Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grad school, Here I come!

So the title for this post is about 2 weeks late, but I've been busy! Since one of my first graduate courses as an actual graduate student (I took one as an undergraduate.) is basically an extension of EDM310, I'm going to use this blog to post my reflections, projects and ideas as I progress through EDM510. This is week 2, and so far, so good. This weeks project took a little more time than I anticipated, however, and I turned in my project literally in the eleventh hour! Scary!!! Of course, after I uploaded it, I noticed one slide still was not cooperating, but hopefully it won't count against me too badly. If you'd like to see it, here it is:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Final Blog Post: A Reflection of EDM310 in Under 10 Minutes!

This is not everything I could or would have said, but it is a honest reflection of what I learned or found great about EDM310 with a few of the struggles of the class. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Comments for Teachers Last Summary

This month I was assigned Beth Still's blog Nebraska Change Agent. She teaches in Nebraska at an alternative school. It was really nice being assigned to her blog since my first teaching job was in an alternative school.

Beth Still
The first blog of her's I read promoted Twitter for connecting educators. What a perfect post for an EDM310 student to read, right? She discussed how Twitter helps her connect with more people since her potential "face-to-face" collaboration pool is small. She also mentioned feeling obligated to teach people she introduces to Twitter how to use it because it is not the easiest thing to pick up on. She mentioned giving them and "instant PLN list." Of course, she received some flack for this. However, I do not know that I would have gotten anything out of Twitter if Dr. Strange had not started us off with a "Who to Follow" list. I had tried Twitter a few years ago, and quickly grew tired of it.

The second post was as real and honest reflection I have read so far this semester. She gave a great analogy of cheering for the underdog at dog races in Florida and how her students are underdogs because so many teachers have bet against them. She went on to reflect on how she had dropped the ball on really learning who are students are this year and what they needed. She made a commitment to do better from here on out. I think she said it well here, "Underdogs rarely start off strong and many times the game they play is not all that pretty. The only thing that should matter is what the score is at the end of the game. "

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final PLN Update

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase     My PLN is still does not have nearly the number of high school science teachers I thought I would have at this point. I think this is a good thing however. For me, the purpose of teachers using social media sites to collaborate is to meet people they would not normally meet with or share information. Perhaps that is just my liberal arts degree talking though! I settled on Diigo as a bookmarking program to store all of the wonderful links shared on Twitter by the experienced educators I am following. I truly have been converted to a tweeting educator! I still need to learn to read faster, but I have added several great hashtags: #edchat, #ntchat, #K12, #spedchat #scichat, #midleved. I am following well over 100 educators at this point, so I will not list them all here, but I have shared a Google Doc of "Who to Follow on Twitter" started by one of the educators I follow. It is much like the one provided by Dr. Strange, but is continually being updated by people who have suggestions for who to follow.
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Blog Assignment 14: Special Assignment on Metaphors

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...Image via Wikipedia

Well, bless her heart!
               There's more than one way to skin a cat.
I haven't seen you since you were knee high to a grasshopper.
Jesus is the Lamb of God.
I haven't seen you in a coon's age. 
A mighty fortress is our God.

     I believe I picked up on the metaphor used in Tom Johnson's post for a few reasons. I grew up in the country where metaphors are used DAILY! My Dad's favorite parting metaphor is "I'll let you get back to your rat killing!"  Also, I have studied the Bible my entire life. Every parable told by Jesus is a metaphor. "It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven." (Paraphrased) 

     Aside from having students detect metaphors in written works, having them listen for, write down and explain metaphors in their favorite television shows or movies would be a great way to help them become aware of metaphors. I still get confused between some metaphors and similes. Learning to really distinguish between the two would show mastery in my opinion. 

     My favorite use of metaphors would be for sarcasm, with a close second being to relate a difficult concept in a way people can more readily understand. Students need to study metaphors for many reasons. Metaphors make life more interesting, complex, beautiful, entertaining, and meaningful. If a student can find, understand and explain a complex metaphor, they are exercising reasoning skills that will benefit them throughout life. It's hard to think understanding something like "Love is in the air," could improve one's mental abilities, but I believe it does since you have to understand and compare multiple meanings. 

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What Technologies Are Teachers REALLY using? (Final Project)

A huge THANK YOU to the 51 people who responded to our questionnaire. We wanted to see how much of the technology we have spent so much time learning about this semester was being used by current teachers. We only had 5 students respond, and all were studying to be teachers. Therefore, we did not distinguish their answers from the current teachers answers. We hope you find this information helpful in figuring out what to use in your own classroom someday!

