Sunday, October 26, 2014

C4K #2

My first C4K for this month was to Kenneth again who attends John Hanson French Immersion School in Maryland. In his latest blog post, he posted about how he does not want to change anything about his life and that he loves the way things are. I commented that I loved that he was so happy with how things are but that I was the complete opposite! I love change and always find room for improvement. I like to challenge myself and push myself to the limit to see where it will take me. In a previous post of his, he talked about how he wanted to make a career out of football so in this comment, I also challenged him to push himself to improve and to strive for better and he will be able to do anything he sets out to do!

 My second C4K this month was to Carlie from Wisconsin. The blog post I commented on was called, Being Someone's Hero (One for the Murphy's). It was about how a hero is not always someone in a movie and can be anyone who simply makes your day a little brighter. She opened up her blog post with a couple of questions asking her readers what being a hero to someone means to them. I commented in admiration of how she opened up her blog post with a self reflecting question. She went on in her blog talking about how much her friend's family means to her because they always make her day better and she encourages her readers at the end to go out and be a hero to someone else by making their day better! How sweet! I commented about how inspiring her post was and loved that she gave her readers homework to touch someone's life today.

hero definition

My third C4K this month was to Iona's 5SC from Scotland. She put together six short sentences that described what sounded like a nice outdoor wedding. Her last sentence was about a swan swimming in a pond. I commented explained that I was a student from the University of South Alabama and my class let's us comment on blogs of people from all over the world. I also said that I loved her description of an outdoor wedding and swan was my favorite part. I also wished her luck in school!

My fourth C4K this month was Sohel' s blog. He is a year 6 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ who likes sports and apparently is a fan of Minecraft. Sohel's latest blog post was a captivating story about two characters who face a challenge in the game of Minecraft and just when you think the problem was solved, the story ends in a cliffhanger that shows the problem has only just begun. I commented in awe of his use of a captivating first sentence and how he leaves the audience wanting to know more about the characters. I know nothing about Minecraft but the way he was describing the action made me want to play!

minecraft picture

Project #12

For project #12, we were told to make a video showing that we had basic knowledge of how to work a Smart Board and use the Smart Notebook. My video on a Smart Board tutorial is below!

Blog Post #10

What Can We Learn from Mrs. Cassidy?

be positive

From watching the video interviews between Mrs. Cassidy and Dr. Strange, I learned:

-          Mrs. Cassidy started using technology when she only had 5 computers with no programs on them, only internet access.
-          They made blogs, videos, and webpages.
-          You should send home a waiver with your students for their parents to sign and be aware of their activity online and about how you will post pictures and still protect their identity.
-          Technology has changed, so we have to change.
-          Technology should be incorporated no matter what grade you teach
-          Blogs are useful because the students (or anyone with a blog) have an audience, to network and meet people and other students from all around the world to learn from them.
-          The kids are getting writing, audio, and video experience from blogging alone.
-          Skype is another useful way to connect the students with other classrooms or experts.

-          Twitter is a useful way to expand your PLN

-          Twitter is a VERY useful way to expand your PLN. Great way to learn about resources from other teachers or people interested in the things that you are interested in

-          If you are a future teacher, GET A TWITTER

-          You could use a blog for Physical Education to relay messages to students
-          Since some projects are becoming more collaborative, the teacher needs to get creative in ways to get the students to present their work.
-          Facebook could also be a great way to find resources, post announcements, etc. as long as you and others use it professionally

-          Protect the kids by only posting first name, posting pictures without matching the students, teaching them what websites are safe to use for information, teaching them that there are websites out there that are “not nice” and to not go there for their own protection, teaching them to only post nice things online

I think Mrs. Cassidy’s approach to using technology in her classroom is admirable in the fact that she knows the students are growing up with technology as something normal in their lives and instead of hiding that fact, she is embracing it to the fullest even if she does not have others around her applying it like she does. She began using technology when she was given 5 computers with no programs on it. The computers only had internet access and she learned to manage and work with what she had and it has bloomed from there.
One of the techniques I will use in my classroom is the use of a class blog and each of my students having blogs of their own. I love the idea of having a class blog that students, parents, and the world can see of updates in my classroom, keeping parents posted, displaying what we are doing in the classroom, current events, etc. I also love the idea of each of my students using blogs as a personal portfolio of their work. This is a great way for parents to see what their child is doing in class on their own time, a way to teach the kids how to be safe on the internet, how to post positive comments, and a way for them to interact with people from all over the world.
One impediment I might encounter would be students posting not-so-nice comments on another student’s blog. Although I would teach students ahead of time the reasons for positive comments and why negative comments are not okay, if it were to happen I would use it as a learning opportunity to reteach the importance on positive comments and possible outcomes if there comment would have been posted for everyone to see.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog Post #9

What can teachers and students teach us about project based learning?

