Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Assignment #16

Final Reflection
    Let me start of this last post with saying how much I have seen my writing improve. The first blog post I saw a lot of vague sentences with no details to support it. I kept wondering what I was meaning myself in those sentences. I feel I've gotten a lot better since that first post!
     Now as far as the post itself goes, I noticed a few things I would've done differently.  In my paragraph about the tools I talked about taking my students to different historical sites to help further their education. That's still a great idea, however, I realize that may not always be a viable option with school locations and funding. Throughout the semester we have done a lot of different assignments requiring me to research more materials, and I have found a number of websites for these historical places that have resources that I can use to further my lessons. Also a few have resources that my students can use to enhance their learning experience. Just a few of the places I have found with these enhanced learning sites are: Fords Theatre, The Capitol Building, Mount Vernon, and The White House.
     Outside of that one thing, I really wouldn't change much else about this blog post. It was a little vague, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't sure myself on what I would use. This was my first semester taking education classes so I have developed my future classroom a lot since mid-August. I really look forward to incorporating the things I've learned throughout the semester to help my classroom become one of valued and interesting learning.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

What Kind of Assistive Technologies are Available for Teachers? By Erin Crane, Lance Wilkinson, and Wesley Etheridge

Every student deserves the right to a quality education. Assistive technology is extremely important in education to make sure that every student has the right to a quality education despite disabilities. Assistive technology is more accessible than ever before with technological advancements. From physical applications such as Braille keyboards and grids, to the voice over feature on the iPad, assistive technology is making learning for students with sight and hearing disabilities more accessible every day.

Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children is a video meant to inspire teachers to develop methods of learning for students with hearing or visual disabilities. By developing new methods of learning for disabled students, these students can be prepared for a variety of career options. In this way, education would "break down walls that students can jump over". 

The creators of "The Mountbatten" carried out the mission to accommodate learning for disabled students. "The Mountbatten" is a braille typewriter that gives audio feedback as it is being typed. This works extremely well in a classroom where the teacher doesn't know braille. 

The Universal Accessibility Mathematics Lab at the University of San Francisco also made mathematics more accessible for blind students based on a grid they developed to help blind students see math problems in a two dimensional format. The ability for blind students to do more advanced mathematics opens them up to a more diverse career field. 

iPad Usage For The Blind details the benefits of the voice over application on the iPad. To use the voice over feature one must drag one's finger across the screen and a voice will tell you which app you're on. This makes iPads easily accessible for blind students. In addition to this, voice over makes iBooks completely accessible to blind students. Voice over makes the text of the iBook audible, allowing students who couldn't read with an iPad before to now do so. In Having a Great Time Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad, a disabled student's mother is given instruction on how to use the iPad. This video details the depth of the voice over application, which has both standard and the more advanced touch typing mode. 

Ibooks Logo

The Assistive Technology blog from 50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers is an extremely relevant blog. It details the different types of assistive technology available for teachers as well as keeps them up to date on upcoming and developing assistive technologies. This "Teach Thought" article also details different types of assistive technology that are affordable for students.

Overall, as future History teachers we find "The Mountbatten" to be extremely effective for writing assignments for students with visual disabilities. In addition, the voice over feature of the iPad makes it an invaluable tool for students with visual disabilities due to the ability to read and participate with their classmates. Assistive technology is one of the best examples of how technology is pushing education in a forward direction.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Assignment #14

Public Speaking
How are you with speaking in front of others? What about students? How would you do in front of a large group of colleagues? Being a teacher you will find yourself constantly speaking in front of others. Whether it's a simple lesson, a faculty meeting, parent conference, or something more elaborate, you need to know how to conduct yourself as a professional.