Lisianna Emmett, Michelle French, Tracy Hunt and Jennifer Silcox

Monday, April 25, 2011

Project 16: What Technology do you REALLY use?

For our final project, my group is conducting a survey to see how real world classrooms are using technology. If you are an educator, plan on being an educator or are even a student in a classroom, please take a moment and complete our questionnaire.

Thanks in advance!

Lisianna Emmett, Michelle French, Tracy Hunt and Jennifer Silcox

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Assignment 13

242/365: Lesson plansImage by DavidDMuir via FlickrThis week's post assignment will not be long despite how helpful the sites we were assigned are this week. ALEX, or Alabama Learning Exchange, is chock full of wonderful resources for beginning teachers. There are websites, lesson plans, activities, podcasts and more at teacher's and in some cases, student's disposal. I have used this site before, and my favorite feature is the lesson plans. I am not good at making professional lesson since I did not go the traditional route to become an educator. I have not had a methods course, so I have not been taught how to make a lesson plan. I do know how to plan a lesson that is engaging and fulfills objectives however. So, having these lesson plans for guidance really helps.

ALEX is another way for teachers to share lesson plans that really work with each other as well. Now, granted, ALEX should not be used a crutch for lesson planning. Most of the plans I viewed were from 2005. Information and new ideas change faster than lesson plans apparently do on ALEX. ALEX is not alone in this, as most things in education seem to move slower than the real world, but I digress. Even if ALEX was updated yearly, in my field, science, things tend to develop and change quickly. I will always remember sitting in my freshman astronomy class at South and Dr. Clark telling us that despite Pluto's demotion that week, we would still act like there are nine planets orbiting our Sun since the textbook said so. We all (Dr. Clark included) found this amusing as the semester progressed.

My point is, like most everything this semester, ALEX, ACCESS, AMSTI, etc. are all great tools, great resources, great jumping-off points. However, they are not final and need to be updated before being used.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Comments for Kids Summary 3

Booby Benefit BotImage by Jenn and Tony Bot via FlickrMr. McClung's World
     The first comment for kids this month was a little unusual. It wasn't for a student's blog, but rather a class blog. I was assigned to Mr. McClung's post on the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure post. I thought it neat that Mr. McClung encourages his students to give to such a great charity. It wasn't a requirement, but he did "sweeten the pot" by allowing the class with the most funds raised to shave his head. Not only his, but the boys in the class could shave theirs too and the girls could dye their hair pink. Since they are only 6th graders I wonder if participating in the charity walk would count toward community service hours for graduation if an Alabama school did something like this?

Week in Review 24/02/11

     I really enjoyed my next comment for kids assignment. KM is a year 6 student and blogged about a physics experiment the class conducted with paper airplanes. As a biology major, anything science related interests me. I asked if the class figured out why paper clips on the planes helped them fly further. I didn't get a response yet, but still found the experiment to be a great visual and hands-on learning tool for exploring the physics of flight.

     Mrs. Yollis is one tough cookie! I mean that in a good way though. I would love to have ANY of her third graders as students someday. For family blogging month (April), Mrs. Yollis showcased some of the quality comments by her students and their families. She requires her students and visitors to use proper spelling, grammar and blogging etiquette when blogging. I think this is great for many reasons. First, it enforces the writing techniques her students are learning in class. Second, with texting and on-line acronyms it is easy to lose spelling and grammar knowledge as visitors. Lastly, teaching proper etiquette at such a young age must have life-long benefits of imprinting what it means to be a good person since her proper etiquette includes such rules as only saying encouraging things. It is great that she is teaching basic html codes as well. I am glad she posted some for visitors to use as well since I am not strong in html code yet. All of the videos both tabbed and on the blog are very helpful as well. Such a quality blog really encourages me to have my own class blog. 