Every teacher should want their class to be the most beneficial and the most fun. No one wants to have a boring class with meaningless projects. How can you make projects fun for your students while teaching them meaningful information?

Get a Grip on Project Based Learning

From reading Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning they taught me what every good project needs is for it to be personally meaningful to the student and to fulfill an educational purpose. They also listed the seven essentials of project based learning that provide the students with a meaningful project that can also be fun. Those seven essentials are:
1. Launch projects with an entry-event that engages the students' interest and raises questions
2. Ask a driving question. This needs to be open-ended, complex, and linked to the core of what you want your students to learn
3. Give the students a chance to show their voice and make choices for the projects. This could be in the form of them choosing how they want to present or providing them with a list of driving questions to choose from so they can choose the one they like best.
(an example of how fun projects can be when you let students choose, watch: Two Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap)
4. The process of doing the project should give them real-life skill practice such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking skills, and the use of technology.
    - Read about Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning
5. The driving question should lead them to discover new questions and find new answers about the subjects as well.
6. Provide the students with feedback. Students can critique each others' work using rubric's they made and the teacher can get experts or adult mentors to provide feedback as well as the teacher meeting with each group to make sure they are on the right track.
7. Make it public and have a real audience. It is more fun and meaningful when a project isn't just another grade but instead to present a real problem and solution for a real audience.

learning pyramid

From watching Project Based Learning for Teachers, the video reiterated that it is important for the projects to:
- have a purpose
- address an audience
- provide a driving question
- identify learning standards
- create a rubric
- group students together
- brainstorm branching questions
- meet deadlines
- focus on the process
- refine the end product

What Motivates Students to Want to Learn?

Sometimes it is intriguing and valuable to see what motivates students. From watching What Motivates Students, I learned that it is important to students that teachers provide positive feedback. Tell them they have done a good job, write nice things on their paper, something simple just to show that you have noticed their hard work!
The video also taught me that students who had goals were more motivated because they had something to work towards or for. If they had consequences for getting bad grades they also were also more motivated.
Finally, rewards are motivation in itself. Children like to get little treats or goodies for their hard work or good behavior and  I believe that it is good to reward those things. This video had great ideas for rewarding children for good things such has having a board to clip up or down on and if you get the highest clip up, you get a reward such as eating lunch with the teacher, a lollipop, etc.

treasure box

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


stack of childrens books

The teacher I was assigned for this C4T was Mrs. Kathy Cassidy. She is a first grade teacher at Prairie South Schools in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. I visited her blog on 9/28/14 and her latest blog post at that point was titled "Listening to Reading in a One iPad Classroom." It had such great ideas on activities to do in the classroom and tips for how to handle certain situations she has run into so others would know ahead of time. She also posted many helpful resources like a link to Unite for Literacy Library with over one hundred ebooks for beginning readers. I commented on that blog post with complete adoration over that post and her entire blog because of the ideas and resources she has on her blog. I was thoroughly impressed and inspired. Check her blog out here!

The next visit to Mrs. Cassidy's blog, I commented on a blog post titled, "Three Options for Independent Reading on the iPad." This post was about finding good quality books for the students to read on the iPad. From what she found from various sources, there are three different websites or apps that she found where they provide a variety of books available on the iPad. One being an app called Epic!. If you log in as an educator, your account is free and you and your students can log in and read the same book at the same time on the iPad with no problem! I don't know why this sounds so fun to me but it does and I can only imagine how fun it would be for the kids to be able to find awesome, quality books on this app for them to choose from!
The next resource she talked about was a website called Unite for Literacy. It has hundreds of beginning level books with a read aloud option if they get stuck on a word. I think this would be great in lower level classrooms.
Finally, she talks about the Kindle app for the iPad. She has 5 different Amazon accounts for each iPad in her classroom and she waits for books to become free and she will download them to each iPad.
I commented on that post saying that I loved her creativity in her resources and how efficient her reasources would be to someone with little to no budget. I also shared with her another great website with Free Kids Books that has a variety of books to choose from that can be read aloud to the child, downloaded as a pdf, or read online!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching andLearning

