Friday, May 4, 2012

Project # 16 Final Project

Technology Field Trip

Blog Post # 14 Final Reflection

World connect by computer mouse


heart with technology logos
I would like to say thank you to Dr. Strange and his EDM310 team for making this one of the best courses that I have ever taken at the University of South Alabama. Through this course I have made some great friends and have started a PLN that will continue to grow with me in my life and my career as a teacher. I have learned how to do things that I never thought would be possible. I have even learned how to use a MAC and do some HTML code. EDM310 has been a great life changing experience. I have been exposed to the world through the "eyes" of technology and I know that I will have a new outlook on the way I learn and the way kids learn. I am going to miss EDM310 and will remember it forever!!

Project # 13 Report on Collaboration

I have enjoyed working with my Group TACE. We honestly had a great time and plan on keeping in touch with each other after EDM310. We used Google Docs, Google Hangout, Gmail and texting to collaborate on our final projects. By using these tools, we could work on our own time while still keeping all members of the group informed and on the same page. Working collaborative with others can definitely be a good thing. I think working collaborative allows each individually to express their strengths. Since not everyone is going to have the same strengths and weaknesses, one person’s strengthen may be another’s weakness. So this allows support within the group and everyone feels a since of accomplishment. It also allows members of the group to brainstorm and come up with a variety of ideas, which in turn helps the lesson or project become far better or creative than it may have been if individually written.  It also allows opportunities to meet new people and to learn from them. I like to think it is preparing us for the real world. Soon or later, we will be faced with a job where we are going to have to work with multiple people and we are will have to know how to handle and adjust to the situation. I think it is important for everyone to feel like a member of the team.

Some of the disadvantages of working collaborating in a group would be time. Since no one is on the same clock, time is always going to be a factor. I think you have to consider time when working together in a group situation and if not all members can meet face to face, that is okay; as long as each member is communicating with each other and it does not affect the outcome of the assignment or goal. There may also be times when members of the group are not as concerned about the deadline or the final product as you may be. In cases like this, I think it is important to talk about the project before hand and set deadlines within the group. It is important each member of the group understands the purpose for the deadlines. For example, someone in the group may need to finish the project before leaving to go out of the town, or someone in the group cannot meet on Monday’s because of a job or other classes. I think overall communication is the biggest factor and as long as everyone communicates well within the group, and is willing to participate everything will work out in the end.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Final Report on PLN

This post is supposed to be our Final report on our PLN, when in all actuality it should not be anything but final. I have discovered so many great websites, YouTube videos, and some awesome teacher blogs that I have added to my PLN. One thing I like about using symbaloo, is that there are so many webmixes already created for you that you don’t have to spend a lot of time searching and compiling your own. The symbaloo gallery is a resource in itself.  As a lifelong learner and teacher, my PLN will never be complete.As a matter of fact,I just added Mr. Robbo's blog to my PLN today! It will continue to change as I learn and as long as I seek out new knowledge.  I hope to use this knowledge to enrich and enhance the education of my students so they will also become lifelong learners.

Blog Post Assignment #13

Engage in an E-Media Fast

Okay so E-media fasting is not for me! I have attempted several times to go without anything electronic and all attempts = FAIL. It is extremely hard to fast from electronic media when your day-to-day life “depends” on it. You do not realize how many electronic devices you use throughout the day, until you try to go without them, starting with an alarm clock! During the weekdays, my cell phone is necessary! We do not have a landline; we did away with it about six years ago. I use my cell phone for all means of communication, texting, emailing, tweeting, facebook, etc. I have children so my cell phone is a must! I receive text notifications from my daughter’s school along with emails from her teacher. This is how I stay updated on the many different things going on at her school and in her class. I also use this to communicate with our neighbors when my children are out about in the neighborhood playing.  I can usually go without my cell phone and laptop on the weekends as long as my husband is with me and I have completed all my class assignments. 
kid throwing a fit because he does not want to get off the computer
Sundays are usually the days I try to step away from my laptop and cell phone and spend time with the family. We usually visit my husband’s grandparents on Sundays after church. I can usually go without my cell phone all day, but this Sunday I received a text message first thing from my pastor’s wife because the person scheduled to teach in children’s church was sick and not going to be there. So, I sent her a text message back to let her know I would fill in. First attempt =FAIL, used cell phone to text.  I had good intentions on just spending the rest of the day without the use of anything electronic and thought about how peaceful it would be. I was able to get some walking done and I did finish reading a book I originally started back in February. However, as the afternoon crept by, I soon found myself getting extremely bored. My husband and son decided to take a three hour nap and my daughter decided to go over to a friend’s house to play and there I was without nothing to do and no one to talk to.  I’m sure I could have done some cleaning around the house or tended to some laundry but I couldn’t resist the temptation of jumping on the laptop to check my email.  Second attempt =FAILED! I needed something to entertain me!
kid asleep in class
 I’m not sure how anyone else did with his or her fast but I know that for me it was extremely hard to “power down” for the day. With that being said, I know that I must find ways to keep my students engaged and “entertained” at all times if I want to keep their interest and educate them in a way they are use to. Majority of students today are use to having lots of brain interaction with different types of electronic media. They are fast paced and technology driven. So asking them to come into a classroom where pencil and paper are the only tools used for learning is like asking them to put their minds in sleep mode. “Sit still and be quiet”, I can’t even do that! We have to find ways to keep students engage at all times. Get them up and moving, investigating, exploring, testing, problem solving, collaboration, teamwork. As teachers, we try to build on prior knowledge or what students already know and do, using electronic media and technology is just another way to do this. USE WHAT THEY KNOW! 

