Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Post #10

Adventures in Pencil Intergration
I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.
I guess it's okay that I looked down at the comments to his blog and saw where John T. Spencer says that "It's a mock of I'm a Mac and I'm a PC commercials". But still what is this trying to tell us? I believe Mr. Spencer is just stating his opinion that two things may look the same on the surface, but when you starting using both of them to do the same job, you will find that one is of greater quality than the other. As you see with the pencil comparison, you can use the Papermate pencil because it cost less, but you will be constantly replacing it because it breaks all the time. On the other hand there is the most expensive pencil, the Ticonderoga. When you look at it's dependability and all the features it offers, isn't it worth the investment? If you follow the link above, you will find the Mac vs. PC commercials to be supporting this same idea. I think Mr. Spencer is making us think about how we plan to use an item and then invest in the one that will provide you the greatest tools and resources to do the job. It may be "the most expensive purchase a hipster ever makes", but the key is to look at your return, it just might be worth the investment.

Few people look back on life and say, I wish I had become a better test takerWhy Were Your Kids Playing Games?
After reading this blog, one quote came to mind and it's that some people "can't see the forest for the trees". I got the impression that Mr. Spencer's supervisor is one of those people. If the principal could get past his aversion to games and his concern for test scores, he might get a view of children learning and collaborating and actually having fun at the same time. I've listed a few other links that correspond with learning and gaming; Minecraft in the Classroom, #mysteryskype, and Teachers, Students, Digital Games: What's the Right Mix?.
I strayed from over to, because I discovered two blogs that are written by Mr. Spencer that talk about teaching and test scores. I Call That Achievement  and Am I Still a Good Teacher? 

The Real Reason for My PLN is a great PLN testimony from Mr. Spencer. I enjoyed reading Do We Still Need Schools and Teachers? and all the comments that followed and thought you might enjoy them too.

Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?
Dr. McLeod has hit the nail on the head! I live in a school district that is providing high school students with Macbooks and the comments he makes echo many of the views and concerns of parents and educators. Before taking this class, I might have been one of those parents who shared some of those same opinions. I now realize technology is a necessity for our students. It's not fluff or a time filler. It's not just for playing games. It is safe, it is monitored, and there are set controls and limitations. Parents and teachers have to work together to help our students understand how to be responsible. Yes, I know they are teenagers, but they can be responsible, otherwise, would we teach them to drive cars? It's dangerous and there are a lot of distractions and bad drivers about which we have to worry, but we train them and make sure they are ready. We don't wait until the day they turn sixteen and say here's the keys...good luck figuring it out. Instead, they have to read the rules of the road, take a test, and then they spend the next six months to a year riding with someone who will guide them and equip them with the tools they need to be a safe driver. I think we have to take the same approach with technology. We can't just give students a computer and expect them to know all of the rules. In a speech written by Franklin D. Roosevelt, he says that "great power involves great responsibility" or you can quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman and say that, "with great power, comes great responsibility". That's where we as teachers and parents have do our jobs and educate our children so they can be safe and responsible drivers on the internet. And I, like Dr. McLeod, can't wait to see how technology transforms education over the next ten to twenty years.
Scott McLeod, J.D., PH.D., is the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa. In order to take this roll, Dr. McLeod had to take a leave from his position as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is an author, a co-creator of a popular video series, and the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). If you would like to read a more detailed biography about Dr. McLeod, you can visit

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Project #14 Smartboard

Demonstration of Smartboard Basics
Special thanks to camera operator, Catherine Warren!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Post #9

