Thursday, April 28, 2011

Final Report on PLN

The first PLN that I started making somehow got deleted, so I had to start over and make another one. Luckily, I remembered a lot of the tiles that I used from the first one and I added those and more to my new PLN. Over the past few weeks I have been working to find tiles to add to my PLN. Like I said before, I had a lot of fun with this project. Before EDM 310, I did not know what a PLN was. But now this will be something that I will use in my classroom. It is a great way to keep all of your favorite and most used websites together.

The top left side of my PLN includes websites that I visit often, such as: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, the Class Blog, Student Links, GMail, Google, South Alabama Homepage, YouTube, and a few others.

The middle left side includes photo editing websites, some of which I use pretty frequently and others that I recently found while making my PLN. I use Picasa and PicNik for editing every photo shoot that I do. EDM 310 introduced me to Flickr and Aviary, and I found Foto View while making my PLN. These tiles are close to the top because photography is a big hobby of mine and I plan on bringing this hobby into the classroom. After all, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

The bottom left side are random websites that I visit less frequently, but felt like they should make it to my PLN. These websites include: SchoolTube, TeacherTube, Amazon, iTunes, Ebay, Yellow Pages, Pandora, Weather Channel, and Online Dictionary. Some are used more than others, but I wanted all of these to be on my PLN because I use them all on occasion.

The top right side includes Google sites, such as: Google Maps, Google Docs, and Google Earth. Under this row, there are websites that we have used in EDM 310 or were supposed to download to our computer. These websites include: iTunes U, Apple, Skype, Wordle, and Timetoast. There may be other websites we used in EDM 310 that are not on my PLN, but these are the ones I have used the most.

The bottom right side includes websites that I have found and thought will be useful in my classroom one day. Some of these websites I have been introduced to at the Learning Center, such as: Story Starter, Clifford, and Story Line. The rest of the websites I have either found on my own or I know of them from school, such as: PBS Teacher, PBS Kids, Dr. Seuss, Funbrain, Poetry4Kids, Brain Pop, National Geographic Kids, Scholastic, Alabama Virtual Library, Homework Helper, SMART Board, Discovery Works, and Discovery Education. These websites take up majority of my PLN because I believe I will use these tiles more than any other tiles once I get in my classroom.

The bottom middle, under Google Search, includes websites such as Mrs. Yollis' class blog, Mr. McClung's class blog, Ken Robinson's speech on Schools Kill Creativity, and Randy Pausch's Last Lecture speech. I included these tiles in my PLN because these are a few of my favorite things that we got the chance to look at in EDM 310 and I would not want to forget about these class blog's or the speech's. They all contain information that I plan to take with me in my journey with my students.

In summary, I think my PLN is very helpful to me right now, as well as, later on down the road. I have found some very insightful websites that I plan to take with me after EDM 310 and use in my classroom one day.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Summary Post C4T #4

C4T #1
I was assigned to read Mr. Tom Johnson's blog post, "Acceptable Use Committee".

Mr. Johnson's post was about banning "Pencil Predators". His post was about a few things. The first point that I got from this post was that he uses few rules in his classroom, but he knows that some are necessary, especially when using computers. Another thing he wrote about was teaching students to be "ethical critical thinkers". What a great idea, teach our students to think and make decisions on their own, using their minds!

In summary, I wrote to Mr. Johnson that there are many precautions to take while using the internet with children. But we can learn the right ways to go about using the internet. Also, he mentioned that he only has three or four rules in his classroom, a lot less than any classroom I have seen. However, he says his class runs just fine with few rules!

C4T #2
I was assigned to read Mr. Johnson's post, "5 Reasons for Leaving The Pencil Conference".

Mr. Johnson's post was about a Pencil Conference that he went to and left early because of 5 main reasons. I listed the few reasons that stuck out most to me. The first reason is that the presenters were unapproachable and claim to love social media teaching tools but do not want you to send them anything making them have to use the tools. A second reason is the presenters were arrogant and he felt as if they were trying to "change" him as a teacher. They did not ask questions because they already "knew it all". A third reason is that no matter how good of an idea something was in the past they will not recognize it to be a good idea. They see it as in the past and only see good ideas now.

After reading Mr. Johnson's 5 reasons for leaving the Pencil Conference early, I can not say that I blame him. Who wants to sit through a class/conference where the presenters know it all and make no mistakes? No one knows everything and everyone makes mistakes. We can never learn to much about anything. That is part of growing and learning!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

C4K Summary # 7, 8, 9, 10

For my seventh C4K, I was assigned to watch a video on Mr. McClung's blog page about students doing a intermission for an event called World Festival. World Festival is an event that his students get to be apart of where they show off their projects from the year to their parents, grandparents, other teachers, and other students. One of Mr. McClung's teaching methods is getting his students to work together in groups, which he shows at the World Festival.

