enough for something or like they can't do what they love simply because the field may not be in the best shape or because others have talked them down so much that they don't have a clue what to do. We're their teachers, the people who teach them how to do life. The people who teach them how to figure out what they love. And the people who show them where to go once they find their niche. We are responsible for not only their grades, but their futures, and we need to get and stay in that mindset as long as we are educators. These kids are a whole new generation, and I don't know about you, but I would love nothing more than to see them doing what they love every single day, rather than spending their days doing a job they hate and just waiting for the weekend. Let's teach them to love life and how to enhance the abilities given to them. Let's be REVolutionary educators!

Project 15 - PBL Independent Plan

The Human Body! As a former nursing major, I found this topic to be particularly interesting, so I would love to teach a future third grade class all about how their little bodies work! Enjoy:

The Human Body

Project 12A - SMARTboard Tools

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post 9 - What can we learn from Mrs. Cassidy?

"Education is evolving due to the impact of the Internet. We cannot teach our students in the same manner in which we were taught. Change is necessary to engage students not in the curriculum we are responsible for teaching, but in school. Period."
-April Chamberlain

In Mrs. Cassidy's Skype videos she discussed the importance of having updated technology in the classroom, because it isn't going anywhere; it will only advance from here. I believe it is important to find ways to obtain the technology we need in classrooms, if it isn't already available to us. We have to find new resources that will make learning more enjoyable for future generations. When I was in the first grade, like Mrs. Cassidy's students, we learned everything by charts and lessons that required us to hand-write things; whereas today, children are learning by means of personal computers, Smart Boards, and iPads. One of the most fascinating lessons I have witnessed so far was in my field experience from this semester when I observed a first grade class at Griggs Elementary School. The students were in the library learning about how books are organized on the shelves, and the kids were completely baffled by the process...until the librarian made the lesson interactive. The children were able to drag and drop things all over the screen to place the books in the correct order and they used the markers to write the letters to check themselves. This may seem like a lesson that isn't that big of a deal, and maybe it isn't, but learning how the Dewey Decimal System isn't exactly the easiest thing to grasp when you're six years old. I would love to incorporate interactive lessons like this into my classroom, and I hope that whatever school I am teaching in has been blessed with enough iPads for each child so that I can do lessons with the class as a whole, while they work independently on their own iPads.

In Little Kids...Big Potential, Mrs. Cassidy's video about how she runs her classroom, I learned how important it is to teach children to use technology for more than just research or playing games. The students in her class have blogs that they post images and classroom lessons on regularly. Her videos were truly inspiring to me as a future educator! I hope my classroom will be as enjoyable to be in as hers obviously is.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blog Post 8 - Resources for 21st Century Learning

Throughout the semester, I have had a love/hate relationship with the idea of technology taking over the classroom...why? Well, I was raised by the philosophy to "think for yourself" and taught to learn independently without ever having to rely on a person or a machine. However, I have changed my perspective completely because of this course. I believe the ability to be comfortable in social settings is very important, but I now see that the ability to use smart devices or other forms of technology is equally as important. The sites I found useful for my classroom are sites that allow you to interact with others around the world who are seeking the same information you are-sites that allow you to correspond with classmates, teachers, or future educators who want to share and receive information with other people.
Using Tokbox, you can chat with up to 20 people online. The majority of people who use this site use it as a platform for products that they are endorsing, but there are several teachers who have stated online that they use this site to enhance their student's ability to hold mature conversations. I believe this site would be extremely helpful because it would be something I wouldn't necessarily have to monitor at all times. When you set up an account, it is much like having a Facebook-you choose who you want to talk to and you choose to allow certain people to be on your "list" or not. A lot of people have issues with sites that resemble chat rooms because of the uproars those have caused in the past, but I would only use Tokbox in a group setting. I would set aside days and times during the week to chat with people who could help with lessons we may be learning at the time. I believe this site could be very helpful in a classroom because it allows you to have several people in one conversation. More people = more opinions.