Dare to Change
Mr. McClung's World
The two posts I decided to read were Mr. McClung's summary of his first year as a teacher, What I've Learned This Year and his fourth year summary, What I Learned This Year-Volume 4.
I chose Mr. McClung's summary of his first year because I felt it would be relevant since I will be a first year teacher in the near future. Mr. McClung wrote a great blog. I am going to list what he discovered in his first year of teaching because I feel it needs to be repeated. These are the insights provided by Mr. McClung:
1)read the crowd
2)be flexible
4)be reasonable
5)don't be afraid of technology
6)listen to your students
7)never stop learning
The overall message of Mr. McClung's blog is change. Know how to read your students to see if they are comprehending the material, if not, make a change. Be flexible because circumstances change and you will have to adapt your lesson plans as needed. Know how to communicate with your students, parents, and peers because lessons, activities, schedules, etc., are always changing and the best way to avoid "drama" is to keep communications open and honest. What expectations do you have of your students; is it reasonable? Mr. McClung reminds us not to forget we are teaching children and they think like children so don't expect them to be responsible adults. Evaluate your expectations and if they are too high or low, change them to meet the needs of your students so they can be successful. Technology changes constantly so get some good training wheels for the ride. Having a good support system will make riding on the path of technology a whole lot easier. Get to know your students, not just what they do in your classroom. Their interests seem to change on a weekly basis. Don't just hear what they say...listen. Kids know the difference and they relate it to whether or not the teacher cares.
So, as a teacher, what do I care about? This is the question Mr. McClung found he wrestled with during his fourth year of teaching. He found himself under the heavy weight of peer pressure. He realized he had become concerned with doing his job in a way that was pleasing to his peers instead of focusing on his students and what style of teaching met their needs. Mr. McClung reminds teachers to keep the focus on the students because they are the reason we do the job. He also says it is important for teachers to challenge themselves. Don't let your classroom become an assembly line of learning. In the system of education, sometimes teachers can become mechanical by sticking with the same patterns, the same lessons, and the same material, year after year after year. We place our students on the assembly line and we fill them with Math, English, History, Science, etc. and hope we give them enough to pass inspection so they can advance to the next graded assembly line. Establishing a lesson plan, gathering materials, determining the structure of the classroom; all these things take a lot of effort. Once teachers get things set the way they like them, it's hard to change because that's one less challenge in a system where there are so many other challenges to face. I say these things because I can see myself as one of those teachers who could very easily become comfortable with a routine and knowing exactly what I am going to teach year to year; reluctant to embrace change, too complacent to be challenged. When evaluating his fourth year as a teacher, Mr. McClung realized he had become this type of teacher and this is what he had to say, "This year I learned a valuable lesson in what can happen if you get too comfortable as a teacher; you start to get lazy and ultimately your lessons will start to suck, which then in turn means that kids are not enjoying your class." Mr. McClung needed a challenge, something to reignite his creativity and his passion for teaching and he got it. Originally, he had accepted an offer to change grade levels and teach a different subject but then he was asked to become the assistant principal at Leverett Elementary School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I'm glad that Mr. McClung has the opportunity to face new challenges but not all of us will be presented with the opportunity to change subjects, classes, or schools. The reality is that some of us may be in the same classroom for the next thirty years. Are you up for the challenge? As Mr. McClung reminds us, keep the focus on the students and look for ways to keep your lessons fresh and exciting. I think the keys to success are to go back to Mr. McClung's reflections of his first year and focus on numbers 5, 6, and 7; Don't be afraid of technology, listen to your students, and never stop learning.

“To change and to change for the better are two different things.” – German Proverb