For my eighth C4K, I was assigned to a student named Cohen. Cohen's blog was not working, so Dr. Strange asked me to pick another student. I chose to write on a student's blog named Lucy. Lucy is a Year 6 student at Epping Heights in New South Wales, Australia. I commented on Lucy's blog post called, "Talking & Listening Task: Rainforest". This is a video of her presenting facts about the Rainforest to her class. In her presentation, she talks about why you should reduce, reuse, and recyle to save the Rainforest. She gave examples of how to save the Rainforest by doing these three things. Also, she named some of the animals that live in the Rainforest. Lucy defines a canopy and ecosystem in her video. In my post to Lucy, I told her how nice her blog looked and how well she did on her video presentation. Also, I told her that I espcially liked that she mentioned the jaguar in her video; because the University of South Alabama's mascot is a jaguar!

For C4K #9 we were all assigned to thoroughly read and look through Ms. Yollis' class blog. Ms. Yollis' is a third grade teacher in California. She recently finished her Master's Degree in Integrating Technology in the Classroom to help her improve the use of technology in anyway she can with her students.

One thing that I really love about Ms. Yollis' class blog is that her students are featured in all of the videos that I watched. You can tell her third graders love being in the videos and they look like they are having so much fun. One of the videos I really liked is the five tips for writing a quality comment. The best part of this video, in my opinion, is at the end when the student is talking about the last step, which is to proofread. He is informing whoever is going to write a comment about the punctuation you should use. I like seeing the third grader inform us on how to proofread because this shows Ms. Yollis' has taught him something that he would like to share with others!

As I browsed through Ms. Yollis' class blog I found Exploration of North America. These giant maps are an awesome teaching tool! It looks like these students learned so much from the map of North America and Asia. Ms. Yollis class made videos of their trip to North America and Asia, in which they learned new facts about the continent they were discussing! Ms. Yollis allowed her students to dress up to show more about where they were on the continent. The videos from these projects looked like her students took a lot of time learning about the continents to put the videos together.

Just reading the comments that these students are writing is amazing. They are in the third grade and are writing on such a higher level. Ms. Yollis is doing a great job in helping her students learn to write and blog early in school! It is easy to see from the comments from parents and grandparents that they are very proud to see what their children are doing.

I am so thankful for EDM 310 introducing us to teachers, like Ms. Yollis' and many others, who are making such an incredible impact in the lives of their students by using technology. The teachers Dr. Strange have introduced us to, through blogging, are the kind of teachers that we all should strive to be like. I am able to take so much from Ms. Yollis' class blog and incorporate ideas that I like into my future classroom. It is a great feeling to know that there are some teachers out there that are willing to advance their classroom with technology!

For my tenth C4K, I was assigned to write on a student named Jaden's blog from Mrs. Yollis' class. Jaden is in the third grade and is already learning so much through blogging. He wrote on our class blog and is so excited to get to blog with college-level students. His blog post was about a Clippers vs. Mavericks game that him and his dad got the chance to go to. He loves basketball and wants to be a NBA player when he grows up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blog Assignment #13

ALEX, The Alabama Learning Exchange, is a website designed for teachers, administrators, parents, and students, to have all of their needs met through this one resource. This website is produced by the Alabama Department of Education. Its goal is for teachers in Alabama to gain knowledge from other teachers that share their expertise on this website. ALEX provides information for teachers such as: lesson plans, web recourses, professional learning, podcasts, and more. This website is set up so that it is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for.

The homepage on ALEX has seven links to help you navigate around the website. They are courses of study, web resources, lesson plans, search, personal workplace, professional learning, podcast treasury, and ALEXville. Lesson plans are available for any subject, as well as, any grade K-12. Teachers, who have an account, are able to post lesson plans from any category that they chose on ALEX for other teachers to see and even use. Also, podcast are available for any grade or subject and there are tons of videos to chose from after you pick a subject. Teaching tools and tips for technology tools are available on the website as well.

I think ALEX is a teaching tool that teachers should use to their advantage in their classroom. The website is easy to access and has a search tab if you need help. I love the idea of a website where teachers are able to make lesson plans and podcasts and share their information with other teachers. Alabama Learning Exchange seems like a very useful tool to use while teaching.