C4T Post #4

Jenny's Learning Journey

picture of a flower with a quote in the middle
 “ The happiest people don’t have everything, they just make the best of everything.” This is a quote from Jenny's She' blog post, Having a Go at Photography! Jenny She is a primary school teacher from Auckland, New Zealand. Her blog is dedicated to her experiences, reflections, learning, sharing, and many other things that she believes will make a difference in her career as a teacher. She states on her facebook, "I love my job because I believe that I can make a difference". If only all teachers wanted to make a difference! 

In Jenny's post on January 1, 2012 , she post about the use of an iPhone to take pictures. It is a simple post with a powerful message. It is about a young man who does not have the best camera but makes use with what he has. I think that is a big statement, so many times as teachers we get wrapped up in all the bells and whistles of expensive curriculm progams that we do not realize it is not what we have that makes "something" great happen, it is how we use and what we use it for. Just like Jenny's says the happiest people don't have everything, they just make the best of everything. It's important for teachers to remember this statement. As simple as her blog post and as simple as this statement, it is how we chose to teach that is going to make a difference in our schools, classrooms, and with our students. 

Mr. Robbo

Parent running with kids
On April 23, 2012, I revisited Jenny's site and she did not have new post. There was some confusion on our C4T this time, so Dr. Strange made some changes to our C4T assignments and we ended up with two different documents and on each one I had a different teacher. Since Jenny did not have a new post and the post before that was made on July 24, 2011, I decided to check out "my second" C4T from the modified C4T document. I figure the more exposure I get to teacher blogs, the better. So I visited Mr. Robbo, The PE Geek. Mr. Robbo's actual name is Jarrod Robinson and he is a Physical Education teacher from Victoria, Australia. His lastest post, Top 'Apps' For PE Teachers -Part 13 provided some great fitness apps and tracking. I think these apps could be beneficial to all teachers and parents, as well. It is important for teachers to create lifelong learners and to teach students to practice lifelong fitness. 
potato laying on the couch
So many people talk about how "technology" has turned kids into couch potatoes but I think technology can be used to get kids off the couch. Just look at the Wii and Xbox Kinnect! I'm not sure how many of you reading this has played any of the dancing, kickboxing, or fitness games but I'm here to tell you these games can make you sweat! 
Technology is here to stay whether people like it or not, so we might as well use it in as many ways as we can. So why not go ahead and use it to keep kids active as well. I really enjoyed reading Mr. Robbo's blog and even though I am not a Physical Education major I subscribed to his blog. Educating children is all about getting them up, moving, involved, and keeping them engaged. As a teacher, it is important to educate kids in all areas, not just areas you have a "degree" in. Isn't this why we develop PLNs so we can become lifelong learners and broaden our knowledge of things outside of our "expertise" I think he has provided some excellent apps and resources that can be incorporated into the curriculum to help all teachers meet this goal.