Project #12

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blog Post #8

Richard Miller: This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2
the word dream In the video, This is How We Dream Part 1 and Part 2, Richard Miller challenges us to think about the way writing has changed, not only in the academy, but also in the culture. He believes that at this moment, we are experiencing the greatest human change in communication in human history. So if this is true, and I believe it is, the two questions I have to ask myself are how much do I know about this new communication and how much of it am I prepared to use?
To find the answer to the first question, Richard Miller talks about several "incremental changes" in communication. The first thing we consider is how writing has changed. People used to write on paper; letters, notes, essays, drafts, etc. Rarely, do people communicate using paper today. You can send an e-card, an e-mail or a text message. People use word processors to type, edit, and save their documents. Then, they can be shared with friends, clients, cohorts via the web. The thought of using a pencil and paper to write something has almost become obsolete. The second change is evident in the way people communicate in a professional setting. No longer are people limited in business by things like walls and schedules or even oceans. Technology gives people the ability to collaborate with others around the globe through different media options. The work environment has become mobile. Laptops and cellphones have given new meaning to the office. The office can now be at home, in the car, at the ballpark; anywhere and everywhere you want it to be. What about research? Do we still need to go to a library and go through numerous articles that are library property or check out and return stacks of books? Now, all that information, and so much more, is just a few mouse clicks away. People can search the web for articles, books, statistics, data, images and whatever else comes to mind. So, does anything get published anymore? Well, it depends on how you think about publishing. Will books continue to be published on paper or will they all become ebooks? Do people still buy newspapers or will we view our news over the internet? What limits are there to who can write and what gets "published"? Has the internet made that an open book? YouTube videos, blogs, tweets and many other media resources have given people the ability to share their thoughts, their opinions, their creativity, their writings, in a way that goes far beyond what could have ever been possible with just a pen and paper. Once something is published on the web, it becomes instantly available to all those who want to view it, even if they are half way around the world. And it's not just about the writing. An article can include music, video, and text all working together to provide a deeper understanding of the subject that is being viewed.
So, how much of this new communication am I prepared to use? Before taking EDM310, I knew very little about the communication tools that are available. I still feel like there is so much to learn. Before this class, I visited Facebook, I Skyped occasionally, and I used text messaging. I never imagined I would have a blog, post videos on YouTube and tweet. I knew nothing of a Personal Learning Network. I also had a completely different view of how I would instruct in a classroom. Now I have to think about how to compose using the web, which seems impossible to grasp. Will I be prepared to use all of this information to communicate effectively to my future students? Will I limit my teaching to just those within my classroom or will our class be expanded to the far corners of the earth? As educators, Richard Miller challenges us to be at the "front edge" of this new type of composition. The goal is to produce educational materials that add value and compel students to have an excitement for learning.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh
I was very impressed by Carly's Blog Post #12. She put a lot of thought and time into writing a quality blog. I had no idea you could create a playlist on YouTube and can't wait to create my own. Without writing a lengthy text about herself, she composed a story about who she is through the playlist she created. Plus, this is a great way to keep track of videos that you want to reference for future lessons. I also agree that this would be a great assignment, especially at the beginning of a school year. I think it would provide a lot of insight into the lives of your students. It's a great way to get to know each other a little better.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies
These two videos are very entertaining. They both say a lot about the valuable information you will learn in EDM310. They also point out that it helps to be organized and to understand the time that is required for each assignment. They help you realize the importance of getting on track and using the available resources to keep you there throughout the course. I'm not feeling very creative at the moment so I'm having difficulty coming up with an original video idea. After much thought, here are a few of titles: The EDM310 Superstar: What does it take to get your name on the "A" list?
A Tale of Two Students: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"
Dr. Strange's Top Ten List(a spoof of David Letterman's Top Ten)

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
change ahead sign
I found the thoughts and ideas expressed in Learn to Change, Change to Learn, to be right on target. Especially the one where it stated that to get the students to understand how to use technology to make connections and expand their learning environment, we first have to get it into the hands of the teachers and have them make connections. I believe this is the biggest obstacle with making a shift toward teaching with technology. You will have some teachers that are eager to move ahead with technology while others believe that no change is needed. Change can be scary and difficult, but I believe this is an exciting change and I am glad to know that I will be an educator who is ready and willing to take teaching into the 21st Century.

Scavenger Hunt
Did you use in your blog postThe first tool I decided to try is I love the real time response feature with this tool. It is a great way to give a quiz and get instant results of how well your students know the material.

