Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post 16

growing brain         After looking at my blog post number 1, I can truly say I am still happy with what I wrote. I would definitely add some things to each category. Under "what do you want your students to be able to do?", I never said anything too specific. Now, I can confidently add that I want them to be able to use an iPad effectively and blog independently. Those are things that students will have to work towards, but I want my students able to do it. My second section can be left as is. The third section, "what tools will you use in your classroom?" needs a few changes. I want everything in that section, but more! The tools I will be adding are blogs, podcasts, and book trailers. I loved all of those activities. Each one involves the student and there are a ton of educational benefits.
        Education and technology are constantly changing. I can assure you that if I look back on this blog post (and the first) I would make a million changes. Teachers, and students for that matter, are always looking for a new and improved way of doing something. I think that is the beauty of education, it is always growing.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blog Post 15

by: Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

        This week we were asked what assistive technologies are available to us as teachers? As a future special education teacher, we have learned about several technologies available to us throughout this semester. This week we learned about a few more by watching a few different videos. The videos we watched were assistive technology for vision and hearing impaired children , iPad usage for the blind and teaching mom what her deaf/blind child is learning on the iPad         Two of these videos covered VoiceOver for the iPad. This technology also people who are blind to navigate around the iPad very easily. The person simply has to slide there finger over the iPad and VoiceOver will tell which app you are on. VoiceOver will then tell you to double tap your finger to open the app. It was fun watching the mom figure out the iPad and learning what her deaf/blind child already knows in the video teaching mom what her deaf/blind child is learning on the iPad
      In iPad usage for the blind, it was also amazing to watch Wesley Majerus, an Access Technology Specialist for the National Federation for the Blind, work the VoiceOver on the iPad. Wesley taught us the iBooks on the iPad has read aloud textbooks, something that Nook and Kindle do not have. Wesley said it was very liberating to be able to search and read books of his choice.
        Assistive technologies are going to be a huge part of our day-to-day routine as a special education teacher. Every person deserves to be included in the lesson and able to interact with the environment around him or her. As educators, we need to remove as many barriers as possible in the classroom. We need to be open to new technologies that help all the students with special needs!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Post # 14

I suggest this post for the beginning of the semester: Write about an event in your life that has influenced you to become an educator in the subject/grade level you are planning.

      I will be teaching Elementary Special Education after I graduate. I have known I want to teach Special Education for 6 years. This started when Camp SMILE became a part of my life. UCP's Camp SMILE is a summer camp in West Mobile for children and adults with disabilities. I started volunteering at camp when I was 16, and my life has been forever changed. Working with people who have disabilities showed me what I was meant to do with my life. I was shown how to love, be patient and have the most fun I have ever had. At camp, everyone is seen as the person they truly are, nothing less. The campers are able to engage in normal summer camp activities and it is so amazing to see them so happy. I do not volunteer at camp to make a difference in their life, I do it because they make such a difference in mine. For me, camp is not just in the summer, it is year round. I see campers and speak to them all of the time and I am able to participate in other events as well. The friends I have made at camp are lifelong. Camp SMILE has also given me many opportunities, I am now a nanny for one of the families that go to camp and I work for UCP. Camp showed me that I want to work with people with special needs for the rest of my life. Special education will give me a sense of camp everyday, and I know I will love my job.
I didn't choose special education, special education chose me.

Project # 2 Final Report on PLN

Since my first report on my PLN, I have gained more knowledge about how Symbaloo actually works. I have added many more links and found uses for the ones that were there previously. I feel that this will be a very useful tool when I become a teacher. It showed me that there are so many resources out there and how easy is can be to use them. When I become a teacher I will find out what tools are useful and what tools are not, so I will definitely begin a new Symbaloo. This is something I will definitely use in the future!

Friday, November 22, 2013

C4T #4

For this C4T, I am assigned Joe Bower. Joe is a teacher in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Ignoring Poverty This post is about understanding that poverty takes place. Joe says that a child's needs must be addressed before they can be taught. He does not understand how so many "educators" write-off poverty. He sees poverty as an explanation for some students difficulties, not an excuse. He often hears the argument that "people choose to live in poverty." Yet he says even if this is true, no child ever chooses to live in poverty. Joe says that addressing poverty will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
my response I introduced myself as am EDM310 student from the University of South Alabama. I told Joe that I have only spent time in school for observation hours, yet I have already seen this. I cannot imagine how tough addressing poverty will be when I am actually a teacher. I told him that he made good points though. It is better to be addressed than ignored. I believe it can only help the child succeed, once they see someone does care about them. I left a link to our class blog. Here is Joe's blog link: Ignoring Poverty

Canada's Income Inequality In this post, Joe wrote about "The Wealth Paradox", which is the in cope gap in inequality effecting Canada. Joe said that "Income inequality is not just a made in America problem". Income inequality and its effects are broken down into wage gap, health care, education and recreation. Joe listed some problems under each category. He said that the problem with wage gap is that Canada's main earners keep getting richer, while average earners remain the same. In 2002, the average CEO-to-worker pay ration was 84:1. Now its 122:1. As for health care, Joe said that it is the most pronounced. Inequality is linked to the poorer health outcomes. Joe said that an estimated 1.2 million young Canadians are affected by mental illness. Only 1 in 4 gets appropriate treatment. Joe spoke about education next. He said that great teachers make great schools, but they require the support of an equitable society. Low income parents can't give their students the opportunities high income parents can give theirs. As for recreation, Joe said median incomes haven't budged in 30 years, but leisure activities, the pleasure in life, some of which have become too expensive for the majority of Canadians.
my response I told Joe I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I told him that being from the US, I can relate to all of these problems. I said that I was a future educator, and I could not agree more with the issues he addressed. I said that something needs to be done, and that he has already made a stand by simply posting this. I said that I believe as more simple minded, average income people become aware of what is happening, income inequality can be stopped. I added a link to our class blog. Here is Joe's blog post: Canada's Income Inequality

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post 13

A girl who demanded school Kekenya Ntaiya
by Meagan Freeman

fearless         Kakenya had to start preparing to become the perfect wife at just age 12. She had an arranged marriage. Kakenya woke up at 5am every morning milking cows, sweeping, cooking, and collecting firewood. Kakenya went to school and had a dream of becoming a teacher; she admired them and their lives. Kakenya had a problem: Once she reaches eighth grade she will go through a ceremony to become a woman, which means she will become a wife. Once Kakenya is a wife her dream of being a teacher cannot come true. She needed a plan. Kakenya told her father she would only attend the ceremony if he would let her go back to school. He agreed, but she did not know the circumstances. He made her get a female circumcision during her ceremony.