Grace's Post on Quality Comments
     Grace is one of Mrs. Yollis' third graders. She composed a well thought out, visually appealing post on how to write quality comments. She suggests the following steps: make a connection, pose a question, always comment back when someone comments on your post, and never publish anything until you are certain your spelling and grammar are correct. Finally, she poses two questions to end her post. "Have you ever had a conversation with a friend, a family member, or someone you do not even know?" "What is your favorite step in quality commenting?" I answered her questions as follows: "I recently received comments from two ladies who were not in my class and it really made my day. I followed your advice here for leaving quality comments and I was able to have a nice conversation with them. I really like the picture you used and I was just wondering if you or Mrs. Yollis wrote that? Diagrams are a great way to learn. I use them often when I am learning something new." In case you missed it, I did not answer her last question. I think what happened is I misread because I said my favorite part of blogging is getting comments. I should have said my favorite part of quality commenting is asking questions because it allows the conversation to continue. 
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Blogger

My friend Jeanette Schill is graduating from the University of Mobile this Spring with her B.A. in Secondary Education-English. She posted this earlier today on Facebook, and with permission, I am sharing it with you simply because she is where we all will be very shortly (if we are lucky!). I know she was stressed quite often during her internship, but at the end of the day, she still feels like teaching is where she belongs. Good teachers aren't made, they are called. 
From Jeanette Schill

I'm a week away from finishing my student teaching.
Here are some things that I've learned along the way. Some I knew and believed; others have really just been driven home along the way.
  1. Certain students will always try your patience. You just have to learn to deal with it. It's probably just an aspect of their personality that they can't control.
  2. Be prepared to spend your own money.. perhaps lots of it.
  3. Your students may not always listen, but they SEE everything — actions speak louder than words.
  4. You have to be prepared for anything to happen during school. I’ve sewn shirts, written out study guides because a computer froze, and completely revamped a lesson 5 minutes beforehand.
  5. I learned that you can survive on very little food because you're not thinking about how hungry you are until you're finally still.
  6. Keep any copies that you make in a separate folder for students who lose theirs. If you see you only have one left, make some more copies. It's a lifesaver.
  7. Believe in your students even if they don’t believe in themselves.
  8. Let the students know that you are not infallible—be comfortable enough with yourself that you can admit when you do not know an answer and that you are willing to learn with your students.
  9. Classroom management-- Ok, so I got an entire course on it… It wasn’t enough, and I didn’t get to practice them early enough. All the plans assume that the students care about grades and success and getting in trouble, many don’t, so the strategies don’t work.
  10. I learned how strong teachers' bladders can be!
  11. I learned to compromise with my kids at times, and found that you must make sure that students have technology before you assign something that requires it, or make arrangements to provide them with time at school.
  12. I learned that students react differently to teachers who don't worry so much over things like what color their shoes are. Students not only did their work but got it in early.
  13. I knew this but I really learned how important planning is. The kids know when you haven't.
  14. I wish I had known how much it would hurt when a student you have grown to care about blatantly lies and stabs you in the back. I had to learn not to take things so personally.
  15. I found out how easy it is to frustrate a parent, especially a concerned one. You really have to work and word things carefully. The smallest little incident in class can come back to haunt you.
  16. I wish that someone had told me how complicated makeup assignments and absences can be when you have 120 students all on different assignments. You have to learn how to give that fatal zero, and devise a system that makes students more accountable for their own work.
  17. I wish that someone would devise a new curriculum that would help students develop vocabulary and force them to read. It's the biggest problem with their performance across the board, even in other classes.
  18. I wish I had known that counting to 3 actually still works as a means of disciplining 10th graders, and that how much they actually hate seating arrangements can work to your advantage. Raising your voice only works for a few minutes and you're back to square one.
  19. I learned how to adapt when technology crashed, which it often did, and how to be versatile when classes end up a day or so behind each other. I learned that you can't cover every single thing that you plan to cover.
  20. I learned that kids can't be 100 percent quiet, and that it really can't be expected. A buzzing classroom is an awake classroom!!
  21. I learned that you come up against tons of controversial and often ridiculous policies handed down from the central office that you just have to deal with.
  22. I learned to compromise with my kids at times, and found that you must make sure that students have technology before you assign something that requires it, or make arrangements to provide them with time at school
  23. I learned that you can't grade 120 papers the same way that you would grade 20. I had to learn to be less focused on minute details and more focused on the overall picture. It took me entirely too long to grade one paper.
  24. I found out that if you make an entire PowerPoint of warm-up activities ahead of time, you can just turn on the projector and go to work on something else.
  25. Forget the adage, “Don’t smile until Christmas.” Smiling and demonstrating a sense of humor will not compromise your authority. You may be the only adult who smiles or greets an individual student warmly today. You may never know the importance of those smiles or other expressions of caring.