Access Distance Learning is available to all Alabama public high school students and access to high quality instruction, quality learning opportunities, and greater equity for all Alabama high school students through technology in the 21st century. On the Access Distance Learning website, you will find courses taught on video from highly qualified teachers. The Access Distance Learning has many goals. Some include providing access to advanced diploma courses, providing access to additional course offerings, providing access to Advanced Placement and dual enrollment, providing access to remediation resources, providing teachers with multimedia and tools to enhance instruction, and others.

Access has many awards an accomplishments. Some are more than 100 teachers have been trained in e-learning course delivery, increased enrollment to over 9,000 per year in 174 high schools, awarded 70 grants to Alabama high schools to implement a 21st century distance learning classroom, increased the number of courses by 50 with 5 foreign language and 10 AP courses. So this leads us to the future of Access Distance Learning, which is to provide a 21st century distance learning classroom for every Alabama high school and to have the capacity to serve 45,000 enrollments.

Access started on November 1, 2004 and was planned by Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Distance Learning. The main goal of Access id to "provide equal access to high quality instruction to improve student achievement through distance learning opportunities." Another gaol that Access has is to provide greater equity for all Alabama high school students through distance learning technology and to a wide range of courses that are unavailable to a lot of Alabama high school students today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Final Project Progress Report

For my groups final project (Project 16), we are working on a documentary (A docu-drama as Alexa likes to call it) that is based on the final performance for the semester of The USA Show Choir.

The USA Show Choir has been asked to perform at a PTA Meeting / Reading Rally in order to create excitement for the children of St. Elmo Elementary School.

Brandon Caten is working with the show choir to teach the music and choreograph each song while Alexa Howie and I will be recording video and sound plus interviewing for the video.

Together we will combine the videos and create a documentary that shows you just what it takes to create a show and make a big impact, even if it is a small one!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Assignment #12

Since Dr. Strange questions using Facebook in EDM 310, I decided to do this assignment on why Facebook can be helpful in the classroom. Hopefully, the videos I chose will help him with his decision.

First, I found a video about a teacher named Sara Romeyn who teaches AP U.S History. Watch this YouTube video and write about what this project was all about and what you liked or did not like about her project. Also, would you use something like this with Facebook in your classroom?

Sara Romeyn made a History project for her students to find information on a person from history and make them a fan page on Facebook. The students had to make statuses like they were the person writing them from the past. They loaded video's, music, information on what their person did, and one student posted his status in Morse Code. Students became so involved in this project that Ms. Romeyn said they were posting things late at night on the weekends! This project sounds like a great way that she got her students to learn new things about important people from the past, and her students had fun in the process.

The second video I found was made for a BYUH technology class. It is based on Facebook and why it would be a useful teaching tool in the classroom. Watch this video and write about the things you saw about why or how Facebook could be used in the classroom.

Facebook is one of the biggest social networking sites, with information posted all of the time. It has over 500 million active users. Facebook would be useful in the classroom because you are able to find friends in your classroom, chat with classmates, answers question students have about homework or other assignments. Others things Facebook would allow students to do would be projects on Facebook, reading Newsfeed, and communicating with other teachers. Teachers could post homework assignments, projects, or other assignments on Facebook because students would be more willing to check there than the school website.

Hope this helps your future decision with whether or not to use Facebook in EDM 310 Dr. Strange!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Project #14 Teach Someone Something

For my Teach Someone Something project, I chose to teach Charla how to make a scrapbook page. Although the video turned out to be a little lengthy, I think it got the main point across of me teaching her how to design a scrapbook page. She loved being in the video and had a lot of fun making her page. Scrapbooking is a huge hobby of mine, so this is the reason I chose this idea for my project. Also, in my future classroom I plan to have a scrapbook for each student and throughout the year they will make their book of what they do and learn in my classroom to take home at the end of the year!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Assignment #11

Being an Elementary Education major I especially loved the Little Kids...Big Potential video. It has always been my dream to have Kindergarten or First graders in my future classroom, and now I am learning to make something like this video come to life in my room. It is unbelievable to see these students at such a young age blogging and posting their assignments online. They love blogging and it is helping them learn so much. The students know the rules about blogging, like what you do and do not say on someones post. They are aware of internet safety and aware that you do not share personal information because it could be dangerous. The students tell how they are learning sight words, math, and even how to read by links their Ms. Cassidy post on the blog. This class, like Mr. McClung's class, is learning with groups of other students.

These students are even using Skype in their classroom! I have only used Skype a few times, yet they are in First grade and already using it to learn. Another thing that I really liked about this video was at the end there were pictures of the students teaching the class. I visited a Elementary school in Mobile a few months ago and the teachers let their students teach their class. These students were Pre-K to Kindergarten teaching other students about the Alphabet and it was really fun to watch. It is so awesome to see how engaged these young students are in learning through technology and also how much time the Ms. Cassidy is putting into helping her students learn. Little Kids...Big Potential fascinates me and gets me so excited about making this happen in my future classroom!