        Kekenya was healed after three weeks and back in High School. This event made her even more determined. She met a “well dressed” man while in high school, he was from the University of Oregon. Keyenya was accepted to Randolph Women's College, she needed support of the village for travel money. The village came together and Kekenya made it to America. As she was in school, Kekenya learned that abuse, female mutilation, and other things she had witnessed in Kenya were illegal. This infuriated her and she had to do something. Kekenya spoke to the village and wanted to give back, and the woman said they wanted a village for girls, to keep them safe. The village donated land, and a school for girls was built. Keyenya began to show before and after pictures of students, once they started school. The girls look so much happier. The girls now how many opportunities. 125 will never be mutilated, 125 girls will not be married at the age of 12, 125 girls are able to achieve their dreams because of the revolution that has been started in their community. “Be the first, because people will follow you. Be bold, stand up, be fearless, be confident”

        Overall, this video showed me that all dreams are possible. Kekenya did what no other girls in her village do, she went to college. Kekenya made a huge change. She believed in herself and wonderful things happened. Kekenya knew that going back to school would be going against the grain but she tried anyways, and she succeeded. I am amazed by her strength. She had hardships along the way but they made her stronger. Her determination made her educated about illegal things happening in her village. Through that information, she was able to help. Kekenya is saving hundreds of lives, just because one girl wanted to go to school. Education should never be underestimated.

To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful
By: Linda Check

         The video I watched this week was a poem by Shane Koyczan called, To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful . This video took my breath away. Everyone, especially teachers, should have to watch this magnificent piece. Koyczan talks about how we are told to stand up for ourselves, but how hard that is to do if you do not know who you are. He says that we are expected to define ourselves at an early age, and if we do not, others do. Kids are labeled as freaks, fatties, fags, and as kids are being told what they are, they are asked what they want to be. As kids dream big and say they want to be a writer or wrestler, the teachers they look up to are calling their ideas “stupid” or “unrealistic”. Teachers make students feel that they need to accept the identity others have given to them.

         Teachers also tend to ignore bullying and say, “Well, kids can be cruel.” This leads to the making of bullies. Koyczan became what he hated most, a bully. He had to, though, just to survive. The first line of poetry he wrote is very powerful. It is, “I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean toward the opposite.” He says that standing up for yourself does not have to mean embracing violence. I loved this, because I think it is 100% true.

         The last thing that Koyczan mentioned was the “sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you” saying. He said this was completely a lie. Being called names is the most hurtful thing a child can experience. A broken bone will heal, but being bullied will follow someone for the rest of his or her life. People that say names will never hurt them, are lying to themselves.

         I have taken away so much from this video. As a future educator, I cannot sit back and let bullying happen. I cannot say “Well, kids will be kids,” because that would be taking an easy way out of doing my actual job. I am especially worried about my students getting bullied in the future, because I want to be a special education teacher. Many typical students have never been around kids with disabilities, so I think I will have to work extra hard to make others understand that everyone is unique and beautiful. Once again, everybody should watch To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful . It is beautiful, moving, and a huge inspiration!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

C4K Summary for November

C4K # 9 This week I am assigned a 7th grader from New England, Mateo. His blog is about the story The Hobbit. He included a picture of the book. Mateo mentions that the book is one of the best loved children books of modern times. Mateo says that The Hobbit is a cool book about dwarfs, elves, goblins, and trolls. He says that this book can really suck you in.

Comment After I introduced myself, I told Mateo I think it is great he included a picture of the book. I told him he made me want to know more about the book. I gave him the suggestion to give details of the The Hobbit is such an interesting book, instead of just saying it is interesting. I also suggested that he proof read, he had a few simple mistakes. I gave Mateo a link to our class blog. The Hobbit

C4K # 10 For my last C4K, I am assigned to Peter, a third grader in Mrs. Yollis' class. Peter's post was about London. He said that his dad has been to London, and attended a Chelsea Football match. Chelsea won the game. Peter included many landmarks and facts of London. These included Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace, and London underground. He made sure to include many pictures for his viewers. Peter also included two links that tell more about London.

Comment After introducing myself, I told Peter how amazed I was at the quality of his blog post. I told him it was very informational and interesting. I told Peter I loved all of the adjectives he used, it made reading his blog even more interesting. Peter used many pictures in his blog, and I told him that is what great bloggers do. I said the pictures brought his blog to life. I told Peter that Mrs. Yollis is doing a great job making him and his classmates into wonderful bloggers. My only suggestion was to add alt tag modifiers to his pictures. I added a link to our class blog. Here is Peter's blog: Peter's blog

