Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post #10...What I Learned from Randy Pausch!!!

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture 

I can honestly say that I learned a lot from this last lecture. Initially when I saw that the video was an hour and sixteen minutes long, I was tempted to just skim through the video and find five or six note worthy points. Doing that I would have cheated myself out of a great lecture and some much needed inspiration. The most important things I learned from Dr.Pausch were that: Brick walls make us prove how bad we are willing to work for something, criticism is good for students and teachers, find out where the bar is for your students by challenging it, and that sometimes you just have to give people a little more time. Out of the thirty-two points that I took from this video these four are my favorite. That's not to say that the other points weren't as good but these points stood out to me the most because when I teach those are things I would want my students to take away from my class. In essence my entire course would be a head fake, and the real lessons would be those previously stated. Another thing I took away from this lecture is that you can not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes can be fixed, when Dr Pausch didn't succeed in something he tries harder and persevered until he met the goal that had evaded him. In these recent years of school I have experienced a shortage of childlike wonder when it comes to teaching. This lecture inspired me to remember what made me want to teach. Finally Dr.Pausch taught me that you can be a Tigger or an Eyore, choosing one or the other can have drastic effects on your life. Dr. Randy was a Tigger and even in the wake of imminent death he still managed to be a good and productive person.

Project #14 Lesson Plan #2

My lesson plan is called "Twisted GOvernment" and is intended for 12th grade government class. Check out my site "Cori's Project Site" for more details.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post # 9, What Can We Learn From These Teachers???

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?
Authored by: Secoria Burks, Jo Davis, and Lindsay Stewart

1. Brian Crosby, Agnes Risley Elementary School, Sparks, Nevada, “Back to the Future”

In this video, Brian Crosby discusses how his class learns about hot air balloons, and how his students took learning to a higher level.  Mr. Crosby discussed the entire project of his students building and learning about hot air balloons.  The project was an eye opener in getting students to be involved in the entire learning process.  First, research was performed, then testing, after this, the actual building of the hot air balloon was completed.  In each step, Mr. Crosby’s students are blogging, making videos, collaborating, and connecting and sharing their learning with the entire world. So, what can we learn about teaching and learning from Mr. Crosby and his class?  Mr. Crosby shows us that it’s not about a race through learning or a race to get good test scores.  He teaches us that learning enrichment is part of everyday learning, and through enrichment and project based learning, students learn in their own way the things necessary to not only improve test scores but to also obtain a first rate education.  Mr. Crosby gave an interesting quote from a David Coen on the way schools now handle teaching kids “the basics.” Many schools just drill basics and then move on to enrichment learning afterwards. Using Coen’s quote to support his thoughts, Mr. Crosby says it shouldn’t be this way. “The basics” can be taught more discreetly and the children learn better when taught through more meaningful experiences such as Mr. Crosby’s project. The students in this class thrived from the attention they received from comments and sharing around the world, and the video gave a clear picture of how students are more motivated to learn when technology and collaboration are part of the experience. Mr.Crosby does something in this video that I really admire. He addressed his students presumed handicaps, his students were impoverished, second language learners,who were largely disconnected from the environment they lived in. Making the point that if students don’t understand their role in the scheme of things, that it would be hard for them to find that spark needed to imagine, be creative, and to be passionate. My favorite project was “High Hopes.” This project directly targets the problem with the disconnect by asking the students to include their community and their passions. Another thing I learned from Mr.Crosby is that by building a large learning network students makes learning more interactive and more rewarding.  

2. Mr. Paul Andersen, high school AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana. “The Blended Learning Cycle”

Paul Anderson talks to us about the “Blended Learning Cycle” in this video.  Mr. Anderson begins by showing us blended learning combines online, classroom, and mobile settings.  He then presents the learning cycle with these steps: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluating at all points.  Mr. Anderson combines the blended learning atmosphere with the learning cycle to illustrate the complete “Blended Learning Cycle.”  In the complete cycle students will do the following steps concerning the science lesson/project: 1. Question 2. Investigate 3. Video 4. Elaborate 5. Review 6. Summary Quiz.  He summarizes this process with the helpful acronym QuIVERS. In each of these steps the students explore in depth the lesson being presented through working hands on and learning via the web.  Mr. Anderson gives examples of some of the questions he poses to his students and how they work through them using the “Blending Learning Cycle.”  What can we learn from teaching and learning from Mr. Anderson?  It is good to have a process to use on different lessons/projects, and a way to mark learning via the summary quiz.  The “Blended Learning Cycle” is a tool that can be used in lesson planning to assure use of all resources available. Another thing we can learn from Mr.Anderson is that one really good way to start any lesson is to pose a question. Or that it really doesn’t have to be a question, it should just produce a conundrum for the students. One last thing we can learn from Mr. Anderson is actually how he started his video. He addresses the fact that he evaluated his teaching methods from the previous term and adjusted them according to his desires, values, and inspirations from other educators. The willingness to consider your own work and change it is an incredibly important thing to consider.  