Coach Hooper
Exercise with Coach Hooper

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Progress Report on Final Project

progress report
My group members for Project #16 are Tasha Sprinkle, Angie Morris, and Emily Jeanminette. We have discussed creating a video that shows two futuristic classrooms. We will travel into the future on a mission to find out what future classrooms will be like; one where the school embraced technology and used media tools, like the ones we used in EDM310, to enrich and enhance the curriculum. The other classroom will be a class where the teacher chose not to use technology and decided to stick with what she has always done. We met this past Thursday via Google hangout and we plan to follow up with another meeting this Wednesday to discuss the details of the video.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts –Special Post #12A

Creativity and Curiosity

some people have a hard time thinking outside the box
Creativity and curiosity goes hand in hand in my book.  I don’t think you can be creative without being curious; it is a thought process. It is not a talent. However, some would disagree and say some people are born creative. I think it is possible for everyone to be creative; we just lack in confidence of our creative abilities. Curiosity is the beginning of creativity and it is possible for everyone to have creativity abilities; they may be different but it is possible for everyone. Creativity is the ability to see things in a different light, generate new original ideas, inquire, investigate, and seek out answers. It is important for teachers to provide maximum opportunities to develop a student’s creativity and curiosity. How can this be done? First, the teacher has to be curious. If the teacher is not curious then you can  forget it. We do not want kids to imitate teaches because we want them to develop their own original ideas. However, teachers do need to model this behavior. She/he has to be willing to look at things with new perspectives, feel anxious to apply new thoughts, and enhance the curriculum so it will help develop self-initiated actions of the students. I want to place emphasis on “enhance” because I do not think any current curriculum or any new curriculum developed will meet the needs of every student.
creativity takes courage henri matisse
I think it is important to remember; the curriculum/programs are guidelines for teachers and shouldn’t be used as scripts. I don’t think the curriculum was intended to become a script for teachers. It just has over the years, because so many teachers become passive and the curriculum’s daily lesson plans become a crutch.  I think this may be the reason teachers are not as develop as they could be in their creativity abilities. The curriculum is doing all the “thinking”. I’m not sure how we can get these teachers to look at their curriculum differently. I think most of these teachers are set in their ways and have the attitude; "this is how I have always taught so why change". This is when you want to shake and scream at them “Change is good! The world is changing and kids are not learning; they are just memorizing facts”. Probably not the best thing to do. :)  The teachers that set examples and are not afraid to make a stand for the students are going to make differences. Teachers have to find out what interest the students and then modify the lessons so they are more meaningful so the students will remember them and want to find out more. Students need to be adaptable, effective learners, and able to think critically and creativity in order to survive in the world. We know future jobs are going to require more of this!

Curious GeorgeTeachers have to know how to implement each program effectively, adapt if needed, make decision to enhance and enrich each lesson as they get to know the students and their interest. Part of teaching students to be creativity and curious is going to require the teacher to relax the “rules” of the curriculum a bit and give the students some freedom. Allowing freedom to be creative will definitely affect their self-esteem and their overall achievement. It will increase their abilities to become more independent, curious, and creative.

creativity cartoon
As I prepared for this blog post, these questions sparked my curiosity, and I asked myself why I am not more curious? So I thought about it and most of the time when my curiosity is sparked it is because it is something that interest me.  If there is not interest there, then I am usually not curious and do not really seek out any further information. Then there are times when I am curious but at the time I really have no way of finding out the answer. (I need to using Google on my phone more) Then as time goes by, I just forget about it.  I hope to change that and increase my curiosity and creativity. I need to remember to ask myself more questions more often… Why? What? Where? How? Who? Then FIND OUT (even if I have to write it down and look it up later)!

kid with paint all over his hands
If I am going to be successful in helping my students become more curious and creative then I am going to have to teach myself how to do this. So, I decided to do some reading and come up with ways I can help increase the creativity and curiosity of students.I thought it would be a good idea to provide myself with some guidelines so I can be a teacher that knows how to increases the creativity and curiosity of the students in my classroom. I do not want to be that teacher, or parent for that matter, who says, “Do not ask so many questions”. I want to be the one that says, “Well, let’s see what we can find out…”


4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important and How to Develop It

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, they are all curious characters. Richard Feynman was especially known for his adventures which came from his curiosity.
But why is curiosity so important? Here are four reasons:
1. It makes your mind active instead of passive
Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
2. It makes your mind observant of new ideas
When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
3. It opens up new worlds and possibilities
By being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities.
4. It brings excitement into your life
The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention, there are always new ‘toys’ to play with. Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.
Now, knowing the importance of curiosity, here are some tips to develop it:
1. Keep an open mind
This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.
2. Don’t take things as granted
If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things as granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.
3. Ask questions relentlessly
A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way? When was it made?Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.
4. Don’t label something as boring
Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.
5. See learning as something fun
If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process..
6. Read diverse kinds of reading
Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another worlds. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.


Elspeth Bishop
Elispeth Bishop is a writer for She was born and raised in Colorado. She enjoys skiing, playing tennis, and hiking in the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. I think she makes some excellent point in her article and I left did leave a comment. I wanted to let her know that I agreed with her and I too, think you can not be creative without being curious.