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project #15

Blog # 12

How to escape education’s death valley

        The first video we watched this week was ”How to escape education’s death valley, by Sir Ken Robinson. In some parts of the country, 60% of kids drop out of high school. He said if we cut this number in half, it would create a new gain for the US economy over 10 years of almost $1 trillion. Ken Robinson says that this number is only the tip on an iceberg. The number only counts the children who are actually dropping out. What about the children who are in school, but are disengaged and are not learning? He says there three principles on which human life flourishes. They are contradictory by the culture of education on which teachers have to labor and students endure. The first is that humans are naturally different endeavors. He goes on to talk about how everyone is different, yet education is based on conformity. Schools find out what kids can do across a narrow spectrum. Real education should give equal exposure to math, art, physical education, reading; etc.
         Ken speaks about the overdiagnosis of ADD. He says they are not suffering from ADD, they are suffering from childhood. If you sit children down hour after hour, do not be surprised if they start to fidget. The second principle that drives human life is curiosity. It drives students to learn. It is the “engine of achievement”. Teaching is a creative profession. Great teachers mentor, provoke, engage, and stimulate. If there is no learning, there is no teaching. This brings him to testing. A problem is that there is a big focus on testing. Yes tests are important, but standardized tests have a place: they should be diagnostic.
         The third principle is human life is inherently created. Ken Robinson states that we each create own own life though imagining outcomes. This is why we are all so diverse. He questions. what role of education gives us these powers of creativity? Our culture is a culture of standardization. He says Finland comes number 1 in math science and reading. They do not have standardized testing, and they have a broad approach to education. Finland has no dropout rate. Any time a student is struggling, the support is amazing. Ken Robinson admits you cannot compare Finland to America, but you can compare it to a state in America. The big difference in FInland is that their education is engaging, individualized, and they receive constant support. The teachers and students are the only ones who can education successful.

Ken Robsinson My group believes that Ken Robinson brings a powerful message to education. We were astonished to see that the dropout rate is 60% in some parts of the country. After Ken spoke that number not counting students who are disengaged in school, it opened our eyes even more. We spoke about how school curriculum, and how we agree it is a conformed system. Every child is different, which is why we also think all subjects should have equal exposure. We definitely think students and teachers would become more engaged but doing this.
      When Ken spoke about the overdiagnosis of ADD it really grabbed our attention. We both think that children are ADD, but children are being medicated who do not need to be. We agree with all that Ken said about that subject.
      Teaching and creativity should definitely go hand in hand. With no creativity added to lessons, students will not learn. We both think that it is the teacher's job to embrace that creativity within the student. Teachers should do all they can to help their students succeed. When Ken started to talk about Finland, we were both a little shocked. How is there no dropout rate?! The educators must be amazing.

The Importance of Creativity

         The second video we watched by Sir Ken Robinson was called, Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity. In this video, Robinson talks about how schools are literally killing kid's creativity, leaving them with what the school system dictates is important: math and language. He says that creativity is as important as literacy, and after this video, we agree. Robinson defined creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. He talked about how children are not afraid to be wrong. They take chances and sometimes come up with a piece of work, more extraordinary than any other, because of their mistake. As they grow older, however, they become scared of making any sort of mistake. We have stigmatized mistakes as the worst things people can make, but if you are not prepared to make a mistake, you will never come up with anything original.
         The story that Robinson told, that made us think the most, was a child could not stop fidgeting around, so the teachers told her parents that they thought she had a learning disability. After taking her to a specialist, the doctor questioned the mother, and then the mother and doctor left the room, after turning on a radio. When the door was shut, the child immediately got up and started to dance. The doctor turned to the mother and said, “Your child does not have a learning disability, she is a dancer!” The parents took the girl to a dance studio, and she ended up becoming a millionaire that choreographed “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera”.
         The story was so eye opening, because if it were any other doctor, he would have given the child medication and told her to calm down. Her talent would have been buried, and unfortunately that is the case is much of today’s society. We learned several things from Sir Ken Robinson. We learned to never doubt a child’s creative ability; the quiet, solitary child may be the future Picasso. We learned that if a child is fidgety, they might be the next star dancer of their time. Finally, we learned to never criticize a child’s mistake, that mistake might have been made on purpose, or it might just change your thinking on what is “right”.
         We think Sir Ken Robinson said it best when he said, "We are educating people out of their creativity." As future educators, we need to put an end the stigmatisms of what subjects we think are the only important ones, and give our students the opportunity of flourish in all areas.

Written by Meagan Freeman and Linda Check

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blog Post #11

Little Kids....Big Potential
        This video has tied together a lot of what we have been learning in EDM 310. The first part of the video showed students reflecting on their blogs. They made comments about what they liked and how it has helped them. Some of the comments included students saying blogging helps them sound out words and realize their mistakes. The students spoke about peer commenting, and why it is important to stay positive. The students spoke about different ways webpages can help them learn both at school, and at home. The video also featured the students using Skype to communicate with people in different areas. This video showed me how important blogging is to students. Yes, teachers are the ones to initiate blogging, but I did not realize how much the students enjoy it. The students in the video showed me that blogging is a wonderful way to increase literacy skills. Blogging gives students a huge sense of freedom and accomplishment. It was evident to see this when the students were talking about the comments they have received. The students also spoke about their webpages. There are a ton of beneficial learning webpages the student can pick from, and even use at home too. All of the webpages are interactive. I saw that this was another example of interacting with people in different areas. Part of the interview was a geologist explaining about rocks. The students were most likely having a lesson on different types of rocks, or something of that nature. Using outside sources is something I definitely want to do in my classroom. Mrs. Cassidy using great teaching skills.

Interview with Mrs. Cassidy
        Mrs. Cassidy starts off her interview with how she began her journey with technology; just five computers that only had internet access. She began with webpages and blogging, which has surely expanded. She began her classroom blog ten years ago, with the support of her technology coordinator. Mrs. Cassidy goes on about the identity of her students, and how they will remain safe: first names only, pictures will not match faces. The parents receive a letter at the beginning of the school year informing them that student work will be on the internet. Mrs. Cassidy says that the parents like the convenience of seeing their students work and seeing the progress. To the students, technology is natural. Mrs. Cassidy talks about blog comments and how excited her students get when receiving comments. She uses a tool that records how many page reads the students get, which motivates the students even more. Mrs. Cassidy's speaks about Twitter. She said at first it seemed irrelevant and as if no one was listening. Overtime, she found people with the same interests and you are able to help and be helped. She says once you figure out how to connect and who to "follow" it is very useful. Dr. Strange then prompts his students to ask Mrs. Cassidy questions of their own. Mrs. Cassidy says she always blogs, but depending the amount of students will determine the amount of time spent on blogs. One of the questions was about how to protect students from the internet. Mrs. Cassidy talks to her students about "safe places" on the internet. She She tells them which links they should use and which ones they shouldn't.