Hey, look! Everybody knows about Instagram! But, if you don't, it's a site/app that allows you to take photos and share them with the people who "follow" you. Instagram has been used for so many different things since it became popular, such as: selling items, promoting businesses, bragging about life happenings, announcing engagements, and now people are even creating their own hashtags for their weddings. Hashtag? What's a hashtag? This is a hashtag: #...or a number sign. With Instagram, you can hashtag things about the photos you upload which instantly creates links to other photos all over Instagram with the same hashtag in them. Let's say I upload a photo of a bulletin board that I did that I was so proud of that was all about how to use the iPad int he classroom, I would hashtag #bulletinboard #classroom #ipad #howto #teacher. All of these hashtags would take me to different instances on the app where people have done the same thing. This app could help teach students to use the internet to learn how others view things. I would give assignments where the students had to find objects in the classroom, take photos of them and upload them, hashtag, find other people's photos with the same hashtag, and report back what the photos were of-almost like a scavenger hunt.

My final resource for learning in the classroom is called Edmodo-a site that allows you to connect with strictly teachers and other students around the world. Edmodo is similar to Tokbox because it is chat-based, but completely different because Edmodo is monitored for content that is age appropriate for children. The site only allows people involved in the school system to have accounts on the site, which leaves little room for strangers or "unsafe" people to show up on the other end of the chat. The downfall is that, in comparison to Tokbox, you can only chat with one person at a time, whereas with Tokbox you can chat with up to 20 people at once. Ridiculous, I know. I would probably use this site if I were teaching about other countries or different races, because I would be able to set up a chat with someone from another part of the world (who is a teacher, as well) for my class to talk with. Edmodo makes me a little more comforatble that Tokbox does, but I believe they are both extremely helpful when teaching about technology, or with technology, in the classroom. This would also be fun to use in multiple classrooms at once-maybe have a teacher set up their webcam in their class, and my camera in mine, and have the classes learn from one another as the material is being taught simultaneously.

Summary of Wesley Fryer - C4T #2

My C4T #2 was Dr. Wesley Fryer, an educator and researcher. His blog is full of posts summarizing conferences he has attended or held where the discussion topic is usually about technology in the classroom and/or how to help students reach their full potential when using their imaginations. I honestly enjoyed reading his entries and viewing his slideshow presentations because I found them to be full of resources and useful information that I could use in my own classroom in the future. Here are the comments I left him:

Mr. Fryer, Hello! My name is Catherine Stalvey and I am an elementary education major at the University of South Alabama. When I started this semester, I was anti technology in the classroom because I didn't like the possibility that it could decrease a child's ability to lead a normal social life. However, my view points have vastly changed, because I now realize that technology is actually enhancing the way our children are able to learn. I'm a human being and my teaching methods will always be flawed, but technology is hardly ever inadequate. My only concern is, what will we do if something crashes in the classroom? I observed in a middle school a few weeks ago and out of nowhere, the computer/Smart Board crashed in the middle of a lesson. My teacher had to improvise (luckily she's incredible at her job), but it made me wonder if you were a first year teacher, would it make teaching even more difficult if your resources were to stop working temporarily? I really enjoyed the slide show you put together about improving writing skills with an iPad, and I thought your "Saturday morning cartoons" joke was hysterical. I would love to be able to use iPads in my classroom one day, and I will definitely look into the apps you suggested throughout this presentation. If you would like to check out my blog, feel free - And I would so love a Tweet from you (I just started following you)! @cd_stalvey Thanks for your time!