Stanford University gives a list of how to overcome any anxiety related to public speaking in this link. Read the link and write a post on which strategies you could use to help you overcome any looming fear you may have.

fear of public speaking
     I actually do not have a bad fear of public speaking. The worst problem I have is talking too fast and jumbling up my words in the process. Going off of the list given I seem to have already identified the problem I have. By reading this I learned I should take more deep breaths during my speech to help calm me down and give me a moment to think what my next words should be. Practicing my speech or lesson should also help me work out word flow. I plan on practicing these techniques so once I do become a teacher I will be better prepared.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

C4T #4

How To Get Boys Reading Perhaps

boys holding books     For my C4T #4 I have been assigned to Pernille Ripp's teaching blog. The post I commented on this week was titled How To Get Boys Reading Perhaps. In her post, Mrs. Ripp gave tips on how to get young boys interested in reading. She admits she has problems still getting her classroom guys to want to read but she has found a few tricks to get them interested. 
  • Have honest conversations. She says listen to the boys when they want to express their frustrations about reading. Maybe you can use it to teach a lesson or learn something to help them out.
  • Read their books. She suggests finding books they might like. Sports, science fiction, and fantasy are pretty common.
  • Loosen up. Mrs. Ripp suggest thinking outside the box. She says they don't always have to read chapter books. Graphic novels or comic books help too.
  • Let them read wherever they want. Her students read wherever they can find a spot as long as it doesn't distract someone else.
  • Geek out with them. She said they get excited when a new book in their favorite series comes out and they celebrate it.
     She has so many more good suggestions, these were just a few I found to be useful and creative. I thanked her for taking the time to make that post. I agreed we needed to find a way to inspire more young boy to read. I gave her a book suggestion my brother loved when he was young. I told her I would have to try out some of the suggestions she gave.

Don't Take A Break From Learning Just Because It's The Holidays

Classroom Christmas     Mrs. Ripp made a post titled Don't Take A Break From Learning Just Because It's The Holidays.  This blog entry addressed a problem every teacher encounters at least once a year, maybe more. When the holidays get near (especially Christmas) students energy levels increase drastically while their attention span plummets. Mrs. Ripp talked about how she fought and ignored the approaching holidays for so long until she realized things run smoother if she joined in the festivities. Here are a few things she uses to help get some work accomplished during this time.

  • Create more hands-on learning. She asks her students what they want to do with all of their materials they've learned and lets them create something awesome.
  • Recognize the holiday and don't ignore it. She listens to holiday music, do a holiday card exchange, share holiday tradition stories and blog about them, and learn culture holiday traditions.
  • Do more challenges. She created different events like spaghetti and marshmallow tower challenge and flipstick olympics to help students continue learning even if it isn't curriculum.
  • Read more. Reading aloud is calming to everyone.
  • Give back when you can. She has her students write to Helping Hands and holiday cards for the nursing home nearby.
     I thanked her for taking the time to write out this blog post. I told her the "holiday craziness" isn't exactly something college prepares you for.  It's nice to have a few tips on how to handle the "Christmas rush".  I will be teaching teenagers so I'm not sure how much different it will be, but then again we are all children at Christmas time!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PLN #2: Final Post

     Symbaloo is a tool I have grown accustomed to using fairly often. I really enjoy the simplicity of this tool. It allows me to keep all the websites I can use in my classroom in one place. By using this it allows my computer to run faster without so many programs and keeps this neat and organized. Being a high school history teacher I will need to keep my classroom flowing so as to keep the student's attention. Also there are so many websites and videos that I want to use in my lessons and this will help me keep them all in one spot. I plan to keep this as my homepage so I can come back to it at anytime.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

Shane Koyczan: To This Day...for the bullied and beautiful by Erin Crane

I honestly cannot describe Shane Koyczan’s poetry video about being bullied. The way he used his poetry to perfectly convey what kids go through in schools was breathtaking. Shane started off talking about the way his decisions would get shot down as a kid. Decisions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What do you want to make of yourself?”. He would answer honestly and be told he either could not do it or needed to aim higher. They didn’t want to know what he wanted to be, they wanted to tell him what not to be!

He moved on to talk about the titles and nicknames he was labeled by his peers. Some purposely hurtful, some not. Children don’t always see that the words they use hurt other people (adults have this problem too). He talked about how the name “porkchop” leaves him no longer able to eat the food, and another little girl called dog for her early childhood still doesn’t see herself as beautiful. Words are scarring.