One of the techniques that I would like to use in my classroom would be blogging. Ms. Cassidy says blogging is different from pencil and paper because with blogging you have an audience. Students are able to post their work onto their blog and get feedback, not only from their teachers but other students, family members, other teachers, and more. She said her students love to blog because it is so different than the ordinary way of learning in the classroom. She explains that as a young student it is very powerful to see that hundreds of people are reading what you post on your blog. It makes the students really excited and to want to post more.

The thing that I like the most about Ms. Cassidy is that when she was starting out she did everything she could to bring technology in her room. She was very excited about her students learning through technology and she tried to learn as much as possible before her students started in her room. She said in the Skype Conversation that she does not really use a lot of technology at home, which means that she cares enough to bring it to her room for her students to learn. Ms. Cassidy is a teacher that is worth looking up to and I am going to strive to one day teach like she does.

Special Assignment: Mr. McClung's World

1. The way Mr. McClung constructed his class blog shows that he really likes to bring technology into his classroom. He uses his blog to show off what his students are doing in his classroom for parents, students, and others to view. In Mr. McClung's class, his students learn through group and partner work, which I really like and will use in my classroom. Mr. McClung makes it very easy for everyone to view his blog and find just what they are looking for.

2. Mr. McClung seems like he has many great qualities of a truly passionate teacher. He believes in working in groups and teams, which I think is such an awesome way for students to collaborate and share ideas with one another. You are able to learn so much when in a group because each student has something different to offer and share. Mr. McClung says that he believes it is hard for students to learn through traditional ways of learning. After years of going to school, listening to lectures, taking notes, studying material, and taking tests, students begin to get bored with the same ways of learning. Teachers must work hard in keeping students engaged in their classroom so they are excited to learn. The best thing, that I have found out about Mr. McClung, is that he loves to keep learning fun in his classroom. From his posts and assignments that we are able to see, it looks like he is very fun, engaging, and passionate in everything he does with his students. Someone with so much love for teaching has to be a wonderful educator.

"I’m a very avid supporter of technology in the classroom and try my best to implement technology as much as possible in my everyday instruction."

3. Mr. McClung's "rules" are pretty basic rules for an everyday classroom. His expectations, listed at the beginning, are so cool because they are all about listening and talking in his classroom. On a list of expectations for a classroom you rarely see "I expect you to talk in class". I really like that Mr. McClung has this on his expectation list because it shows how important group and partner work is to him, in his classroom.

The addition of Mr. McClung's rules is where it gets interesting! As a future Elementary teacher, I would love to incorporate some of his ideas in my classroom. Not only because they seem like a lot of fun, but also because they seem very engaging. The first procedure that I would like to bring to my classroom would be using gestures when learning and making my students do this in return. I am a visual learner, learning just seems easier that way for me. So I can completely see how using gestures myself and making my students do them could be a learning experience. Another procedure I would like to bring to my classroom would be Teach-OK. Students listening to Mr. McClung and then in return having to teach what the just learned to their neighbor sounds like a good way to get students involved with their students, as well as, helping them remember what they just learned. The last procedure that I would really like to use in my classroom is the Scoreboard game. What a great way to reward your students at the end of the day! We have fun games and rewards for our kids at the Learning Center and I have always wanted to use some of the teachers ideas in my classroom because you can tell a difference in your students after you reward them for good behavior. I can see how these rules and procedures could work in a classroom and I really can not wait to use some in my room!

4. The first thing under Everyone needs is a day planner. Everyone needs a planner to keep up with assignments that are due or tests that are coming up. I feel that a day planner should be a requirement in the classroom, even at an early age in school. The earlier teachers help their students get familiar with a planner, the better it will be on them in the long run. I'm not sure what I would do without our upcoming assignments on Google Docs for this class. It is sort of like our calendar for EDM 310 and it is very helpful in reminding me what I need to get busy working on. I think Mr. McClung requiring a day planner for his students is a really good idea.

5. Mr. McClung says that he tries to keep homework at a minimum as possible for his students, so I feel that the penalties for it being late are fair. In my classes I have always remembered having consequences if my homework was not turned in on time. I think having penalties for late work will make your students strive that much harder to get their assignments accomplished on time. Also, I think it helps to keep students from procrastinating. If they truly care about school and their grades, then they will stay on top of their homework and other assignments so the consequences will not happen. Having penalties in your classroom prepares your students for the years to come. It will help prepare them for high school and college.