Blog Post Assignment # 12

During this semester, we have learned the benefits of blogging, leaving an intellectual trail, and developing PLNs. I definitely will have a class blog and use blogging with my students. Another thing, I wanted to create for my class is a website. It would be another tool for parents, teachers, and students so they could stay current on upcoming events, class schedules, assignments, etc. By using this with my class blog, parents, students, and teachers would be able to comment on these things as well.  I think having a class website is also a great way of communicating with parents, students, and other teachers. It gives parents opportunities to access daily, weekly, and even monthly assignments without having to keep up with papers. If they have a question about homework assignments, test, or a field trip date; it is accessible to them on the class website. It also provides opportunities for the teacher to continuously change and update resource information for both parents and students. Not only are you creating a PLN for yourself and your students, you are giving parents an opportunity to join in on the PLN action as well. Just like blogging, used effectively, everyone can benefit from a classroom website, and they do not have to be complicated. 
little boy laying down working on computer

A. For this blog assignment, you are going to create a class website that links to your current EDM310 blog. You are the teacher and you are getting ready for your first year of teaching. You want to set up a class website to provide information to your students, parents, and teachers about your classroom.  Explore different teacher class websites to get ideas and to map out main pages and secondary pages before you begin. There are several free web-hosting sites available to teachers that will allow you to build your own class website. You can start with Google Sites or search the internet for one. You can also check out RichardByrne’s blog for some additional sites. Some may want to experiment with html code and try using Kompozer. It is a free html editing software I found that allows you to create and build your own web pages. I wanted to do this so I could learn some html code but I ended up getting so involved in the process I knew I would not have the website completed by the end of the week. So, I experimented with Google Sites but ended up using Weebly and had my site created and on the web in no time at all. Both were super easy to use.

Before I started creating my “class” website, I searched for some tips. You can review the tips I found or search for some on your own.  

Teaching with Technology This site also includes some sample websites for elementary and secondary classrooms, along with some excellent resources.

Your class website should include (not in any particular order)
1. A Home page
2. A Classroom page 
3. A Student/Parent page 
4. A contact page
5. Your EDM310 Blog
6. About the teacher page

After you have created and published your class website on the web post a link to your "class" website in your blog post assignment #12. I know most if not all of you do not have actually classroom yet, so have a little fun and play school. Remember you are the teacher!

B. Write a quality blog post on blogs vs. websites. What are the pro's and con's of both? Which one would you use in with your class and why?

Check out my site. Mrs. Skidmore's Class

World with computer mouse on each side

Blog vs. Website

blonde girl at the computer
One might ask why I wanted to create the website in the first place; it seems blogs allow you  to have the same information as the website, and blogs allow for comments. I just really wanted to experiment to see if I could do it. It was just a personal preference. I like experimenting and seeing how creative I can be using technology I have never used before. I seen several of the C4Ts and C4Ks  had class websites so I thought it would be pretty cool to have a class website and a class blog. I may have a different opinion later but right now I do not think one is better than the other. I think they both serve the same purpose and depending on how much html code you know, you can pretty much add anything you want to either one. 

i love computers banner

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

C4K Summary for April

comment for kids

challengeFor our April C4K assignments we got to be a part of the WORLD CHALLENGESue Wyatt, Sue Waters, and Ronnie Burt coordinate the World Challenge. The challenge runs twice yearly and a new challenge starts in March and September each year. The blog challenge is designed to improve blogging and commenting skills while global connecting students of all ages with an audience from across the world. Our EDM310 class was asked to participate and for three weeks, we were to comment on the same student’s blog. We were to be supportive, express interest, and ask questions by commenting on the students’ blogs.  


I really enjoyed having the same student for three weeks. Ryder is in the sixth grade and his friends call him RyRy. His blog was originally named Ryder's Awesome Blog but he changed it to Ryder's Roof.  The first post I read and commented on was posted by Ryder on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. It was titled Poetry. He had several poems that he had written and they were very creative. I encourage Ryder to write another poem that would tell his readers more about him. I told him an acrostic poem would be a good way to do this. I wrote one about myself using the first letters of my name and told him it would be cool if he would do the same.  I did not get a reply from him but I did not let this discourage me. Just as I would my own students, I left another comment on the same post encouraging him to post. I also let him know that I was disappointed  that he had not posted anything new on his blog. I told him that I was looking forward to his poem so I could learn more about him. I let him know that I would be reading and commenting on his blog post over the next few weeks and I would check back in a few days to see if he had posted anything new. Then on April 10, he replied and he actually wrote an acrostic poem about himself. I was very super excited! Since then Ryder has had  three other blog post. I did leave comments on each one but he has not replied. I think the world challenge is a great idea and I would have liked to have had more C4K assignments where we stayed with one student for a longer amount of time. Below is our acrostic poems.