And finally, I wish that someone could express how wonderful it feels at the end of the day when you remember that one student who looked at you with sincerity and a real longing for knowledge when you least expected it. I wish that someone could define that sparkle when kids actually connect with something you're saying or doing. Teaching is such a wonderful profession, no matter the problems that we encounter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blog Assignment 12: Create Your Own Blog Post Assignment

Making it on my Own
     For this assignment, Dr. Strange has instructed we do two things. First, create a blog post assignment we think he should have assigned to us. Second, complete the assignment we just created. I took this to mean we are to find a blog, article, or other website that is of interest to us and pertinent to EMD310. This still left a long list of potential sites for me to choose from in the short week I had to complete the assignment. My Diigo account has some 80+ articles, blogs and sites I have bookmarked, and the majority of my tweets are recommending great links. After reviewing several sites, and even thinking I had found "the one," I settled on a post from my Google Reader RSS feed by Mr. Larry Ferlazzo, a Sacramento high school English Language Learner teacher. (If you are interested, here is "the one" I thought I would be using. It was post in TeachHUB.com by Meg Ormiston.)

Proposed EDM310 Blog Post Assignment

     Larry Ferlazzo compiles some of the best sites for educators on every topic imaginable. You would be wise to add his RSS feed to your PLN as a vast resource site. Check out his compilation "How to be a Better Blogger." There are several great links, and you should explore all of them for your own benefit. However, for this blog assignment, make sure you view Sue Water's (The Edublogger) 1.) "Here’s My Top Five Mistakes Made by New Bloggers — What Are Yours?" and 2.) Here’s My First Five Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts — What Are Yours? At the end of each post she asks three questions. Answer them in your blog assignment and either leave her a comment with your response or a link to your blog where you answer her questions. Be sure to let her know you are part of this class and that the link will take her to your response. These are only two of over 30 sites he recommends. Choose at least one more and answer: 
  • What sparked your interest in it over the others 
  • What you learned 
  • Leave a comment on that blog.

My Response to My Assignment

     Mrs. Waters' posts are excellent for beginners like me. Although someone (Jamie Lynn or Allie) commented once telling me to use headers to separate my response to multiple sites on the same blog, it is not something I have been good at doing. I am and always have been long winded and my blog posts are no different. I really should spend more time making my blog visually appealing. I wrote most of my posts in the "Edit HTML" tab as I was trying to force myself to learn basic HTML code, but had I used the "Compose" tab a little more, perhaps this would not have been as big an issue. She mentions not copying and pasting from Word into your blog. This is hard for me not to do. I tend to use Word as my grammar checker since my computer and Blogger both have spell checker. Copying and pasting into "Edit HTML" cuts down on the amount of code I have to correct though. 
     One thing I would add to her "mistakes" list is not proofreading. I know it is easy to miss a homonym or two on occasion, or a typo, but if you are supposed to be an educator then you should be able to write a blog mostly free of basic grammatical mistakes. This does not have to be stressful to the point that you do not blog, but please, give your blogs and comments at least a once over before you post and do not, I repeat, DO NOT use texting or Twitter short hand on a blog. As much as I try to stay up on these shortcuts, not everyone knows what SMH or #edchat mean.
Mrs. Water's poses the following questions:

  1. What are your 3 most important tips for writing better blog posts? 
  2. What blog post recently has made you want to comment and what was it about this post that engaged you? 
  3. Has a post recently inspired you to write your own post? What was it about the post that made you take action?

     My three tips are: proofread, learn basic HTML code, and make your blog visually appealing.
     Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine, but I cannot stand to read a blog riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I understand the occasional typo or commonly misused word, and am guilty of making my own mistakes. However, if you are going to take the time to write something for public viewing, take the few extra minutes and run it through a spelling and grammar checker. Please!
     Learning basic HTML code can enhance your blogging experience. Perhaps this is because Dr. Strange required us to learn it, but knowing just a few commands really enhances a bloggers ability to write a good blog, good comments, and not be dependent on "compose" tabs.
     Lastly, one I have learned over my brief four months of blogging, make your blog visually appealing. Dr. Strange has required us to add at least one picture with alt and title codes to all of our blogs, but this is not the only way to improve the look of your blog. Mrs. Waters list many of these in her "better blogger" post. I am guilty of many of those listed by her, but I am trying to remember to make shorter paragraphs and use headers. Just because a blogger is an educator, it does not limit them to Times New Roman 12 pt black. I would recommend using colors and fonts that are easily read however.