He started bringing in the way he kept self-motivated after these things. A boy adamant on calling him “Yogi Bear” demanded he do his homework. Shane did it, but with all incorrect answers. The boy was confused as to why he received a 0 on the paper that Shane got a 28/30 on. Shane responded with “smarter than the average bear…”! He used his brains to outsmart them. A great example to fight violence with nonviolence.

Listening to him go through his bullying trials in school, turning it into poetry, I was shown a boy who made his bad circumstances into greatness. He chose to take those experiences and use them to better himself. This gave me insight into how “just words” can truly affect people’s lives and ways that I hope, as a teacher, I can help students to shape it into something beneficial.

Jose Antonio Abreu: The El Sistema Music Revolution by Lance Wilkinson

In his TED Talks presentation, Jose Antonio Abreu shares a powerful message on how Music can invigorate the lives of students and instill a desire to learn and succeed within them. Most of Mr. Abreu’s opinions on how Music should be instilled in students’ lives applies to general education as well. Mr. Abreu is the founder of the El Sistema Music Revolution, a Youth Orchestra program in Venezuela. This orchestra program instills a passion for music in students of all economic backgrounds, taking care to make sure every student that applies himself or herself has the same accessibility to perform as any other student.

A key aspect of the El Sistema program is that everyone’s dreams should be realized. By showing students that they have a chance to do great things, the El Sistema program invigorates their lives with a desire to succeed and learn. At first, the El Sistema program did not have an excess of supplies; however, limited resources does not mean that standards should be limited. By belief in his students, Mr. Abreu and his students developed the El Sistema program into one of the greatest Youth Orchestra programs in the world.

Funding for Fine Arts is always at risk. Mr. Abreu promotes the opinion that Musical training develops not only self-confidence and inspires purpose, but also teaches interdependence and cooperation. These are 21st century skills that not only apply to Music, but to Education in general as well. Mr. Abreu also emphasizes that everyone should have access to Musical programs; not just the elite. This concept applies to Education as well. Every student deserves a quality education, not just those who are privileged enough to have one.

Mr. Abreu showed that the El Sistema program affected individuals at Personal, Familial, and Community-Based levels. An engaging Education program should also reach students at each of these levels. Mr. Abreu stated: “The worst thing about poverty is the lack of identification.” Engaging Music and Educational programs give these students the confidence and skills they need to identify themselves. Finally, as Mr. Abreu stated, Music and Education should be put at the service of society. A good Educational or Music program can change a student’s life. As Mr. Abreu said, and this statement can be applied to a good Educational program as well: “The spirit of music overcomes the spirit of material poverty.”

Arvind Gupta: Turning Trash Into Toys For Learning by Wesley Etheridge

In the video, Turning Trash Into Toys for Learning, Arvind Gupta discusses how imagination can turn the simplest toys into learning tools. Gupta's story is interesting. He's went to school in India to become an engineer in the early 1970's. However, at the age of 24 he realized he wasn't born to make trucks. He found his passion when he joined a village science program. In the small village he moved to, he realized he enjoyed creating toys much more than creating trucks.

Gupta enjoyed taking trash and making toys out of it. One of his first creations was simply made of cycle valve tube with sticks inside. This created all kinds of shapes. With this simple "toy" he was able to teach children about angles and shapes, but the greatest part about this toy according to Arvind Gupta was its flimsiness. This allowed the students to use their imagination and creative abilities to experiment with all sorts of shapes and sizes. For example, the children could create little houses with these shapes. Every one of Arvind Gupta's toys were interesting to me, but the one that interested me the most was the motor he made from a 5cent battery. Imagination is a key for learning anything and Gupta's toys enhance every students imagination.

It was great to see how trash could be used to teach. I love the way Gupta feels about students breaking toys. He says, "The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it." Gupta shows that the only thing that can limit our teaching is lack of imagination. Also, his experiences show that children can learn on their own through just about anything. There's no doubt that Gupta is a firm believer of project based learning, and after his personal experiences how can you blame him. I agree with Gupta, imagination can lead to unlimited learning.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

C4K Summary for November

Week 12
This week I visited Jay'Lee's blog. She wrote about the sport Rugby. I told Jay'Lee that I have never seen a rugby game because we don't play it down here. She described it in her blog post, and I told her it looked fun. I've heard from people that the sport was actually pretty dangerous since it has no protective gear. I think I'll stick to the sidelines.