3. Mark Church, “Making Thinking Visible”

In this video Mr. Church challenges his students to create a headline for what the search and puzzle is of the question, “What is human origin all about?”  The students are put into discussion groups to come up with headlines for the question, and then each group creates their headline.  The headlines are displayed in the classroom, and then after learning about the search for human origin the headlines are reviewed a second time.  This allows the students to see if they would change their headline after learning about the topic.  What can we learn about teaching and learning from Mr. Church?  We learn group work and collaboration brings out different points of view, and displaying the headlines helps to create a visual of the learning that is taking place.  This collaborative thinking Mr. Church had his students do is fantastic exercise in critical thinking. Analyzing and thoughtfully discussing with others in this fashion is a great facilitator of learning. Mr. Church employed another great technique when he had the students go back and consider their headlines again to see how and if their thoughts/feelings/ideas had changed. These methods and thinking lead to more actively thinking students. This is a great example how allowing students to independently explore is a necessity. Mr. Church placed a fairly vague and open question. The students had to decide what was important to them, what they wanted to gain from this section. As they go throw this section they will attempt to answer the question, and the banner they made gives them a starting point.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Project # 9, Podcast by Lindsay Stewart, Jo Davis, and Secoria Burks

Blog Post #8

Learning Tools for the 21st Century
Authored by: Secoria Burks, Jo Davis, Lindsay Stewart

This week, we explored tools that we could use in our future classrooms; we have listed a few here, and will describe in detail our favorites. Grockit gets your students connected in study sessions on a social site.  Schoology is another site where teachers can connect with other educators as well as their students to stay connected.  Funbrain is a site with educational games, and Knewton is an adaptive learning site that personalizes the students’ learning experience based on their individual needs.  Quizlet is a great tool where you can make your own flashcards, or teachers can make flashcards and share them with the class.  Glogster is a site that helps you gather all data about a topic on an interactive, multimedia poster that can be shared publicly. Evernote is a useful tool that helps you organize all of your resources in one place. Diigo is another tool that assists in organizing all of your tools and resources; you can collaborate with others, highlight important information and keep everything in one place.  There are three more tools that we found very useful; we have described them below.

Edmodo- "Where Learning Happens"
Authored by: Lindsay Stewart

Edmodo is an awesome resource that can be used in any classroom.  Its interface reminds me of Google in the way that is structured.  Teachers can create a virtual classroom for their students by creating an account and providing group codes to each participant.  After the students sign up, they are brought to their personal page that is not only functional but very appealing to the eye.  The site feels like a combination of Google and Facebook (and what student does not like Facebook?).  Students can comment on others’ posts and vote on questions posed by the teacher.  The teacher can share documents and keep track of the progress their class is making.  Overall, Edmodo would be a useful tool in any classroom, but it would certainly be a great addition to my high school literature class.  I cannot wait to use it with my own students soon.  The video below shows an example of how you can use Edmodo in your Language Arts classroom.  

Digital History-”Using New Technologies to Enhance Teaching and Research”
Authored by: Jo Davis

When I first stumbled upon Digital History while looking for online history sources, I almost dismissed immediately as boring and generic. But something about the big empty timeline of the webpage intrigued me. As I investigated the site more I realized it is a fantastic, unique, and easy to use tool. As previously stated, the site at first seems to be nothing more than a large empty timeline of America from pre-1492 spanning into the 21st Century. But upon further investigation i realized that the empty tiles of the timeline were not merely empty tiles but cells functioning as links! On the top of the timeline there are dates and in the background are images that correspond with these dates (which is very visually appealing), and on the left side of the time line are four rows reading: media, documents, textbook, teaching. You use the timeline to find the desired period and then click the cell under the date that corresponds with the medium that you are seeking. Digital History provides an amazing amount of resources on every period available. Having the resources separated into media, documents, textbook, and teaching makes this an immensely useful tool. I will undoubtedly be using Digital History as an aide in the near future.