     There are so many wonderful blog posts I have read over the last four months. Since I cannot remember the last post I commented on before Mrs. Waters, I will say hers is the last I wanted comment on. Even though I used her blog for this assignment, it was my choice as to which blog I chose for the assignment, so I think it counts. I chose her blog because it was pertinent to my blogging level. I am very much still a beginner blogger and I see myself using blogging for a long time, so I want to become skilled in it. Her tips were valid and helpful to me. 
     Ira David Socol's SpeEdChange "Writing without the Blocks" post not only inspired me to write my own post, but introduced me to a program I did not even know existed on my own computer and encouraged me to think of yet another way to help my future students engage and learn. I believe I first read a link to it via Twitter, but after reading it I had to try it. I have long struggled with spelling. One of the things I miss most about my iPhone is having a dictionary at my constant disposal. Besides, anything I already have free access to and can make learning easier for someone deserves a look.

     Ed Yong's Discover Not Exactly Rocket Science blog post, "Are science blogs stuck in an echo chamber? Chamber? Chamber?" sparked my interest simply because I hold a biology degree and hope to teach science someday. As I read it, I realized it had little to do with educational blogging for students, but plenty of valid ideas for my personal blog. It was basically things I already knew, such as the best way to get views is to post links to your blog through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. I recently enjoyed an increase in viewers because a tweet with a link to my blog was re-tweeted by several people. It made my little geek heart happy! The heart of this blog however dealt with how to get the general population to visit (scientific) websites and blogs. Yong's main point is know your audience and the audience you want to reach. Basic writing concern, but in a digital age where you have tons of competition and only seconds to capture and retain some one's attention. I think his best advice for any type of writer is to avoid jargon with which non-degree holders might not be familiar.
    I understand that I can not write a scientific blog with a ton of jargon and expect non-degree holding readers to understand everything I am saying, if they even read beyond the first few sentences. However, I do not see how one can write a scientific blog without any jargon. I think the best thing would be to use as little jargon as possible and explain it as necessary. For instance, I did not know what IWB was when I began EDM310. Dr. Strange did not give us a list of acronyms so I had to learn on my own that IWB means interactive white boards. Now, I do not expect a reader who stumbles upon my blog to pull up a dictionary or Google to understand by blog. That is a little absurd. However, just like every paper I have ever written if the first time I introduce a new specialized words I give a quick definition and if it has an acronym then I put the acronym in parenthesis and then I can use it as needed with the understanding that reader will now know what I am writing about. I can understand how this can be frustrating to the writer and unnecessary for a novice or expert reader, so perhaps there is a happy medium. Ultimately, it depends on how many readers you want to reach. Personally, I will be happy with as many fellow geeks as I can reach, but readership will not dictate everything I blog.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Progress on Project 16 (Final Project)

At the moment I have not made a ton of progress on my final project. However, I have established a group: Tracy Hunt, Jennifer Silcox and Michelle French. We have a Wiki for collaboration. Okay, so the name says Project 15 because I simply recycled the page since we did not use it much for project 15. We also all agree we do not want to do a book project, but none of us are overly thrilled at the idea of doing something that will require us to be on camera beyond our voices. I have watched part of the videos listed in the projects pdf, so ideas are following, but nothing concrete yet. Since I am posting this on Wednesday night, I will update further if developments arise before Sunday. Thank you.
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Patriotic Smiley Face Doll

Project 15: USA First Gift

For my groups Project 15, we worked on the USA First Gift video contest.  I am sorry to say that the video will not be available for viewing on Youtube until the contest is over.  Until then, it is located on the EDM310 Family computer in the lab.

Smiley Face

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

picture of an e-learning classroomImage via Wikipedia
Something close to my dream classroom.

Mrs. Cassidy uses blogs, videos, online games, learning websites wikispaces.com and audio to enhance her first graders comprehension of things first graders have been learning for a lot longer than there have been computers! Using more than one technique to help her students learn is a great way to not only teach a student, especially a struggling student, but to reinforce learning for students who master a concept quickly. I know I am going to do my best to incorporate student blogs into my teaching. I have found my student blog to be a great tool for reflection and understanding. Another great thing with blogging is the feedback or discussions that a blog post can offer. I also like the idea of having students create videos, instruction manuals, etc. where they take on the role of teacher. Of course video and audio can definitely be used in many ways in a classroom, but one thing I learned early on in my own education is that if you teach someone else something you are learning, you are more likely to understand it successfully yourself. I actually began using wikispaces.com after watching this video. I think it is a great way to allow students to collaborate on projects, and believe I will use it some when having my students work on long-term collaborative projects. 

