Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Post #2

Did You Know 3.0,
I was amazed by the information that was being presented on the screen as I watched Did You Know 3.0. I watched both Dr. Strange's version and the original and realize that I have to get out of my small town bubble and get on board the fast moving technology train.
Several things caught my attention in the videos but the one that I feel is very important to educators is the fact that the jobs that were in high demand in 2010, did not exist in 2004. Wow, how do you prepare a student for what they want to do when they graduate if it doesn't even exist yet? Technology, technology, technology. It's like "location, location, location" in the real estate market. Being engaged in the techno world is the place to be and we as educators will need to equip our students with the tools to not only survive but to become the leaders, the creators, and the dreamers in this rapidly advancing technological world.
However, there is something I would like to add to things we must teach our children about technology. Don't become a junky! There must be a balance in life. Spend time outdoors, spend time with family, have conversations where you make eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking, volunteer some time helping others, and make sure you have real friends not just "Facebook friends."

Mr. Winkle Wakes
For such a short little film, Mr. Winkle Wakes sure makes a big point. It really is amazing to think of the technological advances made over the last 100 years in business and science related fields but what about education?
Within the past 10 years, I have seen the Smartboard become installed at our local school. Over the past 2 years, this school has been adding ipads to every classroom. This past Fall, the local high school introduced and assigned Macbooks to all students. The education system is starting to implement changes but at a very slow pace. I would have to say that our education system has shared the same opinion as Mr. Winkle for a long time but that appears to be changing. I think if Mr. Winkle visited a local school today, he would no longer find dust covering one of those "strange machines in the back of the room."

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson is quite an entertaining speaker. Every point he makes is so true. As I was entering college and deciding on a major, I can remember my parents telling me that music was fine but I could do that later. I needed to choose something where I could make money and have a long term career. It was probably good advice for me, considering I'm not that talented, but music is still something I love. It is a shame to think that so many children feel like failures because they are not good at the things in which the world places so much value. It's obvious that the arts do not hold much value with the education system because those are the first programs that experience cuts when funding becomes limited.
Not only is the creativity of children being squelched but also the teacher's creativity. I have talked to teachers, at the elementary level, who are very frustrated with being told what they have to teach, when they have to teach it, and how to test. There are wonderful teachers who wish they could be more creative but are limited due to the current test driven requirements.

I love Pinterest! I have tried to stay away because it is addicting and I found myself ignoring my family and not getting any housework done. Now, thanks to Dr. Strange, I have a reason to relapse. I've already created a teaching board and pinned a great resource for Bloom's taxonomy apps through Pinterest is a great way to connect with other teachers who have tested new ideas and shared the ones that seem to be most helpful. I will search for middle school and high school teachers to follow since I am majoring in secondary education. The resources they provide will be very helpful to someone who is just getting started.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog Post #1

About Me
Hello, my name is Tonya Fendley.  I live in Fairhope, Alabama with my husband and three children.  My oldest child is in the IB program in high school and plays in the band.  My middle child is in middle school and also plays in the band and attends two dance classes a week, modern lyrical and hip hop.  My youngest child is in elementary school and plays whatever sport is in season.  We have two pets; a dog named Mollie and a cat named Tucker.
There are many things I enjoy doing.  The top thing on my list is spending time with my family.  I also try to schedule one day a week to meet with friends for lunch.  I enjoy reading, listening to music, singing, attending church, swimming, organizing, shopping, decorating, putting together puzzles, playing golf, watching sports and playing fantasy football.
This is my second time attending the University of South Alabama.  The first time I graduated from USA was almost 20 years ago.  I chose USA then because I lived in Loxley and wanted to save money by living at home.  When I made a decision to return to school to pursue a degree in secondary education, it just seemed logical to return to USA.  I chose to enter the field of education because it's what I love.  I have taught children in different volunteer capacities for over 20 years.  I also taught at the preschool level for 7 years and have been a substitute teacher for the Baldwin County school system the past two years.  I love to learn and I love to teach.

My Future Classroom
One day I hope to be the teacher that children will remember as being encouraging, helpful, inspiring and caring. I plan to teach mathematics at the high school level. I hope to find creative ways to teach math. My teaching style will be flexible and motivational and I want each student to know that I am approachable.
My students will learn by listening to my instruction, being encouraged to ask questions, participating in group work time, watching videos of math being applied in cool and interesting ways and completing projects that teach them to build, to create, and to imagine.
There are many tools and resources available to teachers and students due to the internet. Many high school students have computers assigned to them when they begin 9th grade. If this is the case at the high school at which I am employed, then I will set up an email system for communication and have all of the class information online. All of the things we are being introduced to in this course will be very valuable to me as a teacher. My oldest child is in 9th grade. He has been assigned a Macbook and his teacher's use Google and Moodle. He is also required to post to a blog on a weekly basis for his history class. Assignments are downloaded and most of the textbooks are online. He has a planner to keep track of his schedule and when his assignments are due. Sound familiar? I plan to use everything I learn in EDM310 in my future classroom because these are the things that are being implemented now at the high school level.
When I think about my future classroom, the word engaging comes to mind. I want students to be engaged in learning from the time they walk in until it's time to leave. This will be a challenge when it comes to teaching math but I will search for ways to be creative with my style of teaching. I can't imagine anyone falling asleep in my classroom. I want there to be a lot of interaction between myself and the students and among the students.

Dr. Randy Pausch on Time Management
There are so many great lessons in Dr. Pausch's lecture that it's hard to just pick one. I think the one that I like best when it comes to time management is "failing to plan is planning to fail." He suggests that you plan for each day, the week, and the semester but to keep in mind that those plans can and will change. I also like what he points out about brick walls, they "are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." Instead of letting them stop us or defeat us, we should use brick walls as a motivation to prove to ourselves that we can overcome obstacles and be successful at something about which we are truly passionate. "Don't complain, just work harder."
After watching Dr. Pausch's lecture, I watched his appearance on the Oprah show and his interview with Diane Sawyer. He is a great inspiration. Being faced with only months to live, he truly understood the importance of time management. I think his book, The Last Lecture, would be a great read for everyone. I plan not only to read it but to live it.

Time Management Exercises
I found the article on time management full of useful ideas. I used to be the best at procrastinating. I've become much better at managing my time but still find that the tendency to procrastinate still raises it's ugly head from time to time. I need to be better at making daily lists in order to stay focused on the tasks that are most important and have deadlines. I do use a planner and a phone calendar but discovered several tools in this article that will help me to become an even better organizer of my time. I like the link on the page that takes you to the time management exercise. It will be interesting to see how many hours I spend on different activities during the day and to evaluate where I might be wasting time that could be put to more productive use. Thank you to Pamela Todd for suggesting this article.