        So, Mrs. Cassidy is well rounded when is comes to using technology in her classroom. The first video indicated that the students were not only using the technology that, but they were actually gaining from it. The students in Mrs. Cassidy's blog seem so eager to learn. They all seemed to truly enjoy all of the feedback they receive. Every tool that Mrs. Cassidy mentioned gives her students feedback: blogs, Skype,and webpages. I would love the incorporate each of these learning techniques in my classroom. Mrs. Cassidy started out with only five computers and no help. If she was able to do it, I believe i can too, especially after all of Dr. Strange's instruction. These video's show how beneficial each of these can be. I would love to expand my students learning in every way that I can. Cassidy 13 Part 1         Cassidy 13 Part 2         Cassidy 13 Part 3

Project 12

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

C4K Summary for October

C4K #5 About Chapter 7
This week I was assigned Briana Pickle, a 5th grader from the UK. Her post was about a book her class was reading. She had to answer the questions about the book. The questions included what her personal dream was, and two other book related questions. Her dream was to be like Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Japsen. The class goal was to at least use 5 sentences this week, and answer in complete sentences. Briana did not have 5 sentences.

Comment: I introduced myself as a USA student in EDM310. I told Briana I like the way she numbered her answers 1,2, and 3. It made the post easy to read. I told her she had a big dream. One thing she could have done to add one was to explain why she likes the singers. I told her she did a good job of answering each question. Then I gave a few suggestions. I said for her not to use the word "because" at the beginning of a sentence, and to try and use more sentences in her posts. I gave her a link to our class blog. Here is a link to Briana's blog

C4K #6 7 Grade Gardening
This week I was assigned Andrew, a seventh grader from Mrs Hartooni's class. Andrew wrote about how his family has been gardening for years and how excited he is to continue the legacy. He says he wants to learn how to garden because his aunt owns a garden and he will be able to help with her garden. Andrew lives in a gated community, so his family does not have a garden of their own. He wants to show his dad that he is able to do more that just play video games. Andrew says he can tell that this is a great year to start gardening.

Comment: I told Andrew I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I told him that his post was very well though out and written. I told Andrew that is is great that he supported his idea about gardening with so many details. He kept me interested. The only suggestion I made to him was to take out one sentence in the middle about being excited about gardening, because he had already said that. I told him he is a great writer. I left a link to our class blog. Here is Andrew's blog: Andrew's Blog

C4K #7 Four Levels of a Forest
This week I was assigned Ari, a student from Alberta, Canada. Ari's blog this week noted that there are four levels of a forest. There is a Subfloor, which is the "beasment" of a forest. The next floor Ari noted was the Floor, which is the "graund". Next was the Understory, the middle part of a forest. Last, the Canopy, which is the roof of a forest. Ari included pencil drawn picture of a forest he drew.

Comment I told Ari I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in USA. I told Ari I like the was his blog post was arranged. It was made easy to read. I also told him he did a great job of listing the levels of the forest and telling what they were. I told him he may want to check his spelling, and ask for help if he is not sure how to spell a word. I told Ari I loved his drawing, it was great! I included a link to our class blog.Ari's Blog

C4K #8 What Lessons Can You Learn from the Story
This week I was assigned Amiritpal's blob, from Canada. His blog was about a story his class had read, Out of my Mind. It is about a girl with Cerebral Palsy. He explains that people with CP are born with the condition and cannot help it. Amritpal said not to underestimate people with CP. He explains Melody, the character in the book with CP. She has a photographic memory and is a lot smarter than people perceive her.

Comment: I told Amitrpal that I am a student in EDM310 at USA. I told him that he did a great job with his post. I told Amiritpal I like that he said never to underestimate people with CP. I told him I work with people who have special needs, and it is so true. I gave him two suggestions. One was that he could have explained what CP is to the readers, incase some did not know. The second was to include commas. I gave an example of one of his sentences he left out commas. I told him it is an easily fix. I also left a link to our class blog. Here is Amritpal's blog: Amritpal's Blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

C4T #3

Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum
      My C4T #3 is Kathleen Morris, a teacher at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. This post is about her use of educational blogging. Kathleen says that this is the sixth year that she has used educational blogging in her classroom. When first introducing blogging, her curriculum was very busy so she would only spend a few minutes on it. She soon realized her students were not receiving the full benefits of blogging. Kathleen began to prioritize and plan her blogging program. When she first began, the computer ratio was 1:6. Over time, her students have gained access to devices and the ratio is at 1:1.
      Kathleen explains how it is not enough to teach students literacy anymore, they must be transliterate to be prepared for the 21st century. Blogging is a way to teach traditional literacy and to teach multi-modal 21st century skills. Her students now spend 10-20 minutes a day blogging. She says it gives her students the opportunity to work on literacy conventions in an authentic, on-going text. Her students also participate in a "C4C" every week.

Comment I told Kathleen I was a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I told Kathleen how I completely agree with her method of incorporating blogging in the classroom. I explained to her I was a college senior and was just recently introduced to blogging, or any educational technology! So I told her how much her students will appreciate blogging in the future. I told Kathleen I thought it was great that after her rocky start of blogging she began to prioritize it to give her students the full benefits. She has came so far since then. I told her it seems as if she does a lot with her students to get them engaged in their blogs. I wished her luck with everything ahead of her, and posted a link to our class blog.Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum

Road Ahead

Looking Back, Looking Forward
      Kathleen explains that this is her last week teaching before maternity leave. She is figuring out what to keep and what to dispose of. She has been at the same school for almost a decade and says how much both education and she has changed. She mainly wants to dispose of worksheets. It took Kathleen to realize that worksheets are not very effective. She says the "busy work" she used to love now makes her cringe. It is now very clear to her that hands on, collaborative, open-ended tasks are higher value. More reflections Kathleen mentions about now and the future are about ideas and resources always being available. Although her PLN will always be there, she will use the internet to brainstorm for ideas. She says to use digital resources, they don't take up space! Kathleen also says prioritizing is powerful. She says although having a bright and beautiful bulletin board is great, it is not a productive use of time. She says to use that time to offer students amazing outcomes. Kathleen is excited about her future both personally and professionally. She is going to stray from blogging for a while to see if she still has the time and desire after her child.