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Project 14: Teach Someone Something

How to Use Posterous.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

Special Assignment: Mr. McClung's World

Susan G. Komen Clean Air CabImage via WikipediaMr. Joe McClung teaches middle school in Fayetteville, AK. He appears to be passionate, energetic and busy social studies, computer applications, and Arkansas history teacher as well as a cross country coach. Honestly, I do not know how he can teach so many things! I taught two and a half subjects (I collaborated with the half subject) and rarely spent less than 60 hours a week preparing for and teaching class. Of course, I was a fresh out of college, no methods or class management education, newbie. It seems clear that technology is not something he shies away from with his students. He uses his blog to keep the parents updated and show the progress his students are making. I like that he encourages his students to be involved in charity work, especially such a great foundation as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Mr. McClung takes the time to break down what he expects from his students verses rules and procedures. This shows a lot of thought for not only how he wants his classroom to be run, but for what his students need to be successful. I really like his first expectation: STAY POSITIVE! As a student or a teacher it is easy to become discouraged with new material, deadlines, standardized testing and general differences in personalities and daily external pressures of life. I also found rule number four to be out of the ordinary and great advice for more than his class. Learning to make smart choices, by which I assume he means choices that are efficient, effective and best for whatever goals are to be achieved, at an early age will prepare one better for the rest of their lives. People who are most successful in life are the ones who did this early on. They planned ahead, learned to delay instant gratification for long term gratification and did not give up even when the steps for their goals required hard work on their part. I understand the need for structure in a classroom, and perhaps I will change my mind after working in a classroom for a longer time, but I really hate requiring students to raise their hands before participating in class discussions. Of course, I worked with 17-21 year olds initially so that might be the biggest difference. I did ask they let me know they needed to go to the restroom quietly instead of just getting up and leaving, but again, my students both past and hopefully present are at a near adult level and I hope I will be able to mostly treat them as such.

The first requirement that everyone needs is a day planner. With multiple classes and assignments, it is important to stay organized so that assignments are not turned in late or important dates missed. Mr. McClung's late homework penalties are no different than most teachers’ I have had (excluding such wonderful professors like Dr. Strange, who does not believe in grades, although he does prefer us to be on time with assignments). I even used the same penalties with my students. However, I am starting to question this policy with some recent reading I have done. I have not yet decided if this is a policy I will keep, primarily because I found it ineffective. Often struggling students for whom the homework should have been most beneficial turned in sloppy or incomplete work on time or took the penalty and received a better grade before the penalty. Which is better for the student? Of course, how do I encourage students who do not have an intrinsic interest in learning the material? I have so many things yet to work out for my own pedagogy.
I find his hopes for his blog feasible and quite apropos. A class blog should showcase the students’ work and keep parents informed of their students’ requirements. I hope to incorporate a blog into my classes as a teacher. After studying various schools’ blogs through our comments for kids and seeing how much I have learned from required blog posts, I can see the benefit of having students maintain a blog. Not to mention the benefit of students being up able to say they lost a document or forgot a deadline if the class blog is well maintained with such information. Parents as well will be able to stay on top of what their children are learning and will be able to refute lies of “I have no homework.” I can see posting rubrics so that parents can see exactly what is needed to achieve the highest grades. Issues I foresee are as follows: students without internet access and school policies which prohibit such activities.

While exploring the Useful Links I came across the link for Vocaroo. It is such a simple voice recording program. I did not see a way to edit or do anything fancy, but there is nothing to download and embedding into a blog is extremely easy. Here is my test recording:

Two other sites I found interesting included Biology Corner and Guys Read. As a hopeful biology teacher I found many useful lab worksheets on Biology Corner. Guys Read is a great site because it encourages boys to read by compiling lists of books by topic that boys are more likely to be interested in reading. Considering most of the young men I have encountered so far struggled more than their female counterparts in reading, this is a great resource for teachers and parents to encourage their students to read. Mr. McClung's list is vast and covers more than the topics he teaches. This is a sign a great teacher. It is easy to get wrapped up in your own discipline with the vast curriculum, 180 day-ish restrictions, and seemingly ever increasing number of state and federal standardized tests. It is refreshing to see a teacher who provides resources for other disciplines, which will only lead to better students and, as he lists in his rules, a happy teacher.
I found the internet safety guidelines adequate and honestly can not think of anything he missed. It is important that students learn how to protect themselves on the internet. If students know how to protect themselves properly then teachers, principals and ultimately parents will be more likely to feel comfortable letting their students use the internet for learning.