Dr. Fryer, This is Catherine Stalvey again, the student from EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I enjoyed watching your slideshow about the notes you took at this conference, and I really appreciated how many different places you found proof of your theory about visual note taking. I took a course last semester where my teacher required us to create a visual artifact journal where we were given prompts to write and draw about. We were supposed to draw the first picture that came to mind, then write words or phrases about that picture, then continue to draw pictures and write cues until we ran out of room on the paper. When I saw your slides on visual note taking, this is exactly what I thought of! I have always been a visual note taker...although I thought I was just notorious for doodling on my notes. All of my goofy little catch phrases, weird songs, and silly pictures in my notes have always been the things that I remember the best. Your concept of sticky learning was very insightful to me-I have a niece and nephew whom I love to teach new things to and learn new things with. When I saw your slides, I immediately thought of all the fun, interesting things I could help them learn! For instance, my fiance' and I are planning to build kites and take them to the beach to fly them this weekend. We are building the kites form scratch with my niece and nephew, and letting the kids paint and decorate them however they please. To me, sticky learning is learning in a way that is hands-on and memorable, just like kite building. Thank you so much for revealing your notes and giving some great advice for future educators! I will definitely be keeping up with your posts in the future.

If you would like to check out his blog yourself,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Project 14 - PBL Independent Plan

For my independent learning plan, I wanted to teach my students about music and how it is both fun and educational. This lesson plan is a three week long project that involves assessments, online blogging, in-class journal entries, a poster project, a song creation, and the incorporation of musicians from the community. I asked my 7-year old, first grade niece what she thought about these plans and if she thought she would like to learn about all of these things, and she said "Of course, Catherine!". She's a musical little thing and she loves to have fun, but she is great at being brutally honest. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed imagining and creating this project! Enjoy:

Making Music

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog Post 7 - Randy Pausch: The Legend

In Randy Pausch's final lecture, Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, he discusses the importance of not letting anything stop you from achieving your dreams and of fighting for your dreams. This brave man battled with pancreatic cancer, but he never let that stop him from being able to touch people's lives with his powerful words and life-changing lectures. The most important thing, in my opinion, that he discussed in this lecture was that even when you hit a brick wall, do not let that stop you. Brick walls are placed into our lives to strengthen our will-power and to test our skills; they are there to help us. An example of a brick wall would be a teacher who has been teaching for ten years and has yet to come across a challenge she cannot not face, until she meets Jimmy. Jimmy is a stubborn student who refuses to do anything that is asked of him, even when the teacher tries giving him rewards for good behavior, he still does not obey. Now, the teacher could very easily give up and call Jimmy "hopeless" or "not worth the headache", but that wouldn't be pushing through a brick wall, would it? Instead, she works with Jimmy outside of school hours to help improve his performance and abilities...pushing through her brick wall.
Randy Pausch Brick Wall Quote

The "head fake" is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives, probably when we were given an assignment that we deemed pointless. The head fake is a great example of how to teach students about collaborative projects, teamwork, and project-based learning. Let's say a teacher gives an assignment where she tells her students to choose a well-known president and write a three page essay about every fact they can find about the president they choose. If this is a group of tenth grade students, how much could they really learn from 20 or so papers about George Washington? Probably not a lot...unless this was a group assignment where the students had to learn without using any technology as resources. They had to learn from one another and learn together. A "head fake" is when you trick your students into thinking that they are learning one thing, when they are actually learning something entirely different.

The final thing I appreciated hearing from Randy Pausch is that it is so important for us to stop trying to change thing about our futures or our students. We are all learners and we are all constantly learning. We are all dreamers in some way or another, and we should always encourage our students to dream BIG and dream like crazy. We have to always remind our children that no matter they may do in life, right or wrong, they are destined for greatness and they are more awesome than they are aware of! Randy Pausch said that we must remember that we are never in control of the things we may face in life, and that we have to make the best of the situations we are in at any stage in life. I thought this was really impressive coming from a man who was diagnosed with a disease that is, in most cases, fatal. It is so cool to me that he was able to overcome his circumstances enough to influence people in a positive and legendary. Long live the legend.
Randy Pausch Dream Quote

C4K February

In the month of February, I was given the opportunity to communicate with a student from Nebraska and a student from Canada. Both of the children I was assigned were in elementary school, but had written blog entries that were very impressive for their ages.