Yellow is favorete color
Dogs I like
Earth is a great place
Radishes are discusting

Crazy about my family
Azalea Trail Runner
Singing is not for me 
Summer is my favorite season
I love chocolate ice cream
Excited about teaching

ROOM 9@Pt England School

map of newzealand
My final C4K assignment was Daniel. Daniel is a student in Room 9 at Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. His class is a year 3 class makde up of 28 children. On April 11, 2012, Daniel posted a video to present a personal profile; a Mihi Mihi. I had no information on a Mihi Mihi, now I understand it is talking about you, where you came from, and it is about your family history. Through Daniel's Mihi Mihi in English, I was able to learn a little more about Daniel and put a face with a name. Daniel was born in January so we shared the same birthday month. It is always exciting when you can let the students know you have something in common with them. 

My Personal Reflection

connecting with blogging benefits
So this was our last C4K assignments and I am a little sad. Not only was I able to encourage and praise students through commenting, I was able to learn from these students. These students have motivated and taught me that blogging can be beneficial to both the blogger and the reader; both can learn from it. It has been a rewarding experience being able to make global connections with students I would have never had a chance to meet in any other way. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blog Post Assignment #11

Little Kids... Big Potential

Kathy Cassidy First Grade Teacher
Kathy Cassidy is a teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada. She teachers first grade and is a technology literate teacher. She integrates technology into her curriculum in order to help her students achieve skills they will need to become lifelong learners. The Skype interview with Kathy Cassidy was so inspiring and I enjoyed it so much. It just goes to show that one teacher can make a difference. It was her choice to bring technology into the classroom and make a change. No one forced her to, it was her decision and she was willing to do it for the student’s in her class. Teachers need to be willing to make choices for students, which allow them to be successful in and out of the classroom. Kathy Cassidy cared enough about her students to take those ten computers and USE them. She did not just let them sit in her classroom and “look” good. She chose to help herself, research, and find ways to make use of the technology she had available to her. It did not matter the age or grade of her class; it goes to show that technology is available for all ages. I also thought it was really great how she changes the way she uses technology in her classroom depending on the demands of her students.  This just goes to show that the students in her classroom are her priority, not just getting the curriculum standards in. What an inspiration!

Yesterday's model Today's kids
After watching, Kathy’s interview with Dr. Strange, and after a semester of blogging, I look forward to using and having a classroom blog. I think this is such an excellent way for students to get immediate feedback, display their progress, and get validation for their work. Instead of having just the teacher or parents’ encouragement, they have the encouragement of the world.  It is so important for students to get encouragement! It helps build self-esteem, so they have the confidence they need to push towards the goals they want to accomplish.  Dr. Strange and Kathy Cassidy both agree having a personal learning network makes a tremendous different in  education and the success of creating lifelong learners. This should be our goals as teachers. Just like Kathy, we should want to help ourselves (become lifelong learners) and students to become technology literate. We should not handicap our students or ourselves because we are scared to change with the world as technology seems to be taking over. We should not expect students to “power down” when they are at school. Yes, at times, it may be a challenge but with the help of PLNs, teachers can find the support they need to push forward as technology develops, and find different ways to incorporate technology into the curriculum. Teachers want students to get out of their comfort zones and try new things so, is it too much to ask for teachers to do the same?

Teachers of Tomorrow
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blog Post Assignment # 10

Do You Teach Or Do You Educate?

Great Teachers Affect Eternity
The video compares teaching to educating and describes both. We have to stop looking at educating and teaching as synonyms. I think a great teacher knows how to educate and not just teach. The first step in becoming a teacher that educates is to truly care about the students and if their learning. In order to educate you have to teach and not preach. Anyone can preach or teach about rules but it takes an educator to help understand the reasons behind those rules. The why’s and how’s. If students can understand the “whys” then it is more meaningful and the students learn. Educating focuses more on the students learning.  To me, being an educator means to teach and allow students to experience what they are learning; it is not just about the explanation. It is also about being there to guide, inspire, and provide feedback and support for them during the trial and errors of their learning experience. 