Comment I told Kathleen that I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I told Kathleen I loved her post. I said that as a future educator, everything she mentioned was important for me to read. Worksheets do seem more like busy work, and it is great more teachers and accepting that. I told Kathleen I find it great she is all about hands on and collaborative work. I wished her luck in packing up her classroom and moving on to a new chapter in her life. Here is a link to her blog:Looking Back, Looking Forward

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog post # 10

learn teach

What can we learn about teaching and learning? Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

        I would suggest everyone to watch Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture". I believe it is a video that everyone can relate to in some way. Randy is a great speaker, and is so positive and motivational. Randy starts off his lecture with "If you had one last lecture to give before you died, what would it be?" As future educators, this is something we should all think about. We should lecture and create lessons as if it could be the last one we are able to give. Randy has since died, but had terminal cancer while giving this lecture. He says that within the lecture he would not be speaking about cancer. He did not want to be pitied. Randy only wanted to be taken serious and looked at as any other speaker.

        He was so inspirational and I feel as everyone who watches this video can relate and connect. He spoke about a few of his childhood dreams, what they meant to him, and how he achieved them. Randy taught me that motivation and perseverance is a huge part in achieving dreams. Those are two huge aspects that make up teaching and learning. Without being motivated and persevering one cannot teach or learn anything. He said we cannot get anywhere, alone; people have to help you. As a future educator, this is so true. Without teachers and students helping each other out, education would fail. We all must help each other to succeed.

        Randy showed me how important creativity is when it comes to teaching and learning. I thought about this as he spoke about painting his bedroom as a child. It made me realize that teaching does not have to be serious and structured all of the time. Children need to have the ability to show off their creative side, and teachers should let them; just as Randy's parents let him paint his room. Randy showed me that it is important to stay positive even when life is hard. He is a prime example that it is possible to do so. I love Randy's quote "The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something". This is wonderful. I think this goes hand in hand with the way we should teach and help children learn. Randy

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post # 9

Back to the Future

By Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

         In the first video we watched, Back to the Future, we met Mr. Brian Crosby. Brian Crosby is a 4th-6th grade teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Nevada. The video begins when Crosby tells the audience that 90% of his students are second language learners in poverty level homes. He also explained how less than half the class knew what city, country, and state they lived in. This shows how little his students are exposed to, both in school and in life itself. Crosby opens up a whole new world to his class, though. Oh, he makes sure to cover the state standards, but he takes it a step further by not only teaching the material, but also letting his students teach, invent, and witness the class material.

Back to the Future

         Crosby’s class has a one-on-one laptop/student ratio, which the students use to make individual blogs, Skype with students all over the world, and conduct additional research of the topics gone over in class. All of us wish to have an opportunity like this in our future classroom. These students, who live in poverty, are able to teach lessons to kids in New Zealand, because their teacher encourages and gives them the opportunity to do so. This video showed us that you cannot judge a student’s ability to learn by where they come from. We all agree that Brian Crosby is an excellent educator and his classroom has no limits! We learned how to become more efficient teachers, thanks to this video!

Blended Learning Cycle

By Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

          In the second video,Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Andersen explains blended learning. He tells us that blended learning is taking compelling parts of online, classroom, and mobile learning and blending them all together in the classroom. This comes together with the learning cycle, which has “five E’s”. They include starting with an Engaging question, then students are able to Explore, then the teacher Explains the phenomenon, the class Expands upon the question, and last the class Evaluates what happened. The learning cycle helps present material and ensure it is learned. Putting those two together creates the Blended Learning Cycle. Paul gave us an acronym to remember this, “quivers”. His blended learning cycle contains six parts.
1. QUestion- Something to really get the students attention.
2. Investigation/Inquiry- experiment and use inquiry learning.
3. Video- use learning through video instead of just classroom lecture.
4. Elaboration- give your students reasoning/diagrams.
5. Review- meet students individually and check their understanding.
6. Summary Quiz- students will take a quiz on the lesson.
After the students have a few “quivers” learning cycles, the students will have a unit test to show what they know. Paul explains this as a type of mastery learning. Blended Learning Cycle

blended learning
          We both agree that blended learning should be used in the classroom. Blended learning helps students become more engaged and retain the material easier than other types of lessons. Paul did a great job of explaining blended learning piece by piece. We agree that starting lessons with an engaging question not only draws students in, but helps get them thinking. Letting students explore is important. It gives them freedom and a chance to learn by his or herself. The acronym Paul uses is a creative way to remember the six parts to his blended learning cycle, which we agree is a great cycle. We love the idea of the individual reviews. It is crucial for each student to comprehend the lesson for it to be successful. This video was very informative!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Post #8

GoTalk by Meagan Freeman
      I will be teaching Special Education after I graduate, so I thought about what types of technology my students would work best with. I used Symbaloo to begin searching for the type of technology that I felt would benefit my class the most. I found a website called which an endless amount of categories for special needs. I found an AAC device called “GoTalk 9+”. AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This device enables people to communicate. The GoTalk is shaped like an iPad, except you can slide a picture board into it. The GoTalk comes with 5 different picture boards, including 12 pictures on each board. The GoTalk has 5 levels, so each level correlates with 1-5 of the soundboards. There are 3 core messages which stay the same no matter which level you are on. Each picture can have a phrase recorded up to 10 seconds long. For example: the phrase “I am hungry, may I have a snack please?” may be played when the picture of grapes is pressed. A helper will decide what phrases will be most useful in the GoTalk user’s daily activities. The GoTalk comes with a handle, storage compartment for each picture board, and volume level. Here is the link to the website. It includes a description of the product and a video tutorial: GoTalk

     I would use this in my classroom because it will give my students who can’t speak, an opportunity to have a voice. The GoTalk will greatly help students with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Speech Disorder, and children who are just plain stubborn. Many times I have seen children left out of activities, or not have a choice just because they are non-verbal. People who are non verbal still have an opinion and know what they want. The GoTalk lets them express their thoughts and feelings in a way they cannot do on their own. It not only helps children express themselves, but it also motivates them to try and speak. Also, touching the pictures helps increase fine motor skills. I would use the GoTalk for everyday activities. It is only necessary that I give children who are nonverbal or who have a speech deficit the same opportunity to speak as every other child. My hopes would be that I could have more than one in my classroom, because I expect to have more than one student with a speech deficit. The GoTalk gives endless possibilities.