I was assigned the Susan G. Komen for the Cure post. The post described Mr. McClung's challenge for his classes to raise money for the charity. Susan G. Komen foundation hosts "Race for the Cure" races all over the country to raise money to fund the world's largest cancer research program. He lists the goal, $2000, ways that others can participate, and, the part I am sure the students are most excited about, the prize for accomplishing the goal, head shaves and hair dyes! Mr. McClung and the boys will have their heads shaved and the girls will get to dye their hair pink. It sounds like lots of fun.
I would love to say I found something wonderful about Edublog, but honestly I did not explore it. I should have. There was so much to this assignment however that I did not read this requirement until just now, and with my skill for procrastination, it is Sunday and I have run out of time. I guess there are a few features I found useful, but I am not sure if they are or are not available on blogger. The archives and the category selection drop downs were very useful.

Mr. McClung has included many links that students and parents will find useful. He has organized it well so that the important information such as the syllabus and rules are easily found, but the blogs true focus, students' work and special assignments (such as the Susan G. Komen event)is the main feature. Again, the archives and category selection menus are another great way to allow for maximum organization and easy of navigation for the parents, students and other visitors.

All of the student blogs I visited were for younger grades. Even when the blog had a central location, each student had their own page. Mr. McClung's blog does not link individual students' blogs. I assume this means they do not have individual class blogs. I wonder if it is his choice or school policy. I think allowing the students to individual class blogs is a great idea. It allows each student a way to reflect, to share and to teach.
I think Mr. McClung's passion for teaching shows through his blog. If Arkansas schools allow it, the only suggestion I have is for him to set up individual student blogs. I hope I did not miss the link if he does have them already. I call myself having looked. Otherwise, I say keep up the good work!
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Practicing Posterous.com for Teach Someone Project

I have to “teach someone something” for my EDM310 class. Dr. Strange requested I learn and teach someone about posterous.com. I have used it some, but not enough to feel completely comfortable with all of the features yet. He did not say I had to be an expert, but I do want to be comfortable with most of the features. The one thing I love most about Posterous is that it updates multiple social networks at one time. It also has a feature that allows you to subscribe to other blogs, and it e-mails updates to you weekly. Of course, one problem is when it updates to your blogger and you aren’t really posting a full post. I guess this isn’t really a problem if you don’t mind a lot of short blog posts, but I do. It is nice that you can update all of your sites via e-mail, especially if you are like me and without a smart phone at the moment. I only have Facebook, Twitter and Blogger right now, so I am not sure about the other sites that Posterous will update to via e-mail. I have attached a few types of documents to this post so that I can see how they fair in blogger.


Lisianna Emmett Calendar
Tuesday, April 05, 2011 – Monday, April 11, 2011
Time zone: (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
(Adjusted for Daylight Saving Time)


April 2011






























































Out of Office




Outside of Working Hours


 April 2011


Tue, Apr 05 – Fri, Apr 08    


Before 8:00 AM

Outside of Working Hours


8:00 AM – 5:00 PM



After 5:00 PM

Outside of Working Hours


Sat, Apr 09 – Sun, Apr 10  


All Day

Outside of Working Hours


Mon, Apr 11 


Before 8:00 AM

Outside of Working Hours


8:00 AM – 5:00 PM



After 5:00 PM

Outside of Working Hours



Science Twitter pple.docx Download this file

Lisianna Emmett Calendar.ics Download this file


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

An Open Letter to Educators

I don’t think there is much more that I can say about Dan Brown’s video that he or Morgan didn’t already say. Nearly all of my classes, especially my freshman and sophomore year, were spent listening to a lecture covering information straight from the textbook. By the time I finished my second semester at South (I was a sophomore), I waited to buy my textbooks after classes started to make sure the professor was going to do more than require us to read the book because I found it spent most of the semester as a paper weight if not. I understand that one must have a basic understanding of the material, and that not everyone does well without someone explaining something to them. However, after experiencing a class like EDM310 where students are required to learn what they need, how they need without meeting 3 hours a week to listen to a professor dictate from a book I could have (and should have) read on my own. Aside from EDM, which I feel is a special case being such a technology heavy course, I think the class I most enjoyed was my Diversity in Education course with Dr. Juarez. She would assign readings to us, and then instead of her telling us what the author said, we would actually discuss as a class what we felt was being said. Now, this isn’t to say she never lectured, but that she didn’t lecture on assigned readings like most of my other professors did. I do agree with Morgan that Dan did take his protest farther than I would have. As Richard Howell pointed out in his comment, we still need our college degrees in order to move up in our society.

Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home!

Mr. Spencer’s satire evoked a smile. How could it not? As is true with most satires, he only exaggerates reality. It is not that irrationally logical people are not needed to prevent lawsuits and the like in schools, but so often they get wrapped up in the legal concerns or the minute details that they forget schools are meant for learning. How else do we expect children to know how to do things if we do not show them? Yes, parents are responsible for teaching as well, but where do students spend half of their waking hours? School. So, it is a teacher’s responsibility as well to teach acceptable behavior in areas that affect the school environment.

A teacher's adventures in cyberspace

Mosaic imageImage via WikipediaAwesome way to view blogger blogs! A teacher's adventures in cyberspace
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Comments for Teachers Summary 3

Kim Cofino
I was assigned to Ms. Kim Cofino’s blog, Always Learning. She is an international teacher, currently working in Japan. On March 11, Japan shook from a 9.0 earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami and radiation from a nuclear plant that was damaged from the natural disasters. She and her husband, also a teacher, are safe in Singapore after deciding to leave a few days after the quake. Therefore, I posted on “older” posts.

The first post “Not Your Grandma’s Conference” described a 1:1 conference she attended where 100 students and 100 teachers gathered to learn, collaborate and present together. Although there seems to still be some separation of the two groups, students working on a solution for “environment and challenges of urban living” and the teachers focusing on “a globally collaborative project they can implement in their schools,” all projects were shared and “judged” by all 200 attendees. She found the other great things about this conference to be: leadership, flexibility and approach. Nearly everyone who attended are in the classroom daily, therefore they have real world experience and not just hypothetical situations, and although it was well planned and booked, the planners, Julie and Vicki changed things as needed to allow as much collaboration and learning to take place as possible. She did feel that three things could be tweaked to make the conference better: more mixing of students and teachers, more time for the conference, and “structured planning for presenters.”

I found this conference very interesting. This is professional development (PD) beyond what I can envision happening here in Mobile, having attended one PD event where a very nice, well-informed and organized woman taught us about student’s emotional needs, but where I feel I learned almost nothing. I would love to see videos of the presentations to get a better idea of what happens at this “Flat Classroom event.”

The next post I chose was “Students as Teachers: 6th Grade Tutorial Designers.” I know I have often said I loved something this semester in EDM310, but I LOVED the ideas in this post! Kim is having her technology students make instructional videos on something that interests them (sounds a lot like our project 14!). She is also considering having them make a tutorial teaching student in 6th grade or lower something that other teachers could use in their classroom. She is quite detailed in how she is having her students go about this project, which is helpful for other teachers who might wish to do the same. Kim brought up several struggles her students had with this project, including the reason for the project that most seem to be unable to work without direct instruction. She suspects this is mostly due to the Japanese culture because they are constantly instructed on what to do, how to do it and when to do it, even to hold onto the rail for the escalator. She (and I) hopes this project will allow them to work on independent, self-directed learning abilities.

I told her how I have been reading about engaging students more in their learning experiences by giving them more control over what they learn. This project seems to be doing just that, plus the added bonus of breaking their students their comfort zone considering the cultural norm. Although I am sure the need for direct instruction is much greater in Japan, I have found that American high school students often need or want to be told exactly what to do as well. Of course, I think this is more conditioning by teachers than it is by American society. Kim mentioned posting all of the tutorials to a website for everyone to view, and I have subscribed to her blog in hopes of seeing how this project turns out when her school opens back up.

Picture from Kim Cofino's blog.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Teaching Reading in the Middle Grades

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08:  A student reads...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeI found this link in a tweet from Mrs. E (@mrsebiology). I thought some of my fellow elementary or reading/English EDM classmates might find this useful.
Help! My Students Can't Read Their Textbooks: Teaching Reading in the Middle Grades

"This six-part series is designed for middle level teachers looking for strategies that will increase their students’ comprehension of informational texts. Program 1 outlines many of the challenges confronting teachers with struggling readers. Programs 2-6 provide in-depth classroom examples of a variety of instructional strategies in each of the four core academic areas—mathematics, social studies, language arts, and science.
The series is rich in classroom videotape examples and provides participants with many opportunities to apply their new knowledge to the texts they teach and to plan instruction for their students. Through questions that focus their viewing of Programs 2-6, participating teachers are asked to consider the strengths of each of the lessons presented and how the strategies could be adapted for their own classrooms."
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