As a previous, team leader, I did a lot of training and my goal was to get my team members to understand the reason behind what they were doing and why. I felt like if they knew why and how the software worked they would be able to troubleshoot the issue logically instead of just doing something because someone told them to (which may or may not work depending on the issue).   For example, if the electricity is out, plugging in the T.V. is not going to turn it on. One would have to understand the electricity is the source of the television being able to power on and off, not plugging the cord into the outlet. Anyone can be taught to plug the cord into the outlet but then one who is educated about electricity will understand what is happening when the cord is plugged into the outlet and if the power is out, then it is not going to turn on. We have to educate our students in a way that is going to allow them to make real world choices and decisions; to think for themselves. They are going to have to apply these the things we teach them to everyday situations.

Our blog assignments always have me researching and looking at different blogs to see what others opinions are on our topics and I found a blog Luckyenoughblog related to this topic in particular. It had quite a funny story that I couldn’t help but to share. 

“there were a group of young 11-12 year olds at an all girls school. they would get together in the bathrooms and put on makeup. they would swipe on lipstick and kiss the bathroom mirrors before heading to class. understandably, the janitor was not happy about this. after scrubbing the mirrors day after day, he went to the headmistress.
Red Lips all puckered up
“this has got to stop. the girls cannot keep kissing the mirrors and leaving stains for me to clean up,” the janitor said.
“i agree completely. i’ll have the teachers talk to the girls. it will stop,” the headmistress assured him. but of course, the kisses on the mirrors continued to show up. and so, the headmistress decided to gather a handful the girls in the bathroom.
“ladies, it is unacceptable to leave a mess like this for our janitor to clean up,” she told them. “why don’t you show us what you have to do to clean this up,” she prompted the janitor. the janitor nodded, grabbed a sponge, dipped it in the toilet and began scrubbing the mirrors.
and just like that, the girls stopped kissing the bathroom mirrors.”

I want to be a teacher who educates and not just “teaches”. I want to give my students reasons and experiences that will allow them to remember things forever and not just for the moment. I want my students to take those experiences with them when they leave my classroom and be able to apply them to other things in their lives. I want my students to trust in me to guide them and know that I am there for them. I want to lead them and I want them to direct my teaching. I hope that I am a teacher who educates and not a teacher who just “teaches”.

Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home  by Tom Johnson

kids at play sign
Mr. Johnson’s blog was very interesting to me. First of all I have to say, it is crazy how scores and grades are used to measure what student’s learn and the teachers ability to teach. There is so many other ways to measure a student’s knowledge rather than filling in little bubbles on a “drill-and- kill  test”. Anyway, in Mr. Johnson’s blog he is arguing with the school’s curriculum instructional interventionist academic specialist, Gertrude. She is adamant that Mr. Johnson does not allow his students to take home "pencils" after reading an article that stated students who come from a low income neighborhood and bring pencils home ultimately have lower test scores. The kids "play" with pencils instead of using them to learn. Mr. Johnson does not necessary agree with the article, but rather than continuing to argue with her, he offers a solution that involves meeting with the parents and explaining how "pencils" could be used for learning. She still is not convinced this is going to work and wants to know how he is going to hold them accountable at home.  Like many other administrators in today's schools, Gertrude is more concerned with the scores and the "show and tell" the test scores provide for the school rather than being concern if the students are truly learning. 

One thing we have to remember is students are always learning no matter where they are or what they are doing. They learn from their environment, peers, teachers, and experiences. All of these things influence what they are going to learn. As teachers, we can educate students using experiences and a number of other tools; if they use “pencils” to play hangman, then why not turn it into something educational. I have seen some amazing artwork sketched with a pencil and to think if someone took their “pencil’s” away. 

Preschool kids on a computer
One could think of computers, internet, and other media tools as “pencils” that student just use for entertainment and not look at how they can be used as educational tools. Just like a pencil for an artist, media tools can open doors for creativity. Technology is a big part of today’s world and yes student’s are going to use it for entertainment so why can’t they be entertained while they are learning in the classroom? THEY SHOULD BE! The more we intergrate technology into our lessons and into our curriculum the better the chances are we are going to have students who actually become motivated, learn something, take it with them, and REMEMBER IT.  When they are entertained they are engaged, when they are engaged, they are learning. So let them take their “pencils” home and play, who knows what they might learn!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Project #14 SMART Board Instruction

This semester was my first time seeing the SMART Board. Anthony Capps did a great job introducing the SMART Board to us and it helped tremendously. We have come a long way from the "chalkboard" days! To me, the SMART Board is much like using PowerPoint, Paint, and Microsoft Word all in one. This seems like such a great way to get immediate feedback on the student’s comprehension of the objectives. I also love how interactive you can make lessons using the SMART Board with all the different options available. I honestly can't wait to use the SMART Board to create some lessons. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blog Post Assignment # 9

An experiment in professional learning, collaboration, and sharing of ideas.