      Instead of the videos you provided, I found one for my field of study. It is about a little girl named Lianna who has Cerebral Palsy. She is not able to control her movement, therefore cannot use the GoTalk device. She uses a C12 Speech Generating Device. The device also has pictures with phrases just like GoTalk, but her device is slightly different. There is a camera on the device which follows her eye movement. The camera detects when she looks at for a specified length of time. Her device also has pre programmed and customized page settings. Her device also has “word power pages” which ensures her language development is continuing. The video features a few “gross” poems that Lianna wrote, which are funny. I think everyone should watch this video. It is just one example of why you never underestimate people with special needs. Lianna’s teacher Mrs. Fink asks Lianna “What are some things you would like people to know about you?” With her C12 Speech Generating Device, Lianna answers “I really do like it when you talk with me, but please don’t use baby talk with me. I like it best when you just speak with me like you do to the other 9yr old kids you know.” This says so much! Never treat people with special needs differently because you assume they do not understand. These devices are amazing and should be used as much as possible. Lianna Speaks


By Linda Check

         When I graduate, I plan to teach Special Education. Through EDM310, I have learned many valuable resources that I intend to use when I get to my classroom. This week, though, we were instructed to find a 21st century learning and communicating tool not covered in class. I found Do2Learn, and in this website I discovered an evidence-based visual learning support tool called View2Do.

         First, Do2Learn is a website that is phenomenal for Special Education teachers! It provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioral regulation activities. It also has songs and games, communication cards, and academic material that teachers could access easily and use in the classroom. In addition, this website has an endless amount of information on the different kinds of disabilities and strategies on how to help a child learn to their fullest potential. Do2Learn is an awesome resource for both teachers and parents.

         Now for the learning tool I chose, View2Do. View2Do is an online program that lets teachers and parents create customized teaching aids for visual learners. The program can be accessed on any Macs, PCs, IPad, Android Tablets, and Cell Phones. It allows teacher and parents to create and edit individualized schedules, visual supports, graphic organizers, homework assignments, and to do list for each student on an easy drag-and-drop template.

         This program, also, allows students with special needs to receive constant visual support when doing schoolwork at home, immediate feedback on their work, and allows teachers to evaluate their student’s progress with real-time interactions and offer help when needed. Learning does not end when school is over and View2Do makes sure the student’s have the support needed at home to succeed.

         I could use View2Do to enhance my classroom for those students with learning and communication differences in many different ways. One way I would apply View2Do is by creating a template with the class routine, so the students know what to expect each day. Another way this program will help improve my classroom is by allowing me to use View2Do’s Image Library to create a folder that permits the students, who cannot speak, to choose an image that expresses what it is they need/want. Lastly, the program will allow me to organize, print, and save files I find useful for the class. Having all the files I need on View2Do will save me valuable class time and paper, because I can share lesson worksheets with the students via their View2Do account.

         I expect great outcome will result in the use of View2Do. I expect homework to help the student, more than add stress to the student, because they will be able to receive help whenever they need it. I expect the student’s will be more at ease in school, because they will always know what to expect next. Finally, I expect those students with no voice to find their voice, thanks to View2Do!

         After looking through many websites and talking to several Special Education teachers, I decided that View2Do had something for everyone, and that is why I chose this learning and communication tool. Overall, it is user friendly, it allows parents and teachers to work together to find what works best for a particular student, it has big, colorful pictures that make it engaging for the student, and helps the students with special needs reach their full potential. Being a future Special Education teacher, this 21st century technology is one that I will definitely put to use in my classroom!

Here is a short video that shows iPads giving children with autism a voice by using different apps that allow the child to select pictures, just like View2Do allows children to do.
iPad class gives voice to kids with autism

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Project # 13

Draw Me the Music By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check

Our lesson plan is called Draw Me the Music. It is for a self-contained Special Education classroom. The lesson plan addresses art, literature, and music. The link below contains the lesson plan:
Draw Me the Music

Here is the schedule we will use for the project:
Schedule for the week

Blog Post 7

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In Project Based Learning Part 1, Anthony Capps told how Project Based Learning (PBL) are not only projects that teachers give at the end of a lesson to check the student’s understanding, but are a means to get the students to learn something. Anthony said a good project involves having an authentic audience, keeping the students interest in mind, involves the community, and most importantly it is driven by content. The example project he told us about was a project he had his third grade class do, which involved writing letters to Congressman Jo Bonner. Anthony told his class about a recent decision that allows women to serve in open combat and the project was, using iCurio, to find a female or minority history figure that demonstrated success when it was uncommon. Then, using this information, write Congressman Jo Bonner and state whether they thought it was appropriate for women to fight in open combat, or not. They informally interviewed family and friends that served in the military and helped critique their classmates letters. They chose eight to send and got a stock reply, which the students were very excited about! The project was content driven and community involved. The project even covered ACCRS standards for writing, reading, and social studies. We learned that PBL is not only to show whether the students know the material or not, but to help teach the material in a fun and exciting way. Anthony Capps told us how to create a PBL project and how to get the best results!

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In Project Based Learning Part 2, Anthony spoke about a project he gave his third graders. After studying Afghanistan, his students wrote as if they were a child in afghanistan, then made an imovie of the script. The project was a huge success among the class, parents, and administrators. The students went above and beyond what was expected of them. All of the parents were amazed by the movies the third graders created. Through Project Based Learning we have learned that assignments are given meaning. Students see how PBL relates to the real world and are more excited to learn. We think that project based learning allows students to become more engaged in assignments and projects. They feel as if they have freedom with learning instead of a right or wrong answer. PBL encourages students to search for new knowledge and they excited to show it off.