Week 13
My last C4K belongs to the class blog of Mrs. Yollis. The post I commented on was titled Our First Ed Camp. I spoke of how interesting the camp sounded, but I had never been to one myself. I commended her for finding a creative way to get students interested in learning. I sure wish I had one of these as a kid.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project #15

Civil War

This lesson plan lasts for three days and is geared for high school students. The driving question for this project is What was the Old South like? What was our country like before the Civil War? I will split the classroom into two groups, "Union Army" and "Confederate Army". The groups will then research using iPads and laptops to find opinions on slavery for their side in the 1800's. Each group will elect a leader (Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee) to present their group's formulated opinions on the topic of slavery. If one side can be swayed, there will be no Civil War, if they can't, we fight! Students may make a presentation that the leaders will use to help sway the opposing army.

Blog Assignment #12

What Can We Learn From Sir Ken Robinson? by: Erin Crane, Wesley Etheridge, Lance Wilkinson
Ken Robinson

Changing Education Paradigms

Breakpoint and Beyond In the first video Ken Robinson opened our eyes to the injustice that is taking place thanks to the current system of education. Ken states that todays education system was designed for another time period. The current education system was created in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution and you can see evidence of it through every aspect of the system. Schools are like factory lines. Ringing bells have conditioned students to know when to change class, schools have separate sections for each individual subject, and students are classified by their age instead of their academic level. A result of the system is we have "smart" people and "non smart" people, or at least thats how people are viewed. The consequence of this has been many brilliant people questioning their intelligence. ADHD has risen with the growth of standardized testing and Ken Robinson doesn't believe it's a coincidence. Sure some people may have ADHD, but is there really anything wrong with students being outgoing and energetic? We agree with Robinson that the issue is boring teaching. In the book Breakpoint and Beyond we see that the more a student is "educated" the more their capacity for divergent thinking decreases. If we really care about our students we have to change. Change may be scary, but it beats the burden of staying the same.

How to Escape Education's Death Valley

Death Valley In the second video we learn that Death Valley isn't dead, it's dormant. Underneath the surface there is potential. Ken Robinson gives us a tremendous amount of advice that can lead American schools out of the "Death Valley" they are currently in. The three things that are important for human flourishing are the keys to improving the culture of education. The first thing is we must remember that human beings are naturally different and diverse. Ken Robinson is quick to point out that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is irony at it's best. Education under NCLB is based on conformity when it should be based on diversity. Students are diverse and they prosper best under a broad curriculum. The second thing that is important is curiosity. Our job as teachers is really easy if we can spark curiosity. Once curiosity is sparked children are natural learners. Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage their students. Ultimately, education is about learning. The whole point of being a teacher is getting students to learn. If our future students don't learn it's our fault. In our current culture, teachers are more concerned with test results than curiosity. Testing has a role in education, but it shouldn't dominate education. The infatuation with test results could be the biggest problem with our current system of education. The third key to human flourishing is creativity. Human life is inherently creative. Imagination and creativity is a unique trait of human beings. It's our role as educators to awaken these powers in our students. The problem is in our current culture of education students are becoming standardized. Everyone of us who will become teachers has the ability to change this culture of education. The question is do we care? If we do care about our students we will break away from the current system.

How Schools Kill Creativity

creative mind In the final video Ken Robinson discusses some issues he has with the current culture of education dealing with student's creativity. Robinson states that creativity is just as important as literacy. The problem is schools are instilling fear in students. Students are so afraid of being wrong that they get in a quite bubble. People who are afraid of being wrong will never come up with anything original. Children naturally aren't frightened of being wrong, but after years of schooling this capacity is diminished. We have to change this by creating an atmosphere where students can be who they are. Sir Ken Robinson also asks why certain subjects (like Math) are treated with higher regard than others (like dance). Not every student is going to be a college professor. Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct. In todays society a degree in a popular course of study doesn't equate to a job anymore. We must rethink the way we educate. We must consider the whole being of a student, not just certain areas.   

