Sunday, March 29, 2015

C4K March

Danyale's Blog
Danyale had the unique opportunity to shadow a professional in the field she was interested in. She was able to contact this person within her community and set up a time for her to get a closer look at a career that she would like to pursue.

This is definitely something I enjoy doing with the observation hours and soon to be student teaching to truly get a good look into classrooms. I will say I've been lucky that I was raised in teacher's classrooms being that both my parents are teachers. I have had a chance to see the inner workings first hand for so many years.

For Danyale to be able to have this experience is a great thing and to blog about it is even better. She was able to learn some very important life skills as well as have fun. Here is my response:

"Hey Danyale!

I am thrilled you got to have a shadowing experience as well as enjoying your time. I am very glad you learned some life skills like how to be professional on the phone, at your job place, and even posting about it on an Internet forum. Keep having fun while learning!"

I think a shadowing program is a great project based learning lesson that can be utilized in all subjects.

Blog Post #10

What Can We Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?

The students in her first grade class are advancing technologically just as we are. They are utilizing blogs, using Skype, as well as a number of other tools. They are accomplishing the lessons while still enjoying it by using technology as a medium.

In these interviews Mrs. Cassidy explains how technology and the use of it in the classroom is an everyday thing and that you are always searching for new and exciting technologies to use. This also will keep your curriculum fresh and new every year. A key thing that is important is having the support of your students' parents and your superiors. With the change and growth of the generations to come, it is imperative that we continue to expand our knowledge of technology to benefit the students.

She goes on to explain that since blogs have audiences it helps the growth of the writer. As well, this makes our students aware of his or her impact due to the feedback from around the world. Not only is technology important in the growth of writers it is important in just the mere growth in technological understanding. Cassidy says to grow your PLN starting off with something your interested in and go from there.

A major help to building our PLNs is Twitter. Starting off it may seem as though you only have a few connections; however, it will grow in time as the many followers who share the same interest begin to follow you and you follow them in return. Following teachers from all backgrounds, subjects, and geographic locations is another good habit to get into.

  1. Blogging can be used at any time, for any subject, anywhere.
  2. Cheating is less of an issue when teachers and students remain interactive and innovative with the lessons.
  3. A Facebook account can be useful, as long as it's only a SCHOOL FACEBOOK.
  4. Safety is key when using internet forums or any technology where it is possible for the student's identity to be put out there. It is the teacher's job to equip students with the proper online etiquette and know how to not add their last names, phone numbers, sensitive information, pictures, or things of that nature to their blogs.
  5. Between school and home, there must be a balance for students to be able to practice with technology. 
In my English class I hope to utilize blogs to enrich the writing skills of my students. As well, I would like to use PLNs and maintain a project based learning environment to better my student's skills when it comes to researching and analyzing information. Also, by using technology I want to ensure that there will be ample opportunity for my students to express themselves as creatively as possible. With these tools and the tips from Mrs. Cassidy I believe my students will go far!

Project #12

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blog Post #9

What Can Teachers and Students Teach Us About Project Based Learning?

In order to find out how PBL (Project Based Learning) effects both students and teachers first we must know how to initiate and productive project based learning lesson. In the Seven Essentials of Project Based Learning it explains that a project must adhere to two main criteria. First, it must actually strike a chord with the students and be truly meaningful. This is important for the "slackers" or easily distracted students that need a little help tuning in to the lesson. Second, the most obvious criteria, it must be educational! Without having an actual educational basis or purpose for the project it will be all for naught. This site gives us seven essential things to keep in mind when creating a project based learning plan:

1. A Need to Know- This is where the teacher begins to introduce teases the idea of the project; this could involve a short clip getting them interested on a topic that the teacher wishes them to do their project on.

2. A Driving Question- This is a great place for the teacher to help hone in any ideas the students may have with a core question he or she wants them to answer. This is no ordinary question. It must be worded in a way so that the students get a clear image of the project while being challenged and given a sense of purpose.

3. Student Voice and Choice- This is SO extremely important to PBL! This allows students to utilize whatever medium they see fit to fulfill this project. They are able to use different kinds of tech, media, or presentation styles to showcase their knowledge. This doesn't hinder students from the actual project while having to stay "inside the lines". Here they can branch out and truly express their knowledge.

4. 21st Century Skills- This is where students are able to work on their skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology.

5. Inquiry and Innovation- This is the best part of PBL. Not only are students searching and finding new information and knowledge; but, they are now finding new questions along the way with more possibilities of answers than they would from a generic research project.