I believe Dr. Strange's penalties are like Mr. McClung's for the most part. However, they are a little different because we do not see our grades until the end of the semester, making us work that much harder toward our final grade. EDM 310 is a perfect example of a college class where students are required to get their assignments done by themselves on time. We have Google Docs to help remind us of what is coming up so that we do not forget or procrastinate. Lab assistants and Dr. Strange are here to help if we have questions and the lab is always open. For the most part, Mr. McClung and Dr. Strange's assignment penalties are about the same.

6. In my opinion, Mr. McClung is making many parents very happy with what he is doing with his blog and how he is involving his students online. Also, I'm sure as a parent it is so reassuring to know what is going on in your child's life at school and what they are learning in their classroom. They way Mr. McClung has everything set up on his blog is so easy for parents to keep up with whats going on. Parents are able to go on the blog and find videos of what their children are doing, which I'm sure makes them so proud!

Mr. McClung says that his blog is a daily newsletter online for parents and even students. He says the blog is what drives technology in their classroom. Parents are able to come on the class blog and see what their child needs for school and the games, procedures, and rules that their children are doing. Allowing parents to view the blog is a great way of communication and keeping them connected with you, the teacher, as well as, their child.

7. As a scrolled down the Useful Links, I clicked on many but wanted to keep searching until I found just the two I wanted to post on here. There are a lot of good links on Mr. McClung's blog. The first one that I really found interesting was Stixy. Stixy is basically a website that saves your "sticky notes". Stixy is an online bulletin board where you can create notes, upload photos, add documents, or add your todo list. You can share your webpage with you friends so they can see these things to. Stixy allows you to customize your bulletin board however you like. The second Useful Link I found was Scholastic Story Starter. This website is actually on my PLN. I found this site while making my PLN and really loved it. Basically, Scholastic Story Starter is a helpful site to get students excited about writing. It has hundreds of combinations to help students in grades 1-4 get started writing. With the Spin lever, students are able to produce a topic that they should write on. If you do not like a section of the topic you can even set the Spin lever to a specific part in the sentence to change. If this explanation is confusing, go try it out for yourself! It really is fun and I think it will be helpful in the classroom.

8. The internet can be very dangerous if not properly used. Without the right precautions, kids could get into serious trouble using the internet, which is why as teachers we must be on the look out at all time. We must give the right guidance to our students and watch over them as best as we can when using the internet. It is best to be overprotective when it comes to the internet and not giving out personal information.

9. After scrolling through others blog post, I found Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I decided to stop here and read more about this post since I have a love for Dr. Seuss. Mr. McClung used the Dr. Seuss book, "The Sneetches", to explain the MLK Jim Crows Laws. He split up his class into two groups, one group with stars and the other group without stars. He demonstrated how the group with stars got more attention and were treated better than the group of students without stars. By the end of the day, the group without stars started to get frustrated, which helped them to understand the point of Jim Crow Laws. This activity was really a fun way to show and teach students about Jim Crow Laws.

10. After reading more into Blogger vs. Edublog, it seems like there are quite a few differences in the two. With Edublog you are able to create and access student blogs. Students blogs can be on your blog, the teachers, and you are able to see and post their work onto your blog. Also, you are able to get to your students blogs from your blog. So your class is altogether on one blog. Another thing that I found was it seems Edublog is allowed in more schools. Some blogging sties, such as Blogger, have been banned from schools. Edublog sounds pretty cool and it looks like it makes your blog easily organized and easy for students and parents to find what they are looking for.

11. Mr. McClung's blog is extremely helpful to the classroom. He is using his blog in a way that is very easy for students, teachers, parents, and others to browse and find anything that they are looking for. Mr. McClung is very organized with his blog so there is no confusion trying to find things on his blog. The class blog is so helpful for parents to be able to see what their children are doing at school. Also, with the syllabus on his blog it is easy for parents to look online to find the material that their children need for school instead of using paper! I think Mr. McClung is making many proud parents. Proud that their children have him as a teacher and proud of what he is helping them to accomplish in his classroom.

12. Mr. McClung's blog is different from other blogs because he has made a blog for students, parents, teachers, students not in his classroom, and others. His blog is very easy to browse around and find any information that you need. Mr. McClung's blog is not only for students, but it is a guideline that parents can read too.

13. I am highly impressed with Mr. McClung's blog and can not wait to use the links I have found and try out some of the Procedures in my own classroom one day. I am so glad that we all got the opportunity to check out Mr. McClung's blog because he has a lot to offer us as future educators.