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog Assignment #11

What Kathy Cassidy Taught Me
Kathy Cassidy interview
     Kathy Cassidy is a teacher who teaches first graders.  She caught my attention right off the bat when she said she had not used technology up until the past ten years.  I often forget there are teachers out there who are having to teach themselves how to keep up with their students.  She said she started learning the different technology out there when she was given five computers to use in her classroom.  She said they were very basic and had absolutely no programs on it, so she went hunting for things to keep her six year old students interested in learning.  She started with how to make webpages, which led to blogging, and now that's what her students use! She made the comment that her students love to use the technology because it makes them feel like they aren't leaving it at home when they get to school. 

     Ms. Cassidy said her students use their blogs as an online portfolio.  That intrigued me immediately.  As a history teacher,  I will have a lot of papers being going back and forth between the students so it would be easier if I had them place their assignments online.  I could find them better and I wouldn't have to worry about misplacing them (or my dog eating it).  The only problem I could see there is if I lose internet access, but hey, I remember my teachers always telling me they didn't get something graded on time!  She said she uses Class Blog Mister for the students to put their work up.  Her students enjoy putting stuff up for the world to see instead of handing in a paper for just the teacher to read.  I'm not sure my high school students would care for their papers on The Revolutionary War to be publicized or not, but it's nice knowing I have the option. 

     She mentioned if you're interested in using video in your classroom to start using YouTube.  I am on YouTube everyday looking at all kinds of different things.  I have some videos bookmarked that I want to using to enhance my lessons.  I have also went farther than that and found The American Experience.  This is a website that has many historical videos available to the public online, and they add new ones all the time.  It is also a television program on PBS.  I receive emails from them already, and when I see a special coming up that collaborates my lesson plans I will assign it to my classes.  Although I will probably assign it as a extra credit assignment.  In high school you have to be more careful springing things on kids as a grade with short notice.  Some students have extracurricular school activities, athletic events, and some simply don't have the resources to get it done with a couple of days notice.  I'll make the decision according to the school and students I am teaching. 

     Kathy Cassidy mentioned using Twitter and Wiki pages in her classroom, but I honestly don't think I will use those any.  I'm sure I could find some use with them, I'm not saying I can't, I just don't think I will try to put that in my lesson plans as of right now.  I did, however, love her idea about using a blog as an announcement source.  I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but I have thought about that from the beginning of this class.  I might use a teacher blog and post the assignments given that day so any student who is absent can't use the excuse of not knowing.  I'll post lectures, slideshows we used, and any extra credit websites they can use on it.  I'll require it to be check at least three times a week.  I obviously took a lot from the interview with Ms. Cassidy.  I appreciate her sharing her knowledge with us, because as you can see I have a lot of ways to incorporate her first grade technology into my high school classes.

Also, I really appreciated seeing the snow! I have never seen snow before!
Frosty the Snowman

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

C4T #3

Comment #1:
     For this C4T, I have been assigned to Ken Halla's US History blog. This post, The Election of 1800 in Their Own Words, consisted of one video. The video, linked above, made comparisons to the name calling during election times for the present day and 1800's. It's been going on for years; it doesn't make it right. At the end of the video it states that you should look in a history book next time you complain about politicians.

     I commented on this post thanking them for the blog they run. Their blog links tools US History teachers can use in their classroom to help students get more interested in the subject. There are also links for other history subject course blogs too. I told him I found the blog funny and helpful. I will definitely keep this video in mind when teaching during elections.

Comment #2:
     Ken Halla put up a new blog post titled Flipped Learning and Differentiation. I linked the video above so that you could see for yourself what the students in a flipped classroom are doing.  His blog post said that the New York Times made an article advocating this new classroom technique. He said flipping allows the teacher to be able to work with the students more individually and equally.

     In my comment to his I thank him for sharing what a flipped classroom was. I had never heard of one until I read the blog entry. I told him I got a few ideas from the video that I want to incorporate in my classroom. I told him again how much I love the blog he runs. It's very specific to the material I want to teach and helps me find new ways to do that! I put this in my bookmarks to refer back to later!