By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In iCurio Anthony, Anthony discussed the features of iCurio. We learned that iCurio is an online search tool that serves a few different purposes. The first, and main, purpose is to allow students to search websites, videos, images, and online media that have been pulled and filtered for educational use. The things the students are looking at have been deemed appropriate by a responsible figure, so the teacher does not have to worry about anything inappropriate popping up. The second feature is a storage capacity that allows teachers and students to store different content they find that is valuable. It also allows students to practice their virtual organization skills. The third feature Anthony mentioned was the historical figures feature. This feature allows students to search by criteria. It is a directory that helps the students find specific topics they are looking for, an example being 1960 African American male. The last feature is one that we really liked and would find very useful, being special education majors. It is a read-along feature that reads the text of an article aloud. This is very valuable to students with special needs. They are able to use the information the text gives, even if they are not able to read it. We learned iCurio is very helpful is the classroom, and we plan to make great use of it in the future!

Discovery Education
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      Discovery Ed- In Discovery Ed Anthony, Anthony mentioned Discovery Ed is important because students retain a lot more about information about text when it has visual elements. Discovery Ed gives students the opportunity to add background knowledge and illustration along with text. It makes learning fun, instead of most children looking at it as a chore. We agree that visual cues are much more effective in remembering material than just reading by itself. Our group feels that Discovery Ed is a great resource for PBL . The goal of PBL is t to engage the students and make them feel more connected to the learning process, which is exactly what Discovery Ed does.

Use Tech- Don’t Teach It
By Meagan Freeman
      In UseTech- Don't Teach It, Anthony said that you should not teach technology, just introduce it. He said don’t have a list of technology that should be learned, instead go through technology in small steps. Eventually the steps can be combined and the students will be much more savvy with technology. He mentions that educators should allow students to get excited about technology and let them use it to share their ideas. Anthony made a good point when saying don’t teach technology, just introduce it. I also think that technology can’t be taught, and you just have experiment with it. I like that Anthony said not to focus on mistakes, and just give your students and opportunity to learn. Technology can be harder for some to catch on to than others, and it is always changing. There is so much PBL that can be done using technology and I think it will only help our students advance.

The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1
By Linda Check
      In The Anthony - Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1, Dr. Strange and Anthony taught me that teachers just starting need to prepare for a wide variety of obstacles in the classroom. The first piece of advice I learned, was that if you are not a constant learner, you will not be a successful educator. Learning does not stop once your eight-hour day ends, you are always learning from experience then, taking what you learned and using it in the classroom. The next thing I learned was that teaching is hard work, yet fun at the same time. Teaching is constant and very rewarding, if you let it be. I, also, learned that you must be very flexible as a teacher. Lessons will not always go as planned, and when this happens, you need to take what you got a roll with it. If you are planning to use the computers for a lesson, but the servers are down, figure out another way the students will still learn what you need them to, just with a different activity. Another piece of advice I took was that you need to plan lessons that get students engaged. Create projects that are shareable and get the students excited to learn the objectives you need them to. The last thing I learned was that reflection and self-evaluation are a huge part of the learning process. If the student’s are sharing their assignments to an audience, they become more serious about revising and reflecting on their work. Students can, also, take critiques from the audience to make their work better.       I took many things away from this video. I learned that becoming a teacher comes with many obstacles, once you get into the classroom. You have to be prepared for all kind of hiccups in the road and events to not play out perfectly. Learning is a constant job and if you are constant learner, you will be successful in your teaching career.


Project # 2

      For this project I used Symbaloo . After actually realizing what Symbaloo was, it was not so hard to set up. I separated all of the tiles into sections. Some of the sections are for personal, daily, and educational use. My personal tiles include things such as Twitter, Groupon, Facebook, and Amazon. Daily tiles include the South Alabama website, Blogger, and EDM checklist. The educational tiles include ASL page, Pinterest, and ABC teach. All of my tiles are color coated so that they are easy to find. Symbaloo seems like a very convenient site and I am excited to begin using it!

Friday, October 4, 2013

C4K Summary for September

C4K 1This I Believe
      This week I was assigned to a student named Cecil. His blog post was about something he believed in, which happened to be Mermaids. Cecil wrote about the recent mermaid documentary which was a popular topic. He wrote about why he believed and things that supported the belief of mermaids.
comment In my comment, I told Cecil what a great topic Mermaids was for his belief. He chose a topic that was very popular right now. I told Cecil that I, too, watched the Mermaid documentary and I believed a lot of the evidence. I applauded Cecil for some of the writing techniques he used, which grabbed readers attention. I told him exactly what I liked about it, and told him he made me want to read more. I let him know he did a great job with sharing evidence and explaining to his readers why he believed. Cecil's blog can be viewed here: This I Believe

C4K 2 Bullying Matters
      This week we were assigned to Mrs. Lieschlke's class. I commented on Maggie's blog post "Bullying Matters". Maggie's post included reasons that she wants to prevent bullying. She stated that when you are bullied, it stays with you. Maggie stated that when she is older she would like to enforce anti-bullying laws.
comment I commended Maggie for wanting to do such a great thing. I told Maggie that bullying is a huge problem that is often overlooked. I also said that many children her age do not even realize bullying is an issue, so I am sure she will make a difference someday. I wished Maggie the best for her future in bully-prevention laws. Maggie's post can be found here: Bullying Matters

C4K 3 Droll
      This week my student is Night from New Zealand. His blog post was a story (I am assuming) he made up. It is about a "droll" who lived under a bridge and had no friends. The droll scared people who crossed the bridge. He had three wishes. His first wish was to have friends. He was given too many. His second wish was for only two friends. The droll never used his third wish, and he stopped scaring people. The story ends with a child crossing the bridge singing to the droll.
comment I commented and told Night that his story must have taken a lot of thought. I told night that his story kept me entertained and I could not wait to see what he would say next. I told him that I was glad his story had a happy ending. Night's blog can be viewed here: Droll

C4K 4 How Much Does the Sky Weigh?
      This week my student is Macie. She is a 6th grader from Elsanor Elementary. Macie's class blog was the question "How Much Does the Sky Weigh?" Macie said that while some people believe the sky is weightless, they are wrong. She says that meteorologists estimate the air weighs up to 5 million billion tons or more. Macie believes the meteorologists because if you walk up Mt. Everest it would be hard to breathe.
comment I told Macie that I have never thought about how much the air weighed. This topic must have brought up a lot of different answers among her and her classmates. I said it is good that she look to meteorologists for an answer. Here is Macie's blog: How Much Does the Sky Weigh?