Colorful gears with the text that says Think, Reflect, Act
At the Teacher’s Desk is a blog created by Mr. Joe McClung, he is not a veteran teacher, and actually, 2011-2012 will be his fourth year teaching. Mr. McClung decided to start a series of post after his first year of teaching to reflect back over his experiences during the year. His reflections are great and should inspire new teachers. I think it is important to reflect on your performance and experiences in order to grow. I think in life we are faced with obstacles, trials, and circumstances that may or may not be enjoyable or of our liking. I think all of these things are truly blessings in disguise. (reminds me of the song Blessings, by Laura Story) They help us grow and become stronger emotionally, physically, and mentally. I think it is important, as teachers, we look back and reflect on our year in order to learn. We should allow these "blessings" to mold us into exceptional teachers and individuals. It is important that teachers continue to learn in order to help students. 

I read each one of Mr. McClung’s post and as each year went by, in all of his reflections he never lost sight of his main goal, his students. He discusses how teachers should have flexibility and should be willing and able to adapt to lessons, situations, co-workers and students.  I like how he says “NO LESSON IS EVER PERFECT. THE LESSON YOU TEACH AND THE ONE YOU PLAN ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT.” How true is this! I think as teachers, we should use lesson plans as guidelines and not as a scripts. It is important for teachers to be able to say, “This is not working. I need to change something”.  I think the most important thing is staying positive, listening to the students, and changing the lesson in a way that is going to be effective in helping the students to learn. I think he refers to this in “Check Your Ego at The Door”. Do what works for your students!

chihuahua showing her grill (teeth)
As I was reading Mr. McClung’s  2011 blog, “Don’t Touch The Keyboard”, it reminded me of a great bunch of co-workers I used to work with.  I can relate to what Mrs. Barron (Mr. McClung’s classroom mom) says about never touch the keyboard when training a new employee. I too, use to work in tech support and know what is like to have to train new employees. (I think it is like getting a new set of kids in your classroom.) I had an awesome team, who was always supportive and never stop amazing me with their enthusiasm for learning. I definitely believe to learn, YOU have to be the one doing it, learning is doing, doing is learning. I think it is important to focus on an individual’s strength rather than putting all the focus on their weaknesses. On our team, I tried to make sure everyone felt appreciated and I tried to make sure that everyone knew they were a valuable member of the team. (Anyone can learn, it's the teacher that helps make it happen.) I always tried to make sure everyone contributed in some way. I wanted to make sure they felt confident in the job they were doing no matter what it was. There were many times when I could have taken over the keyboard and fixed the problem myself, but I knew they would not learn from me doing that. The only time I did "take over" is when I did not know the answer myself or needed to teach myself how to do something, before guiding them along the way. There were many times where we learned together. On many occasions, I allowed them to go in the complete wrong direction without correcting them. I would wait unit they noticed and then ask them questions instead of giving them the answers. Most of the time, they figured out what to do, and how they needed to correct the problem. This gave them a sense of accomplishment and the self-confidence they needed when the next call came in. There were also times when they would just sit and look at the computer screen and silently wonder what to do. This is when I would ask them to tell me what they were thinking, so I could hear their train of thought. Most of the time they were thinking in the right direction but they just did not have the confidence to follow through with the task. Having them “think” aloud gave me the opportunity to guide them along or ask them more questions so they could in return, “teach” themselves.  I can remember this one time, I was out and when I came to work the next day, a lady I worked with and had helped many times, came up to me and said, “I missed you yesterday, but when I got stuck, I asked myself… now what would Cassie ask me? So, I asked myself questions that you would ask and I figured it out.” She was so proud of herself and it made me proud too. My goal was to teach them to be independent and confident. I am sure there were times when they frustrated me or I frustrated them, but we never let it show. If you ask me today if I missed my job, I would tell you, no. I miss my team, “my kids”.  I feel like I passed them on to the next grade and I just hope their next teacher cares about their learning as much as I did. I was a teacher then and I am a teacher now, only now, I am going to be teaching in a school with younger kids. Teaching is what I was meant to do. I am a teacher at heart and I care whether my students, no matter what their age, learn from their experiences. 
I think the whole reason Mr. McClung’s reflects about his teaching experience, is so he can become a better teacher. It is a reminder to him and his readers that teachers should always remember students are the primary focus, and we should not get lost or wrapped up in trying to put on a show or please other individuals. 
“Our decision making process should always be student centered 
and not centered around pleasing adults.”
Just like Mr. McClung, we should strive to think outside the box, communicate, listen, have reasonable expectations, let loose occasionally, and never stop learning. I think if we do this, like Mr. McClung we will be happy with the teacher we become someday soon.
mini chalkboard that says teachers plant seeds of knowledge that grow forever