The first student I had was Cooper C. from Mrs. Geldes class in Nebraska. Cooper had created a PowerPoint presentation about how to add fractions, this was my comment: "My name is Catherine Stalvey and I am studying to be an elementary school teacher at the University of South Alabama. I am 20 years old and I am so excited to finish school in two years! I have never been to Nebraska before, but I am sure that it is a lovely state! I am very impressed with your math skills, because fractions have always been difficult for me. I just took a math class at my school where I had to learn about fractions all over again, and I couldn't remember anything. Please always remember how to do these things, especially if you want to be a teacher one day, because it will help you out a lot to already know what you're doing. I also really like the way you set up this post! The pictures are the perfect size for someone to read without any difficulty, and you made your directions simple enough for anyone to learn. One of the things I want to do when I am a teacher is to make sure that my students enjoy learning, and that they will remember how much they loved being in my class. I hope you are doing great in school and I hope you always love to learn! If you would like to respond to me, your teacher is free to email me at, or she can tweet me on Twitter @cd_stalvey. I began following her on Twitter this morning!" I actually tweeted his teacher that same day and had her tweet me back about how excited she was to read my comment.

My third C4K was the same child, Cooper C. from Nebraska. This time, he posted about his birthsone and what he thought about it and how cool it was to discover what your birthstone is. Here is my comment"Hi Cooper! Catherine here, again. I hope you and all your friends have been safe in this crazy cold weather. I think it is so cool that your birthstone is Opal, because I love that color! I have always wanted a piece of jewelry with that color stone in it. My birthstone is Topaz-my birthday is November 11. I was born on Veteran’s Day and my mom’s birthday is actually 3 days after mine, so when I was born she got to bring me home on her birthday. Cool, huh? Is your birthday on a holiday? If you could pick any other birthstone to have, what would it be? Mine would actually be Opal! Hope to hear from you soon!"

My seond C4K student was Kaija from Canada. This little girl had some spunk! All of her posts were full of energy and excitement. The post I commented on was about why tigers and lions are her favorite animals...although I wish I had commented on one of her many posts about how much she loves Minecraft. Here is my comment"Hi Kaija! My name is Catherine Stalvey and I am in my third year of college at the University of South Alabama, in southern Alabama, here in the United States. I think it is so cool that you live in Canada! It must be really cold there-I have never experienced really cold weather, because it usually does not get very chilly this far south. Have you ever been in the United States? I think that tigers and lions are so cute, too! I have a pet golden retriever named Murphy and sometimes his face looks a little bit like a lion, so his nickname has become "the friendly lion". Tigers are awesome, as well! Have you ever seen a white tiger? Those are crazy beautiful! In your sentence that says "It would be cool too Rome in the woods...", I believe that is so true! This looks like a silly thing that autocorrect did on an iPad, but "Rome" is a city in Italy and the correct spelling for what you were saying would be "roam", and "too" should be "to". You writing skills are so incredible for someone your age, and you seem so excited about learning! I mess up with my writing a lot, because sometimes I just forget how to spell stuff. It happens to everyone! Good luck with the rest of this year in school! Tell your teacher and your friends in class that I said "hello!"

I really enjoyed all of the posts I read by these two students, and I actually plan to keep up with their posts in the future as well! I think it so fun to see how other educators around the world are influencing the lives of children in such a positive way via technology.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog Post 6 - How A PLN Will Change Your Life

Okay...maybe it won't actually change your life, but it will definitely make surfing the internet a lot more convenient! The PLN (Personal Learning Network) system I chose was Symbaloo, and yes, when I first created my account, I was dreading whatever work was awaiting me. However, I quickly became amazed that I was never aware of this website until now. I actually chose to make my Symbaloo my home web address because I like the setup so much.