The next tool I thought would be fun to try is Make Beliefs Comix.
The EDM310 Fairygodmother

All of the video tools were fascinating, but the one I think I would use most to enhance my lessons is As an educator, you can apply for a free Animoto Plus account to be used in the classroom. I like that it simplifies the whole process of making a video. You decide what text or content on which to focus and then animoto has music, images, and video clips that will be arranged into an amazing, educational, custom video for your class. Make sure to go to the education link because it has great examples at the bottom of the page which demonstrate how animoto is currently being used by educators in the classroom. I think it's a great way to give a lecture. It's a great option for teachers who are quiet speakers, for students who need the visual stimulation, and a good sight tool for second language learners. It is easy to share and download so you can put these lectures on a website and make them accessible to students and parents, which is a great way to keep parents informed and to keep students from falling behind when they are absent. These videos could also be assigned as homework so class time could be used to delve into deeper discussions, to collaborate on projects, and to use poll anywhere to determine who watched the video and how well the information was received. I love the spotlight feature which allows you to "give specific image added prominence and screen time in your video." You can add you own personal touch to the video if you feelstudent sleeping in class it is a topic where you need to be seen and heard to add emphasis. Please, help keep students from sleeping in class; no more boring lectures! Use animoto, or one of the other video tools(gizmoz or xtranormal), and take your lectures to a level of excitement that will keep students engaged.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

nuggets of wisdomRandy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

In this blog, I will summarize all of the things discussed by Dr. Pausch in the "Last Lecture" that I believe are nuggets of wisdom for a future teacher.

I think first and foremost, Dr. Pausch reminds us that teaching is "an honor and a priviledge". We should believe that teaching is the most important profession we could choose with an unbelievable amount of responsibility. We should want to be pioneers in our field; always wanting to try new things or new ways of doing things. This will not be the easy road, but he encourages us to never give up. As a teacher, I don't need to make the journey alone. It is important that I find a network of supporters, as I have discovered through several of our previous assignments. I also need to work as a team with the other teachers in my field. In order to be a good teammate, I must be honest, sincere, grateful, and forgiving. I also must be able to offer a sincere apology when I mess up and focus on helping others. A great suggestion, is to ask other teachers for their feedback. In doing so, I should take their feedback and use it to improve myself and the course I am teaching. I must be prepared. I want to be the type of teacher that brings her best to the classroom everyday.

As I was watching Dr. Pausch's lecture, the one question that kept jumping out at me was, "will my teaching help kids reach their childhood dreams?" In order to be able to answer yes to this question, there are many nuggets of wisdom I must instill in my students. One is to teach students that learning can be fun. I need to make it exciting and provide opportunities for them to share this excitement with others. This can be achieved by taking education beyond the classroom, either through hands on field trips or through global technology. Getting students involved is very important. They need to bond with and encourage one another. They need to learn to work in groups and share what they do. I also want my students to know that they have value. Everyone is good at something; it just takes some longer to discover it than others. I need to instill in my students the importance of hard work and determination. It's important that I challenge them to always strive to do better. I shouldn't set limits, instead I should give students the opportunity to amaze me.

Eyeore and TiggerSince I am a person who appreciates visual illustrations, I love the example Dr. Pausch uses to explain the attitudes we can have when faced with a difficult situation; we can either choose to be a "Tigger" or an "Eyeore". Dr. Pausch had every right to be an "Eyeore". At the time he was giving his lecture, he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given at the most, six months to live. During this time, when he had very little about which to be encouraged, he was still being an encouragement to others. When he had very little future left to envision, he was still giving others a vision for the future.

In his lecture, Dr. Pausch states that "brick walls are there for a reason; they let us prove how badly we want things." This saying makes me look at challenges from a whole new perspective. I've always made the assumption that when one door closes, another one will open, but do we really have time to wait for another opportunity? This makes me think that sometimes we need to bust the door down if it's something we desperately want to achieve. After watching this video, I asked myself how badly do I want to be a teacher? What brick walls will I face and how will I face them? Do I want to teach because I want to help children achieve their dreams? Will I live every day like "Tigger"? "The Last Lecture" is one of the most inspiring videos I've ever watched and I wish I was able to tell him that today.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project #9 - Personal Learning Network