C4K Summary for October

Week 8
     I had the joy of visiting Caitlin's blog this week.  She wrote about what she wants to be when she gets older.  She was so sweet talking about wanting to be a veterinarian and help animals.  Caitlin said she wants a hedge hog, guinea pig, and a penguin.  I commented back and told her I would've loved to have been a veterinarian.  I didn't because of all the schooling involved and the hurt animals I couldn't help, but don't worry, I didn't tell her that!  I also shared my love of penguins with her too!
Week 9
     This week I hopped over to Jayme's blog and read about her love of science.  Jayme talked about her science class and how they're learning about the different parts of the cell and are doing a project too.  I told her my favorite part of the cell was the mitochondria, and she should go look it up because it was pretty cool.  She mentioned dissecting an animal later in the semester, and I told her I've never done that but good luck!

Week 10
     Reety's blog post this week was titled "My Hero Is My Mom".  I told her her idea of a hero was wonderful, and I was so glad her mom was her hero.  Reety talked about how her mom is her hero because she stands up for her when she's bullied and helps her.  I told her what a wonderful thing it was to have a mother like that. My mom is my hero too!

Week 11
     Shane wrote about Jack-o-lanterns this week. His blog post, titled "Jak-o-lanterns", told about where carving pumpkins came from. I was very interested to hear it originated in Ireland, and I told him I would have to ask my Irish friend more about it! I then told him I had never carved a pumpkin, but I might try it after reading his blog post.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project #14

This lesson plan last for a week and is geared for high school students.  The driving question for this project is How does Congress Work? What cause Filibusters? What do Congressional Bodies say about a Representative Republic? We will split the classroom into two groups, "House" and "Senate".  Legislative issues will then be given for the groups to debate and discuss.  Each group will elect a representative (Speaker of the House-House, Vice President-Senate) to present their position the group has reached. If the stances are mutual, the bill is passed, if not they start over.  Students will use iPads and laptops for research, and they may make a presentation that the leader will present.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blog Assignment #10

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?
     Randy Pausch    
     In the video, Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, he briefs over every encounter that got him to where he was that day.  It was truly inspiring to see the different people and circumstances that helped mold him to the man he had become.  I tried to remember to take some notes during the lecture, but to be honest he had me so captured with his stories that I did not get as many things down as I would've liked.  He started off saying "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted".  I thought that was perfect!  There have been so many instances in my life where I have sat back and said "what did that achieve?", and now I have something to remember.  Just because I'm the teacher doesn't mean things will always go the way I plan them to go in my classroom (no matter how hard I try to steer them that direction).  It's important for me to remember that I need to keep things fun in my classroom.  There is no way I can know every single who,what,where,when, and why that happened in history!  Through this video I was reminded that I need to be earnest and tell the truth.  Own up to the fact I don't know, but I will find out the answer and share with them as best I can.  Randy Pausch also said there's a good and bad way to say 'I don't know'.  I can't tell you how many times I've felt discouraged by the simple inflection in someone's voice telling me 'I don't know'. It's also important to apologize when I screw up something. 
     Most of what my students take from my class will be indirectly learned.  Whether it be through other students, projects, or their exams the information they obtain may be accidental.  I've retained a lot of information from being wrong and finding out the correct answer; I tend to never forget when that happens. Teaching, and learning, take fundamentals and hard work.  It's important I work with other teachers to help get a curriculum that will challenge my students.  Randy Pausch made a comment that he taught a class that completed the whole semesters curriculum in one class assignment.  He didn't know what to do so he called up his mentor, and they worked out a new lesson plan to help his students thrive.  He wasn't afraid to admit when he had undermined their intelligence.  He had to drop his feelings and focus on their needs. "Brick walls are there to let us prove how badly we want things", probably one of my favorite things he said in this lecture.  It made me recall the times I had given up on things because of a 'brick wall'.  I'm embarrassed to say there were many.  To say I learned many things from this video would be a huge understatement.  I really enjoyed listening to him and getting to hear about his life.  I too have worked at Disney World so I could relate to him on some level there.  It was really neat having something in common with this great man.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Assignment #9

 Education in a "Meaningful and Motivational Context"
                                                              Written By: Degas
                                      Erin Crane, Wesley Etheridge, and Lance Wilkinson

     In his TED talks presentation, Brian Crosby expressed the idea that an education in a "meaningful and motivational context" was the right of every student in the educational system; to which he got a round of applause from the audience. As educators, this should be our goal; however, how do we achieve a "meaningful" and "motivational" context. What questions do we ask students? What projects do we engage students in? How do inspire students to carry what they've learned throughout their lives? 