A PLN is something that every educator should be aware of, as well as something that every student should make use of. I have been in college for three years now, and I really wish someone had told me about PLN's sooner because I think mine will really help to keep my web searches, social networking, homework, and entertainment options organized in a neat way. A PLN is something that should be used to help you, not annoy you...and why would it? These things are great! PLN's are a tool used to access multiple different accounts and/or sites at one time, from one central location. Symbaloo makes use of the "app" look and has all of your tiles draggable, which is really nice if you're already used to using an iPhone or other Mac product. Instead of a Google image search result of Symbaloo, I actually screenshot my personal Symbaloo, see below:

My Personal Symbaloo
When I become an educator, I will be absolutely positive that I teach my students about PLN's because I know that they will be forever grateful that I taught them to use Symbaloo, as an example, as early as I did. For me, personally, Symbaloo is really convenient when you're doing homework or planning a wedding...both of which I am currently doing. I am in the process of adding several wedding website tiles to my Symbaloo in order for me to keep up with all of my important dates, people whom I've booked to do a job at my wedding, and of course, my personal wedding website. This PLN thing will also be great for my insane amounts of social networking, checking my email, and online shopping (hello, Forever 21!).

P.S. The Symbaloo link at the beginning of my blog is my personal Symbaloo, so feel free to follow me there!

Welcome to My Personal PLE
Developing a PLN in EDM 310
Building Your PLN-A Primer For Anyone

Project 8 - Rainbow Fish Book Trailer

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog Post 5 - Conversations with Anthony Capps

What I gathered from these videos was that the general consensus for learning is to teach by example, not just by following a strict curriculum. Teaching children in a classroom is the same as teaching a child how to ride a bike-they have to try it themselves or they will never get the hang of it. You could learn every little detail about how a bike is made, watch YouTube videos on how to ride a bike, or even have conversations with avid bike riders, but you will never figure it out until you try it.

“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” -Malcolm Gladwell

In Dr. Strange's conversations with Anthony Capps, I thought his comment about teaching children about Project Based Learning to learn through their experiences instead of focusing on their (possible) shortcomings was so insightful. I believe it is too easy, as teachers, to draw too much attention to what a student may need to work on for the sake of their grades, instead of remembering that the most important part of teaching is to ensure that your students are becoming independent learners. Don't get me wrong, the content is important...but only to an extent. A student could write an entire paper about the Civil War and have crazy good material and a ton of reliable sources, but if they can take nothing away from this assignment, what good has it done? Will he/she really know anything more about the Civil War than they knew before?

The use of icurio in the classroom reminds me a lot of Dropbox, only with an enhanced search engine feature. There is nothing more interesting than watching a child learn how to use a new form of technology right before your eyes! Most people were terrified of the internet when it was first being used, and Google, what the heck is that about? But, now people are using Google's search engine without thinking twice. No one doubts Google. No one doubt the accuracy of the sources we find on the internet. I believe, along with Anthony Capps, that this is one of the breakthroughs that the education world needed. Teachers need a way to find materials, to show their students how to learn by searching on their own, and a place to save their findings. I think this would be an awesome tool to make use of in the classroom.

In Strange Tips for Teachers, Anthony Capps said that one of the most important thing to remember is to always be a learner! If you can take nothing away from your lesson, yourself, then what good did your teaching methods do for your students? How will your teaching ever impact lives if you allow yourself to stop being a learner as well? I know I love to watch children learn, but I also love to learn new things for myself. Tonight, for example, I learned a crash course on iMovie from my soon-to-be brother-in-law, becaus I used his Mac to do my video assignment. This brings me to my next point about the video Use Tech, Don't Teach It where Mr. Capps discusses the importance of not trying to teach our kids how to use technology, but instead, teaching them BY using technology. I have had a YouTube account for years )mostly because it is linked to my Google account), but I have never uploaded anything to it before-had I not been given an assignment where I was forced to use it, I probably would have never learned how to. The most fun thing I have seen used in a classroom is child interactions with a Smart Board without the constant supervision of a teacher. I am doing field service hours right now and the first grade classroom I am in has a "center" that is typing their spelling word on the Smart Board by using the touch screen on the board. I was so amazed to watch six-year olds use the board way better than I could have! Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for sometimes.