From the study done by Zogby Analytics, there have been many rapid changes to the way people use their smartphone and smartphone camera. In the field of education, it is important to be aware of and adapt with these changes because the kids we will be teaching will be growing up with smartphones while most of us grew up without them.

Some of these statistics are as follows:
1. 87% say their smartphone never leaves their side.
2. 80% say the very first thing they do in the morning is reach for their smartphone.
3. 78% say they spend 2 or more hours per day using their smartphone.
4. 68% say they would prefer to use their smartphone instead of their laptop or personal computer for personal use.
5. 91% say that having a camera on their smartphone is important (61% very important)
6. 87% say they use their smartphone camera at least weekly. 59% use their smartphone camera at least every other day. 44% use their smartphone camera for still or motion picture taking every day.

These statistics show that times have changed and with that, the way we teach our kids needs to change. If 87% of people say their smartphone never leaves their side, then we should be using this statistic to show our kids how to use it to their advantage. With as many great things that we can access on our smartphones, is as many bad things that could be accessed as well. I think having iPads in the schools is the greatest thing in this transition and the fact that they use certain apps which filter what pops up is even greater. Having this kind of technology in the classroom can really improve the children's way of learning by getting them more involved with the technology they know and by engaging them in the lesson with more than a lecture and pen and paper. Having a camera on a smartphone or iPad is great to screenshot work you have done or to quickly capture a moment or object. There are tons of ways to incorporate the camera function in the classroom.

say cheese

Some ways of incorporating the camera in the classroom are: 
1. Showing cause and effect of a science project
2. Taking pictures of objects around the classroom/school that resemble certain shapes
3. Taking pictures of clouds and writing about what they look like
4. Using the video function to reenact an event in history
5. Taking pictures to capture scavenger hunt clues
6. Taking pictures on a field trip to capture things they want to remember to help them in a lesson or to write about later
7. Taking pictures of their art work to start a portfolio
8. Take pictures of plant growth over time
9. Take pictures to see weather changes and season changes
10. Take pictures of things around the classroom/school to learn about colors
11. Taking pictures of things in the classroom that appeal to the 1 of the 5 senses
12. Taking pictures of each student in the beginning of the year next to a tape measure to see how tall they are and compare at the end of the year :)

Blog Post #8

What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?

Quote from Randy Pausch

From watching this video of Randy Pausch Last Lecture, I learned so many things that I know are possible for me to use now and in the future and are possible for anyone to use as well.

The first thing I learned about teaching and learning is it is effective to be well organized and have organized thoughts. Even if those thoughts are represented as slides. Randy used slides to show what he was going to talk about, what he was not going to talk about, and had slides according to each individual thing. Being organized gives the audience a sense of security in that the lecture is being taken seriously.

Be Realistic
Randy used real language towards his audience which shows a sense of confidence and him being comfortable about the topic he was talking about. When someone uses that kind of language and acts comfortable about the topic and is realistic, the audience knows that they can trust what the person is saying because they are being so honest.

Credibility is important when you are a teacher because it is good to have the facts and where they came from. Randy shows his credibility when he uses quotes, pictures, and stories. He made things come to life in his lecture when he told his story about the bears he had won at the fair and brought some of the huge bears out after showing pictures. He also showed credibility by quoting one of the assistant coaches under Coach Graham when he said, "When you screw up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." This shows that these stories he told really meant something and changed him as a person.

The Importance of PLN's
I really understood the importance of Personal Learning Networks when Randy was talking about how he called his mentor for help even when he was in a high position in life. He was a professor in a course that he created, the first project results blew his mind and he thought the students' were amazing. He called his mentor to tell him what to do because he wanted to give the students' all A's but his mentor told him to go to class and tell them that they did good but that they could do better. That's what he did and the results continued to blow his mind. This is a good example of why...