     AP Biology teacher Paul Anderson poses the power of the question. He implores the "Blended Learning Cycle" in his classroom. The Blended Learning Cycle is a combination of Blended Learning (incorporating elements of online, mobile, and classroom learning) and the Learning Cycle. The Learning Cycle is a process composed of the steps of engaging, exploring, explain, expanding, and evaluating. By applying the Blended Learning Cycle students are engaged in a meaningful and motivational context. Mr. Anderson uses the Blended Learning Cycle in his own classroom using a process he named "Quivers". The steps for "Quivers" include: "Ask a question", "Investigation, Inquiry", "Video", "Elaboration", "Review", "Summary". These steps engage students, applying a meaningful and motivational context to the classroom. 

Check out Mr. Anderson's Video on Blended Learning:

     In a TED Talks Presentation, Brian Crosby gave a presentation entitled "Back to the Future" in which Mr. Crosby details his experiences working with at risk children. Mr. Crosby poses that striking a passion in students will remove the "disconnect" from education. Project Based Learning, Blogging, and Skype are all used by the students to further immerse them in learning. By doing so, the students are not only engaged in learning, but learn to collaborate and detail their findings in a meaningful context. By applying a meaningful context, students are further immersed in learning and thus, become much more passionate.

Mr. Crosby's Blog
Making Thinking Visible     Mark Church, author of "Making Thinking Visible", shows that critical thinking can be applied, thus making it seem relevant in a meaningful context. Mr. Church had students make a "Headline" for "what the puzzle and challenge for search for human origins is all about". This may seem like a simple assignment, but as one student remarked: "That's a big topic to put in such a small amount of words." Students worked in groups, so all the students in the group had to agree on the Headline. This teaches students collaboration and critical thinking, inspiring discussions between students that are much more effective than lecture alone. 
     Above all, these teachers show us that providing education in as Brian Crosby says, a "meaningful and motivational context" is most important. This context can be achieved through interactive learning, engaging projects, critical thinking, and discussions. This leaves us to conclude, in modern society, questioning might just be more important than answering.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Assignment #8

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tool by Erin Crane:
     In this class we tend to talk about things that relate more to Elementary Education.  Don't get me wrong, I still find new things to incorporate in my classroom.  For this blog assignment I wanted to get outside of the things we have learned and find something that would interest my high school students, particular in my history classes.  Usually any tool you find for history of that age involved a lot of reading simply because of the content. I visited some of my favorite historical landmarks' websites to see if they had anything interesting. Here's what I found.

Mount Vernon
     Mount Vernon is one of my favorite historical places i've visited.  The grounds are gorgeous and there is so much history there with the birth of our nation.  I would love to be able to take my students there, but it's just not always financial feasible.  I started looking at their website and noticed this page.
Teacher Resources
They have a Teacher Resources section of their website that included Lesson Plans you can use as well as videos you can incorporate into your teaching.  They also have a photo/video gallery of things around the estate that I could show the class as I am teaching.  They also have a Student Resources section.
Student Resources
I can send my students here for research when they are completing their "This Person In History" project (see lesson plans).  This section holds more videos, an interactive "Meet people from the past", and a digital encyclopedia.

     After finding these new tools I could use successfully I decided to go look at some of my other favorite historical places' websites.  Ford's Theatre has a Virtual Tour that I could pull up to use as a point-of-view when talking about President Lincoln's assassination.  The U.S Capitol also has Teacher and Student Resources that I could turn to when discussing the more political aspects of history.

     I feel like students would have more fun navigating the sites themselves, and it even may spark an interest for them to go search out more historical websites.  The virtual tours would help them visualize things more clearly, as well as the videos.  Overall, I think using this tool and technology might help high school students become more interesting in the history of their country.