Timetoast- "Create Timelines and Share Them to the Web"
Authored By Secoria V Burks
Timetoast is a tool that allows teachers and students both the opportunity to build interactive timelines.  Since I plan on teaching history it is comforting to know that I have a tool to help organize and present large spans of time. When first engaging Timetoast, you have to set up an account, there are plans you can pay for, or you can use the free one. To get a better feel of the site, I signed up for a free trial account; I began making my own timeline. This site is great for PBL or anything that requires research. In order to make an accurate and interesting timeline you would have to find precise dates and try to get as many details as possible. Another feature to this site is the ability to view timelines that have already been made by category. You can add groups to your dashboards and interact with them or even collaborate on timelines. While I was not able to use all the features of this site (due to my subscription status) I can say that this site is a wonderful tool for teachers and students of History, Literature, Art, and Science.
students on a globe with different teaching tools above their heads

Friday, October 11, 2013

C4T #2

My teacher for this set of C4T was Mike Kaechele. He is social studies teacher in Grand Rapids, Michigan at a school that is demonstrating Project Based Learning (PBL). I found his posts to be very insightful as he is a secondary/ social sciences teacher, and thats what I'm working to be. I would recommend his blog to anyone seeking advice in either of those areas. 

Assessing Maps with Google Earth 
By Mike Kaechele
      Hi, My name is Secoria Burks and I’m a junior at the University of South Alabama. My major is Secondary Education and History. As an assignment  in EDM310, I am going to comment on your posts this week and I will be summarzing two of your posts on our class blog.  

This is a great way to use PBL and as an aspiring history teacher I really admire the creativity of this assignment. I am still becoming aware of and used to all google apps, and upon reading your post I decided to check Google Earth out. It’s really neat, you can view the entire world and then some in 3D. There are tools for Imagery, Trees, historical imagery, the ocean, buildings, Mars, the Sky, the Moon, and so much more. It’s a great tool for all subjects.

New Rule 
By Mike Kaechele
     I can really appreciate it when a teacher gives students the opportunity to show maturity. Taking away the need for your permission to use the restroom shows your students a little about what it means to be a trusted adult. I can remember being in high school, and thinking to myself that I’m no longer three years old I don’t need anyone to let me go to the restroom. As a teacher I hope to be able to trust my students the same way.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

C4K for September 2013

Comment #2: For Preston
     Hey Preston, are you describing a BMX race. I’ve always enjoyed watching those races. I am a junior in college at the University of South Alabama and I am also a roller derby player. I play for the Mobile Derby Darlings , and they are my favorite team in our league.

Comment #3 For Brooklyn
     Hey Brooklyn, My name is Secoria Burks. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in America. I like your post it sounds like you really enjoyed your camp. I think it's really cool that you guys went kayaking. I am afraid to try to you did it is kind of inspiring. Also I love your background for your page.

For the month of September I olnly have two C4K's, I missed the first but the two I did were very interesting my kids were from New Zealand and South Carolina. It was neat to see all of the work that Brooklyn had done and the few post that Preston had were very creative.

Blog Post # 7, What Can We Learn From Anthony Capps??

Conversations with Anthony Capps 
By  Jo Davis, Lindsay Stewart, and Secoria Burks  

Project Based Learning, Part 1
            Anthony Capps provides us with guidance regarding Project Based Learning. In the first video, he gives us an overview of this type of learning. Anthony tells us instead of assigning a project to summarize a lesson that we need to use project based learning as part of the actual lesson. He states he follows the ACCRS standards to assure his project will meet curriculum needs. Anthony also explains that getting others involved (family, community) will bring a learning based project full circle. He provides very useful examples such as peer-editing and peer-selection as an exercise in classroom democracy that truly lets the kids be a part of the whole experience. This very involved form of learning is extremely beneficial in the learning process. In addition, we get an example of how Project Based Learning will benefit the teacher as well and grow our knowledge. 