NOT to set a bar for your students.
Setting a bar for your students will only disable them. It will hold them back and they will never know their full potential. But sense they are on their own, it is good to have them be self-reflective. Make sure they are self-aware in their work when it comes to project base learning. It is also good to show them feedback and show them how to cherish and use feedback to make themselves better.

It is Fun to Have an Audience
It is fun for the audience, it is fun for the kids, so when it is possible to have an audience for something, do it. The internet is a great way to make that happen because once it is on the internet, anyone can see it and give feedback and form opinions.

Take Things to the Next Level
Do what you can to learn then take it to the next level. After Randy quit teaching the course he made, he passed it along to someone he trusted it with and he took it to the next level. He knew his information, knew what Randy did with it, and took it further. I think we can do that with everything we learn. We can either memorize something and keep it stored in our brains or we can learn it and apply it.

Side Note: Randy's speech not only taught me things about teaching and learning but also how to act in the real world by pointing out to:
- Never lose the child-like wonder
- Help others
- Never give up
- Loyalty is a two-way street
- Show gratitude

These are things that will all around have a positive impact on the world and in education.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project #13 Project Based Learning Lesson Plan #1

Chelsea Powers, Noah Armstrong, Missy Keeler, Katy, and myself made a lesson plan for a second grade class to learn about the classification of animals. The Project Based Learning Lesson Plan will help the kids learn how to classify the animals by the characteristics of that animal, behaviors, and habits. They will do this by going on a virtual tour through the San Diego Zoo and taking notes on the characteristics of the animals they see. They will then form an organized email of the information they learned on the classification of animals and the information they gathered from the virtual zoo tour. They will proofread each other's emails then email the information to a trusted adult.The link below will take you to our Google Site.

animals all over the world

Project Based Learning Lesson Plan Group 4

Project #7 Part B

Parent Video

 Student Video

Monthly C4K

My first C4K of this month was on 9/7 and I commented on Neo's blog. He is a 12-year-old boy from New Zealand. His blog post was titled, "Why Exercise is Important." His argument was that it is important for kids to be active so they grow up with a habit of being healthy and he lists reasons why it is important to stay fit. I commented that I agreed with his reasons for staying fit and that I also thought it is very important for children to get into the habit of staying fit. I provided an example of two boys in my neighborhood that are always outside throwing the ball after school  instead of watching TV or playing video games and that my family frequently talks about how awesome we think it is that those young boys take the time to go outside and play. In my comment I said I believed that because those boys are outside playing all the time that they will most likely grow up to live long, healthy lives if they keep up the good habits.

people holding hands around a globe

My second C4K of this month was to Kenneth in Maryland. He is in 8th grade who really likes chicken and football. In one of his blog posts titled, "My Mark," he stated he wanted to make a career out of football and I commented that I was a huge football fan and I wished him luck in his endeavors towards making that dream come true.

My third C4K for this month was Jade P from a high school in Iowa. The blog post I commented on was a debate on whether hard work or talent was more important. I commented in agreement with her argument that hard work was more important than talent. Her blog post at the time seemed unfinished because her last sentence was "An example of that would be if someone" but in my comment I said that if there was a "..." after someone, she could invite others to comment on her blog post with more ideas which could turn into a potential class discussion.

Blog Post #7

How Do We All Become Learners?

A strength of mine when it comes to teaching Project Based Learning is that I am creative. I am able to think quickly if something goes wrong to improvise and I adapt quickly to smoothly make the lesson flow into a project. My weakness right now would be that my students might be able to navigate more easily than I could using many different technologies! I am truly working on learning how to do different things on the computer and on Macs and how to use certain resources that would be great for Project Based Learning. When I went to school, we had one computer lab that we used for research and once I got to high school, we took a Computer Education course that taught us the basics on how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. but kids now are growing up with iPad's and computers in their hands and I need to step up my technology game so I can teach them new things and challenge them to expand their knowledge in a way that they will learn easier and retain more information.

the word technology and computers drawn on a chalkboard

Things I learned from the list of videos:

On this How to Make a QR Code video, I learned how to make an AUDIO QR code using these easy steps:
1. Go to and click "record" to record your voice.
2. Press "stop" to stop recording when you are finished.
3. Press "Save Recording" and it will pull up a URL
4. Copy the URL and paste it into the designated box at (delete the http:// that is already in the box because when we copy and paste, there will already be one)
5. Once it is pasted, press "Create QR Code" and it will make your code
6. Right click and copy the image of your QR code
7. Paste the image into a Word document and size it like you want and print.
This is an easy way to communicate with your kids' parents as long as they have the free QR scanner on their phone or iPad.