All in all, I learned that teaching is important, but learning is even more important, and that if we allow our children to be exposed to all that the internet and technology world have to offer, they will most likely be better off because of it. Our students want interaction and they want to learn, but they want to feel like what they are doing at school will be useful to them later in their lives and careers. The following picture shows a couple students using the Smart Board in their classroom on their own.

Students Using Smart Board

Project 7 - My Sentence & My Passion

So...I did take this assignment very seriously, but I had to have fun with it because I'm too silly to not enjoy things like this! I hope you enjoy this taste of my goofy personality on camera.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blog Post 4 - How to Ask Questions in the Classroom

How do we know what questions are the right questions to ask? How do we know that our questions will benefit our students? What types of questions will help with our teaching methodology? As a teacher, it is so important to be continuously learning; the day that we stop learning is the day that our teaching careers become jeopardized. It seems, today, that so many teachers are gradually forgetting that their students are not the only ones in the classroom, but that they are in an environment of learning, as well. I believe that asking questions will, not only provide new ways of thinking for our students but, allow us to continue to learn from our students, as well.

While reading Asking Questions to Improve Learning, I learned that it is important to not ask questions that can be misleading to a younger mind. Asking a question that can help sculpt their mind should, surprisingly, be open-ended because it forces students to think critically. When a question is left without much explanation from the teacher, the student is able to assess what they know and formulate a legitimate response, or it can cause them to realize that they really need to learn a topic more in-depth. As I previously stated in my summary of Marc Prensky's vlogs, it is equally as important to remind children that it is okay to not answer every question correctly; we need to teach them that thinking deeper and more uniquely is the important task. Besides, we all know that it is adorable and entertaining to see what kind of responses you can get from a small child. I once asked my seven-year old niece (today is her birthday, Happy Birthday Ella Bug!) if she knew much about about the atmosphere or the solar system because she asked me how we were able to tell that it was cold enough for her to have to wear a jacket. I asked her, "What do you think the solar system is?" To which she responded, "Well, I know there are planets. Lots of them. And I know that the sun is really, really hot, but I'm confused about something. How has the sun not burned up the whole Earth?" Now, I'm no science major, but I said the first thing I could come up with, "Well, Ella, there's this thing called the atmosphere that protects us from all the harmful stuff in outer space. AND the sun is actually reeeeally far away from us right now." Back to Ella, "Okay, but what about this whole spinning thing? We're spinning right now?! I don't feel a thing!" Me- "Yes! We are spinning, but we're doing it so slowly that we can't feel it." Ella-"How come we don't spin around and hit other planets and run into the sun? Why hasn't the Earth like blown up or something by now? This makes no sense. I just wanted to know why it's cold outside." Me-"I know it makes no sense. I have no real reason for anything. I just know it's cold and you're going to wear a coat. Got it?" Ella-"Got it, boss."

That story is a perfect example of why I have to be a teacher! I have to be asked difficult questions, give my best answers, and ask silly questions back to my students. I have to watch them learn because it makes my heart happy to see their little faces light up with joy! Asking questions is so important for teachers to do because it benefits the students' ability to think long-term; however, it is also important to always remember that our students will probably ask us the most important questions ever. Young minds are eager to learn, and while their thoughts may seem goofy at times, they are genuine and we need to appreciate that. Always be grateful that you get to learn WITH your students!

Teachers Who Love Teaching Owl

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Project 3 - Project Based Learning & ACCRS

Summary of Marc Prensky - C4T #1

How Can We Encourage Quality Storytelling in Our Children?

In Marc Prensky's video about quality storytelling, he talks about the importance of enhancing the imaginations of our children. His philosophies for teaching have taken my creative mind to an entirely new level and I can't wait to put some of my ideas in action. I, too, believe it is so important to inspire children to be happy and silly and maybe a little weird sometimes because those are the traits that make them who they are! As teachers, it is our job, early on, to teach children that being different is perfectly okay and to be a constant reminder that they are capable of anything they put their minds to. Some children may not be raised in the happiest settings, and teachers may be the only bright faces they see on a regular basis. We have to always remember to treat them with the respect we would want someone to treat our children with. Creativity seems to be something that is being taken out of the classroom, unless the "creativity" is via technology. I remember an assignment I had in high school-I was asked to create a child's book on a specific topic in a history class, and I loved every minute of it. Every child needs an opportunity to do something that uses the right side of their brain and requires unique skills.