 Project Based Learning, Part 2 
     In this conversation with Anthony, he gives us another example of using Project Based Learning. In the project, Anthony wanted his students to provide a narrative from the perspective of living in Afghanistan. He explained that the outcome was phenomenal; students focused on food, clothing, and other cultural elements. Anthony had one parent who did not agree with the project assigned, and that child was allowed to do a project on a different topic. This showed us that we can make adjustments to our learning plan if needed, as long as the standards are still being met. In this particular project, the results were shown to a group of parents, and the parents were in awe of the abilities and skills shown in producing the projects. And with this, Anthony gives us the tip to never limit our students, because often they will go above and beyond the expectations, and we will be amazed. He also states that his students enjoy Project Based Learning, and he looks to their feedback to shape his future lessons. In addition, Anthony has the backing of his administration in using Project Based Learning in his daily lessons, and he is currently helping to develop a Project Based Learning template to use statewide. 

     In this video, Anthony talks about the iCurio website and how he uses it in his classroom. iCurio is a curated website that his students use like a search engine to find approved content that meets ACCRS standards. Although he is a third grade teacher he made it clear that iCurio would be useful to all grade levels and subjects. He stated his students use iCurio to organize their data as well, and this allows the students to practice using online storage tools so that once leaving the classroom they will have a new skill of using online organization tools. The iCurio site is a safe site for students, and it has many resources including accessibility options. Anthony gives us tips on how to search in iCurio as well, and he explains how the directory in iCurio makes it easier for students to search for the specific information they need. 

Discovery Ed 
     The Discovery Ed video shows us the importance of using Discovery Ed. Anthony tells us Discovery Ed has almost everything you can think of in terms of resources for Science and Social Studies. The videos found on Discovery Ed allow experts to deliver information to the students, and these videos enhance classroom learning and keep the students engaged. Accompanied with reading, the videos and resources found on Discovery Ed increase the students’ understanding of what is being studied. The aforementioned videos give us an overview of Project Based Learning and some of the tools/resources we can use to enhance Project Based Learning in our classroom. The real-life scenarios and experiences that Anthony gives us will assist in our own formation as a teacher.

The Anthony- Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1
By Jo Davis
Dr. Strange returns with his good friend Anthony Capps in this video to discuss things that are vital for a teacher, especially a new teacher. I found this video very interesting and Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps together constructed an excellent list of factors that teachers should most certainly take into consideration. They ultimately ended up with a list a little something like this:
  1. Work hard
  2. Be a learner
  3. Have fun doing it
  4. Be flexible
  5. Know the importance of Review

These were the main points Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps discussed and they went into some depth on why each of these were key for teachers. I really liked how they were sure to hit on the fact that it is vital for a teacher to be open for the ongoing experience of learning. I believe this is very important and we all must certainly realize that teaching is itself a great learning experience. I also thought the importance they placed on being flexible was fantastic. Being flexible is essential to successful execution as of course things will never go the way you plan it exactly, and its foolish to operate on such an assumption. Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps cover these points and even more in the video, and I would definitely suggest that anyone interested in education should check it out.
group of teachers in a seminar

Dont Teach Tech-Use It
By Lindsay Stewart

Technology in the classroom is still controversial, but it is vital to the learning process.  Anthony tells us how to incorporate technology into our lessons without “teaching” technology.  There should not be a checklist for technology lessons; rather, technology will be used in each subject, and the use of different technologies will assist students throughout their learning process.  Anthony teaches us that scaffolding the use of technology can be beneficial to the students in gradually becoming experts on using different technological tools.  The advice Anthony gives regarding technology is valuable and should be considered by all teachers.  Technology is not going away, and we need to embrace it in a way that our students see the value for themselves.

Additional Thoughts About Lessons
By Secoria Burks

In general I have enjoyed all the conversations between Dr.Strange and Mr.Capps. In this video Capps breaks lessons down into a matryoshka doll. Your lesson plans should ultimately fit into your year. How do you go about making sure this happens? First plan your curriculum year, so when you are making lesson plans you can make sure you’re going to hit all the marks on your map. Next, divide your goals into units. This will allow the lessons to flow in a more coherent way. Then, plan your goals for your week, try making every day functional so that your weekly goal will be met. Finally, you plan your day, how to get kids hooked and how to measure the improvement. At the center of every
matryoshka doll there is a small piece that is usually painted as a baby. Going by Capps example your lesson would be that baby, well rounded and secure.