image of a PLN example
I have created a PLN at Symbaloo. I believe I have made numerous contacts that will be valuable to me as a future math teacher.
First, I love the tiles the website already has established for many math subjects. For example, I can click on Geometry and look at lesson plans, videos provided by other teachers, and numerous other resources. I have started my own webmix and created tiles for TeacherTube, WolframAlpha, Dan Meyer,, and the CoolCatTeacher, Vicki Davis, just to name a few.
I have followed several people on Twitter that have amazing ideas and provide additional contacts and resources. Some of those contacts are, Dan Meyer, Curriki, Kristen Goggin, edutopia, and Silvia Tolisano
I was given an amazing opportunity to experience first hand how these contacts are used to connect educators and classrooms through technology. I was contacted through Twitter by Silvia Tolisano to see if I would like to read my personal version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to a Kindergarten class at her school in Florida. I quickly responded and grabbed the chance to participate in a teaching opportunity using technology. Geographically, I was a rather close contact, but Silvia told me she had lined up educators from Australia and New Zealand who were also going to read the story. I couldn't help but think how fortunate that school is to have Silvia Tolisano connecting them with the rest of the world and that I was able to be a small part of that connection.

C4K Summary for February

C4K #1
logo for Baldwin County High School FootballThe first student blog I was assigned belongs to Keith, He is in the 10th grade at Baldwin County High School. He enjoys sports but soccer is his favorite. He loves to be outdoors either hunting or fishing. He was born in Mobile but now lives in Bay Minette. I introduced myself and told him that I was posting on his blog as part of an assignment for EDM310. I also stated that I look forward to following his blog and seeing all of the things he will be learning in his English class. I wished him the best of luck with soccer.

C4K #2
The next student I was assigned was Taswaila, a 4th grader in Ms. Muhammad's class at Robbins Elementary School in Prichard, Alabama. Ms. Muhammad has established a blog for her class and Taswaila posted a summary of an A.R. book she is reading called The Sly Spy. Taswaila said the book is about a girl who helps poor people. The following is a link to the blog if you are interested in reading her post I Have a Great A.R. Book. In my post, I introduced myself and explained the assignment. I told Taswaila that I enjoyed reading her blog and was glad to see that she is reading A.R. books. I also said that The Sly Spy sounds like a great book and that I would have to read it with my 3rd grader. I thanked her for telling us about this book and encouraged her to never stop reading because it's a great way for your mind to have an adventure!

C4K #3
My third student is James, a Year 5 Student at Pt England School. He introduces himself by saying, "Kia Ora and my name is James I hope you enjoy my blog, I am James." Kia Ora is a Maori language greeting which means "be well/healthy". James is in Room14: Dream Catchers. It is a class of Year 5 students at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. In this class, they learn that they can reach their goals and dreams if they are committed. His teacher is Miss Ouano. He also tells that his favorite thing to do is play video games.
I introduced myself to James and told him I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I told him to look at the red dot on his world map and that I was the dot at the bottom of the United States near the Gulf of Mexico. I shared with him that I have a son around his age and he likes to play video games also. His favorite games are NCAA football and NCAA basketball. I also told him that I like to play Mario Party and Mario Kart on the Wii with my son. I asked him what types of video games did he like to play and what system did he you use to play games? I wished him good luck with Year 5 and encouraged him to stay competitive not only with his gaming but also with his school work.

C4K #4
Meesha is a student in Ms. Vannoy's class at Davis Elementary school. In her blog, I Love My Family, Meesha posted that she loves her mom. She says her mom is sweet and her dad is sweet and that she loves them very much.
Once again, I introduced myself and described my assignment. Then, I complemented her on her blog design and told her that she used one of my favorite colors. I told her she also wrote about one of my favorite subjects, family. I shared about my family and told her that the one thing I want my children to always know is that I love them no matter what and I was sure her parents felt the same way. I said it sounds like she has a wonderful family and I thanked her for sharing that with me.

Group ON Project 1

Group ON Project 2