How Do We Teach Children to be Brave to be Wrong and Ask Questions?

In this video, Marc Prensky discusses the importance of answering questions-not just answering correctly, but just answering. He says that they "need to be afraid to not fail a little bit", and that games are one of the best ways to make children more comfortable with quick thinking and even quicker responses. His idea about using different things in the classroom to help make children more comfortable is innovative and incredibly helpful, in my opinion. He also suggests the use of cameras in the classroom to cut down the shyness factor. There is nothing wrong with being shy or nervous or even wrong! The problem lies within the fear of being wrong and we, as future educators, need to teach our children that it is okay to be a little wrong sometimes because we are all constantly learning. I think it would be helpful, too, to have days where the children can tell YOU about new things and have them be the teacher for a minute. It would help them to feel important and smart, and be a reminder that it's okay to admit you don't know something, but you should never be afraid to try to learn more about it.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some new, fun idea to use in the classroom from Marc Prensky. I also loved getting a little bit of insight about his opinion of creativity in students. I have included a fun picture I found of Marc Prensky that I found online!

Marc Prensky with iPad Face

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blog Post 3 - Peer Editing

"Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ''How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?'' and avoid ''How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?'"
-James Thurber

Everyone has peer edited at some point, whether it be purposeful because it was an assignment or if you were simply browsing the internet and saw something that could use some work. It's time to face facts- we are critical beings. There is nothing more offensive than having a 'Picky Patty' for a friend...oh wait, there is and her name is 'Mean Margaret'. I believe that when editing someone else's work, it is important to remember the golden rule, because if you wouldn't want someone to be harsh to you, you should have the same amount of dignity not to do it to them. Staying positive is the number one rule for effectively editing your peer's work, because no one wants to hear anything you have to say if they feel like all you do is tear them down.

In my opinion, these rules should always be written in order:

1. Compliments:When complimenting someone, you should never be overly nice. Coming from someone who constantly feels bad for being the least bit offensive to others, I know it is difficult to keep from repeatedly apologizing for having to do an assignment.

2. Suggestions:From the Peer Editing video, there are five things to remember to look for-word choice, details, organization, sentence structure and topic. Did your peer use a wide range of words? Did they use detailed explanations? Was their writing organized? Was the sentence structure easy to follow? Did they stay on topic?

3. Corrections: This is the most annoying step for both parties. The person editing has to point out every grammatical error they can find and the writer has to go back and fix every bit of it. Man, I don't miss my paper writing days.

I know I hate to let most people read anything I have written for fear of looking a) silly, or b) like I'm trying too hard. There is nothing more embarrassing than having someone pick apart everything you do, then throwing your opinion back in your face like it is garbage. I believe in constructive criticism, but in the setting of a blog, I believe it is most important to remember that my blog is mine and your blog is yours. I will never 100% agree with everything that everyone says and I will never expect those around me to agree with everything I say, but respect for other's should be kept in mind. It can be difficult to not be a 'Whatever William' when you're trying to brush things off your shoulder, but in the end, what is getting offended going to do? Nothing for me and nothing for you. Words are words and freedom of speech isn't going anywhere.

Also, without peer reviews, where would our world of literature be?! There would be books all over the world that are poorly written all because someone didn't want to offend their friend or the author was scared of getting offended. Literature in paper form is already fading away, and we all know computers can fix most errors that may appear. Thank the good Lord for computers (sometimes).

Basically, peer editing is super important, but it is only useful if everyone involved can do so with a Sweet Susie attitude!