C4T #2

Communicating from Canberra
      The author of this blog is Henrietta, a teacher from a girls school in Sydney. Henrietta is blogging about her group "Year 6"'s annual trip to Canberra. It was for three days. Henrietta went on tours, viewed the city, went to a museum, and much more. She stated that this year was easier to leave family and friends. Some of the group found it hard to leave loved ones, while others viewed the trip as a much needed break. She and her fellow teacher Mrs. T blogged and tweeted about the trip regularly so that parents and people from all over could stay informed about the trip.      
comment 1I told Henrietta that I was glad to hear her trip went well. I have actually never heard of Canberra. I told her it was amazing to come across her blog and read about this place that seems so amazing. All of the activities she attended seemed so fun and interesting, yet full of history. I said I could not imagine getting all of that done in only three days and she and her students must have been exhausted. The parents must have loved being updated throughout their trip. It was such a thoughtful idea to keep them updated. Visit her blog here: Communicating From Canberra

Go Teach This
      In this blog post, Henrietta is promoting a website called Go Teach This! It was created by Adrian Bruce, an Australian teacher who Henrietta truly believes gives back to the community. Adrian has always created educational games with instruction, and given them away. He has now brought all of these games together on his website, goteachthis.Here is the link: go teach this websiteThe site has printable math and reading games. It is said that he printables make learning sociable, visible, and fun! The printables have game boards, playing bards, rules, hints, and even teaching notes. Henrietta explains that she is a supporter of Adrian because he has worked so hard. The site has 150+ games. They are fun and they appeal to all learning needs.      
Comment 2       I responded by telling Henrietta how great it is that Adrian has someone so supportive. I let her know that she even convinced me to go look at his website. He really does have some great educational resources. I told her she did a great job campaigning for his new website, and the word should definitely circulate. I informed her a link was added to my blog as well. Best of luck to Adrian and his new business.
Henrietta's blog can be found here Go Teach This

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blog post # 6

Hmm, what do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?

        I watched the video Questioning Styles and Strategies first. I really like that the teacher ended the book Bridge To Terabithia with a "comprehension questions menu". This included four different types of questions Mastery, Interpersonal, Understanding, and Self-Expressive. Each question type required the students to think differently. No question was the same, they each reflected a different part of the book. All students really had to think about the answer, and write them down. After answers were recorded the students were able to talk to their neighbor to see if they had similar answers. The type of learning environment that was created really got the students to brainstorm.

        Asking Questions to Improve Learning taught me to be very clear when I ask questions. I will be teaching special needs, so it is crucial that I remember these tips. Instead of giving multiple steps, give one step. One simple question. Asking two or more questions is confusing, and students forget what they are suppose to answer. Be very specific in what you ask. Maybe instead of "what was your favorite part?" You could ask "In the book the Cat in the Hat, which part was your favorite". Simple things like this help questions make more sense to children.

        Three Better Ways to Ask Questions in the Classroom says to play with questions, prepare questions, and preserve good questions. All which are something I will now keep in mind. It is never good to try and "wing it". You should ALWAYS know what you want the students to know, therefor what you're going to ask. While preparing your questions, you should play with them. You will see what way of asking makes more sense, if there is a better way of wording the question, if theres a fun activity you can add on, and so on. After the session is over, save the questions that made a great impact on the students! There will be some questions that were too easy, or some that the students completely did not understand. That is why teaching is also a learning experience for the teacher!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project #3 Presentation

Blog Post #4

Flat Stanley Podcast
The first podcast I listened to was about a first grade class that had just read the book "Flat Stanley". Each student shipped of their own Flat Stanley to family members all over the world. The teacher and her students saw what a success that was, and wanted to make their own "Flat Stanley" podcast. The students researched to what part of the world that they would like to travel, if they were flattened. The podcast consisted of the students telling about their adventures while being flat. These kids had the cutest stories of their "flat" adventures. Each child did a great job explaining scenery, sounds, and feelings of where they were shipped. I kept finding myself smiling while listening to each story. This is such a cute activity! It is something I want to try once I have students of my own. I have never read the book Flat Stanley, but after listening to this podcast I definitely will.
Flat Stanley

Podcasting With First Grade
I found it intriguing how excited the first graders were to make their own podcast after listening to the second grade podcast. Langwitches made a great point when she said "Believe it or not, having an audience matters....even to 6 yr. olds". This is very true. The first graders were eager to make a podcast in hopes of getting a lot of views and responses. These kids were so excited to learn and do something new. I loved that each student was featured and students were coming "out of their shells". When children are young, I think it is great to introduce new forms of interaction and technology. They were having so much fun creating a podcast, and not even realizing they were being taught in the process.

Podcast Collection
This link was so beneficial! I think that many people my age were deprived of technology. I am 21 and have never created a podcast. To be honest, I did not even know what a podcast was before this activity! Students now have so many opportunities. In the first part of my post I talked about a first grade class creating a podcast. Interaction in the classroom is definitely growing, and podcasts are a large part of that. As a future educator it is important for me to be knowledgable about more ways to interact, including knowing how to podcast. I will definitely keep in mind the "Tips to Succeed" that were mentioned. I will give a background of podcasting and what is included in podcasts. Making things relevant is very important. Creating podcasts on your own version of a book just read is great for students. It gives the ideas and gets them excited to create their own story. I feel working as a class, step by step will help the podcast succeed, especially when it is just being introduced. Also, having an audience is powerful! It gets the students excited to have people care about what they have worked so hard on, and encourages them to do more. Each link I explored will help me become a better teacher one day.