In the iPad Reading Center video, a teacher showed us how she sets up one of her reading centers and the benefits. The kids set up their iPad to face them and they record themselves while they read a story. They then play back the video and read it again to see if they made any mistakes the first time. The teacher then goes around to encourage the students and make sure they are on track. I think this is a good idea to let the kids have independent reading time and they can pick out their own mistakes and correct them.

In the video about Poplet, Ginger Tucket teaches us about the app Poplet and how she uses it in her classroom. She uses it as a reading center to allow the kids to reflect on books and practice their typing skills. Poplet helps make the kids make a web on the iPad with the title of the book, and multiple facts about the books around it. It also allows the kids to take pictures and put those in the webs along with text so they can describe the pictures.

In the next video about the Alabama Virtual Library in a Kindergarten Classroom, Ginger Tucket talks about how her kids use the Alabama Virtual Library website in her classroom. They go to the website, click on "student resources", then "elementary schools" and then go to the Elementary School Edition. She uses words from the unit they are on and they type one of the words into the search box on the website. It will pull up a page where they can see pictures of what they searched for and has an introduction of the word that the students can listen to and sometimes it has the introduction in video form. For the first week, she incorporated a worksheet where the students drew pictures of the words they searched for on the Alabama Virtual Library website then the next week the students' added one sentence with each picture to tell something about the word they chose. This shows that they know what they searched for and did the work of searching for the word, watching the video, listening to the introduction, and writing about the subject all by themselves.

In the video about How to Use and Build a Board in Discovery Education, Tammy Shirley from Gulf Shores Elementary shows us how to use DE for project based lessons in her 1st grade classroom. For her lesson, her students watched a video on Discovery Education about the moon, They then wrote facts and worked together to create a board. To create a board:
1. Go to Discovery Education website and log in with username and password
2. Click on "Board Builder"
3. Choose background and title the board then press "continue"
4. Press "Add"
5. Create Board
The students will then be able to type in the title and add pictures or videos from the DE database and add sentences about their topic. In Tammy Shirley's classroom, the kids also wrote a narrative about their trip to the moon. This is a great project for the students to independently search for facts, pictures, and videos and to create a board where all of their information will be.

In the next video, I learned from Mrs. Tassin how her 2nd grade students use DE Board Builder to present what they have learned in a project based lesson. To present their project, they projected their board on the screen and talked about the facts that they found and had pictures to go along with each of the facts. Mrs. Tassin also had students using DE Board Builder to try to raise money for The Haven which is an animal shelter. In that video, Three students used Board Builder to present to the class reasons why it is important to collect money for The Haven, what they do with the money, and they added pictures of The Haven's logo, and animals that are in the shelter. They shared in the video where they got their pictures from, and where they went to learn about larger vocabulary words that they used in their presentation.

In the next video, Dr. John Strange talked with teachers from Gulf Shores Elementary and Daphne Elementary about how they used iMovie and Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten Classrooms. Mrs. Bennett shared with us that at Gulf Shores, a kindergarten class used the book Three Billy Goats Gruff to create an iMovie trailer for the book. They used this as one of the reading stations to reinforce their learning. Mrs. Davis shares with us how Alabama Virtual Library with kindergarten students from Daphne elementary. They give the students a list of words and the kids choose words to search to learn about that word. For example, the kids could be given a list of animals and they would search for one of the animals and learn all about it from AVL database. This resource is a simple way for the kindergarten students to learn to do basic research on their own.

In the video, We All Become Learners, Dr. John Strange talks with two teachers about how through PBL, everyone becomes a learner. While one of the teachers was showing a group of kindergarten students how to use Padlet, one of the students offered to show the teacher how to correctly put in a picture because they saw her struggling with it. Students help teachers learn and teachers help students learn and students help other students to learn and everyone can expand on their PLN or Personal Learning Network. The video really shows great examples of how barriers go down and everyone can learn since everyone can have their own devices in the classroom.