Monday, March 26, 2012

C4T Post #3

For my third C4T assignment, I was assigned to comment on John Burrows blog Art Viewer. He also has three other blogs, El Jefe's Kitchen, The Burrows Perspective on Soccer, and B's Photography. He also follows many interesting blogs. I even decided to follow one myself; Techy Things Teachers Should Try. Something new added to my PLN - CHECK! 

art pallet with brushes and paints
So after exploring Mr. Burrow's blog I decided to comment on the most recent post which was Art 1 portraitsThe portraits and self-portraits were phenomenal. The likeness of each person definitely gives the viewer an idea of who the person in the drawing might be. His students should be very proud. They are extremely talented. 

The second post I commented on was Work In Progress. The piece simply took my breath away. It is an unfinished sketch of a little boy. The amount of detail the student has put into the piece really shows. It is amazing. I can't even image how beautiful the piece will be once it is completed. 

One of my favorite post on his blog was Drawing II composite pictures. They were very detailed and extremely creative. I wish I knew the story behind the assignment. 

I think Mr. Burrows uses the Art Viewer blog in such a great way. I think displaying student’s artwork on the blog is such a positive thing to do and will allow others to view and appreciate their progress. It’s like an online art museum. 

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
-Pablo Picasso 

                                                       Some Cool Art Sites For Kids                                                      
a blue head with strange and unique features
Create your own Picassohead
jungle night scene with elephant&  plants
My Jungle Creation. Click On NGAKids above to create your own jungle scene.

These are just some of my favorites. I'm sure you can come up with many more!

C4K Summary for March

Picture of Leprechaun
For March, we only had two C4K assignments, which I have to admit, was a little disappointing. I really enjoy visiting and reading "our kids" blogs; some are quite amazing to say the least!

For my first C4K assignment in March, I actually included it in my February summary. I am assuming I did this because I actually commented on her blog February 28, 2012. I did not take into consideration the post was not due until March 4, 2012 and should have been included in my March summary. Opps! With that being said, here it is again.

                   Sharon's Stupendous Blog
the world inside a nutshell

I was assigned Sharon. Sharon is in Mr. Sloan's year 6 class and from Tottenham, London. Her blog was terrifically filled with poems. She is a fantastic writer and she says her goal is to inspire others to write. I enjoyed reading through her passionate poems and look forward to reading more of her work. I commented on her most recent poem, "The World in a Nutshell" and how she sees the world beneath her eyes. It was an awesome poem filled with enriched vocabulary that engages the reader to feel what she is writing. It was very well written.

For my next C4K, I had the pleasure of reading Alisha B. 's blog. Her post on March 20, 2012, was disgusting. However, this was her purpose. She did an excellent job painting a visual picture of an awful lunch experience.

little miss muffet getting scared by a spider

Hi my name Ayana and I attend St Matthews in Leeds.This is my lunchtime. I opened my yoghurt when WHITE and green mould appeared! I moved on to my sandwich and the tragedy returned as FIFTY SPIDERS CAREFULLY PUSHED their way through the tuna! All I ever wanted was a peaceful lengthy lunch just like you do right? The best thing I ever did was deciding to move to a remarkable school called Miriam Lord. The lunchtime is just a tiny gem piece of the exquisite school. This isn’t exaggeration, it’s a marvellous piece of advice that you should follow!”

What a vivid imagination she has! I love how her post assignment allows her to be creative and fun. She did an fantastic job of making me want to vomit.

                           My Reflection

Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
I am still in awe of how talented and created some of the kids are on these class blogs. I do not limit myself to just reading the blog of the kid I was assigned. I think to get the most from our C4K assignments we should explore and read other kids blogs as well. It also gives me writing and assignment ideas I can use in my own classroom.  It is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. From exploring the blogs I found a website Tutpup. Kids can sign up and compete in fun, educational games against other kids from all over the world. This site looks so cool and sounds like a great way for kids to globally connect with others, have some fun, and learn. I would love to use a site like this with my students.