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tool by Lance Wilkinson:
By "pre-loading" the material to be taught before the lecture, students could gain a general knowledge of the material and ask questions, leaving the class time to be devoted to applying the material, rather than being delivered the material. This application is extremely valuable to all subjects, but as a future History teacher I see enormous potential in the process of receiving and learning material before class to inspire questions, speculation, and debate.

3 Sources I have found to apply this method are:
1) ITunes U
2) Online Websites: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebook, and BBC History.
3) Databases (Such as the Alabama Virtual Library - AVL)

ITunes U provides an immense resource for students of any academic discipline. ITunes U allows students to subscribe to Podcasts of areas of study as well as provides Primary and Secondary Sources for humanities subjects. Since most students own an iDevice of some sort, most students could take their classroom material with them to access at any time. ITunes U is full of material that can be incorporated into any curriculum.
The internet provides an immense amount of content, but students need to know how to filter content to get the best sources possible. The teacher as a guide should show students where to access proper source material online first, to give students a good example of what fits good source criteria. From there, students can find their own websites and resources for source material. Being able to filter content is a 21st century skill directly related to the study of History. The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is a website that provides an immense amount of content directly related to the field of History. Students can browse everything from broad categories such as surveys of U.S. History and World History, to specific topics such as Women in History, and Events/Time Periods such as The French Revolution. Take a look:
Fordham University in New York also provides an "Internet Sourcebook" for History Students. Primary Sources from all of History are provided online for research and study. These primary sources will be assigned in class in context of the curriculum and Common Core Standards. In addition, the Primary Sources Fordham University's website provides can be used for Research Papers and Presentations. Fordham University Link:
BBC History Online also provides has a less-detailed source catalogue, as well as Historical games and quizzes for areas of interest. BBC History:
Students can also access source material online at The Alabama Virtual Library, or AVL. The AVL provides a secure, academic database for students to use for research.
The internet is an excellent tool for preserving the past, but looking toward the future. Using technology students learn not only to gather information, but to filter information as well. By applying 21st century skills to the classroom, students can engage in research like never before. Having sources directly available via the internet connects students to a world of knowledge no one before our time could imagine.

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools by Wesley Etheridge:

I've learned about so many new tools in this class that I thought it would be impossible for me to find something new to add to my class, but I was wrong. I will be teaching Social Studies on the high school level so it's very important that the tools I utilize are age appropriate and engaging. After a lot of thinking and research, I've come across numerous technological tools that would be great for a history class. However, there are three that I want to discuss today that really stood out to me:

The first tool is probably my favorite tool. In some of my previous blog posts I've discussed how I believe some video games to be a  tool that history teachers can use to their advantage. Sid Meier's Civilization video games specialize in historical content. These games are available on the iPad, Computers, and gaming consoles. In my classroom I plan to use the iPad version of this game. The game is a turn-based strategy game series in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Students will have the opportunity to become ruler of the world by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age. They will be able to wage war against other civilizations on the game, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies for their civilization, go head-to-head with some of history's greatest leaders, and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known. The game's instructions are very clear, and allow anyone over the age of 10 great gameplay. This game would be great to utilize when teaching World History because it allows you the opportunity to play as any of the early world empires. It would give students a better understanding of these early civilizations and would even allow them to see how technological advancements have taken place over time. The game could be a great tool if used properly.

The second tool is one that I never thought about using in my class until I was assigned to Eric Langhorst's blog for C4T's. Eric is a social studies teacher and he has used Google Maps to aid in teaching his 8th graders about geography. Google Maps allows you to learn about the geography of every where in the world. It's truly amazing. I can remember the first time I ever found out about google maps. I would get lost looking at various places all over the world zooming in as close as I could to see what it was like there. Eric Langhorst allowed his 8th grade class to create their own progressive Google Map in his class and I would love to do something like this myself. Each unit the students add locations to their map that are significant to the content they are currently studying.

The final tool I want to share is a website that provides numerous resources for history teachers. History Matters provides teachers with various links, but the thing I like about this website the most is it connects history teachers with other history teachers. This is a great way for me to shape my teaching strategies with other history teacher’s strategies. Also, this tool provides over 1000 links to historical documents, images, and audio interviews that would be beneficial to every history teacher.