Calvin Comic

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Post 2 - "Teaching" in the 21st Century

Mr. Dancealot

The Mr. Dancealot video was, in my opinion, created to prove the point that so many teachers are teaching from behind podiums and in a boring manner and it isn't appealing to students. The way Mr. Dancealot taught was by explaining dance moves to his students, but by never effectively teaching them these dance moves. In his mind, he was teaching them everything they would need to know to pass their final exam, but to the students, they were being forced to sit through lecture after lecture where they weren't learning anything. In the end, he told them to prepare for a final exam that would be open book and open notes...but failed to mention that they would need to show off their newly acquired dance moves. I am worried that when I go out into the field to teach, I will be faced with these types of issues. In our school system now, teachers are being told they need to do more interactive activities by means of technology and I agree, but I think we need to go back to our roots and teach the old fashioned, hands-on, personal way. Our students will appreciate the interaction so much more and they will retain the material easier if they have a fun memory or a specific example that sticks out in their mind.

Teaching in the 21st Century

In this video, Kevin Roberts discusses the ways that social media, the internet and the use of smart devices are transforming our children into beings that have no need for teaching from a human being. He talks about how soon enough teaching will be obsolete, the fact that students are able to get whatever they need whenever they need it in a very short amount of time, and that with these devices, the possibilities are limitless. I agree with the fact that teaching is slowly becoming a thing of the past because children are so developed intellectually at such a young age now, that they can access most things on their own. I have a 4 year-old nephew who has been able to unlock my brother's phone, find the games he likes, and make higher scores than all of the adults in our family, for about two years now. How on earth did he learn how to do all of that? And how does he remember it without flaws in the way he operates the device? I LOVE how prominent technology is in schools now, but I think in some cases, it has gone a little overboard. I am worried about being an educator in this environment because it gives me that worry in the back of my mind that my teaching may never be as flawless or effective as a computer would be. I really enjoyed the way this video was made, as well; the highlights of specific concepts was really helpful in getting Roberts' point across.

The Networked Student

The Networked Student was made to show that social networking can be a really easy and resourceful way for students to learn. Before this course, I was never asked to create a Twitter, or to have a YouTube account, or to download Picasa (used for photo editing), but I am pretty interested to see if these means of media will be used in the same ways discussed in the video. I never thought of listening to podcasts on an iPod or looking up blogs about interests for a course before now, but I can honestly say, I can see how those things would be helpful. This generation depends so much on social media for entertainment and knowledge that, if we are asked to learn without it, we almost have no clue what to do. I believe that learning by using the tools at your disposal on a daily basis is a really ingenius idea.

Harness Your Students Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis is a genius! I, personally, am not a huge fan of teaching strictly by means of technology, simply because I always do better with face-to-face interaction, BUT I loved this video! I thought it was incredible how she was able to give her students the opportunity to collaborate with other people around the world and how she used an avatar-based program to teach them something new on the internet. Her statement about brainstorming will stick with me forever, because she said that, basically, students have got to learn to think for themselves. That sounds silly when we're talking about them having anything they want at their fingertips, but she meant that they need to learn that they do always have the resources to know whatever they need to know. Google was created to help with everything and so many times, students (myself included) get lazy and don't care about learning, but they forget that all they have to do is pick up their smart phone or get on their iPad and they can learn something new in 5 minutes. This video was eye-opening for me because I have been getting pretty fed up with how much technology is taking over the education world, but this...this was awesome.

Flipping the Classroom

Flipping? What the flip is that? Flipping is when students are previously exposed to the information they are being taught in class. For example, if a student was going to learn about the Civil War in class on a Tuesday, a video would be assigned either the weekend before or the Monday night before class and the student would be expected to watch the video and remember the key elements of it. Flipping can be very effective and helpful in a classroom because it allows the teacher to be able to spend more time reviewing concepts to make sure the students KNOW the material, instead of spending half the class time teaching new concepts. I would love to do this in my classroom because it would make the environment so much more fun for my students, because we could play games and have fun discussions about what their video taught them. This concept would also be great for teaching students how useful the internet can be for learning things that will stick with them for a long time. If given the opportunity, I will most definitely be flipping in my classroom!

students at computers