6. Feedback and Revision- Receiving feedback and giving students the opportunity to revise along the way helps them see their mistakes, analyze what they need to do, and create a better product in the end.

7. A Publicly Presented Product- Here students have a chance to broadcast their products to a wider audience than just their teachers and classmates. Presenting their product on a blog, or in a newsletter, etc will entice the student to perform to their utmost potential in order to have a good looking product that will be viewed by many.

edutopia.orgProject Based Learning for Teachers is a peppy little video that shows the benefits of switching to a project based learning environment. Every class must uphold the standards of the Common Core State Standards; however, that is just "What" needs to be taught. "How" students need to achieve those standards is completely up to the class leader- the teacher. The teacher can choose to create a more productive environment by setting up a deep driving question to get the gears turning for the students.

What Motivates Students Today?
This is a great video of real kids telling us all what truly motivates them. Every student is different and are motivated in their own way. Teachers must remember that no two students are the same. We must remember to find out how to motivate each and every one of our students to reach their full potential. Here are a couple things that motivate students:

  • Public Praise
  • Future plans (getting a good job, house, dog, etc)
  • Clip chart- that all students can see, (classroom money, red-yellow-green-etc)
  • Not being able to participate in extracurricular activities
  • "Money" 
  • Candy, food
  • Have class outside
  • Changing up the class environment everyday- themes
Two students who endure the everyday problem of the watery build up within a ketchup bottle cap when trying to squirt it on your food. These two students decided to solve this issue using PBL. This seems like a goofy project. But they actually used computer software to design a cap that wouldn't cause this watery mess and printed it using a 3-D printer. Pretty Neat! This shows some of the immense possibilities of Project Based Learning.

Project Based Learning: The Students' Experience is a video I found from students at Davidson High School, no not the one here in Mobile, AL. This shows the side of the students and what they think about this idea of project based learning. A lot of the students enjoyed it due to the fact that the students had almost complete independence and guided their own studies. They did touch on the challenging factor of it as well that they aren't being "spoon fed" information. I was giddy to hear that in their English class-my field-they were able to utilize PBLs fully. They had to create their own driving question and make sure it was relevant and actually challenged themselves. The students definitely kept with the theme that they were responsible for their own education and that it really helps them develop as a student and a person. It was obvious to see the excitement of the students as well as the pride that they showed when talking about how creative they we able to be and to fully express themselves when doing these projects. This video I hope gets bookmarked for later classes due to the fact that it shows what students really think about this new style of learning.

Project #9- Chapter 9: Enabling Student Creativity

Sunday, March 15, 2015

C4T #2

Comment For Teacher

Mr. Ben Jones blog Inter.Connect.Ed is a very depth and constant blogger about education. Aside from the one I was assigned I snooped around a bit and found out a lot of information that would be deemed highly important and can be used in the future.
The blog post that I posted on was mainly about professionalism and working around the struggles of a test-taking environment. This reminded me of one of Dr. Strange's big pet peeves about "burp back learning". Training students to take just a test is not truly teaching them anything. This can also put a damper on the teaching environment for the teachers. However, it is key to maintain an environment of professional and collaborative teachers to best benefit the children. He explains the importance of working as a team to teach students collectively and within this network to be mindful and respectful of one another.

Mr. Ben Jones has many other blog posts that speak to the behavior by which educators should act and present to their students. As well, several of the blogs incorporate a lot of collaborative learning styles and discussions that I would like to utilize in the future.
I think everyone should check out his blog. It's fun, neat, organized, and highly insightful.

Blog Post #8

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

Randy Pausch is a remarkable human being. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 47. In his lecture at Carnegie Mellon University he gives a full auditorium his Last Lecture. He gets right to the issue of the situation and informs all about his condition and the message he wants to get across.

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

He tells all about his and explains them. The first one is about experiencing zero-gravity. His class won a chance to ride on the Vomit Comet. However, he goes on the explain "the brick wall". It is not there to keep us out it is in place to prove to us how badly we actually want to achieve something.
This ties into education immensely. Students are faced with challenges daily and roadblocks that include: educationally, personally, emotionally, and socioeconomically. Our job as teachers is to take away the educational brick wall. We are to inspire their dreams and to encourage them to move forward and achieve anything they set their minds to.

His next dream is joining the National Football League. This lesson is more about a "head fake". A head fake is about learning something indirectly. It is a great thing for students because they believe they are playing football but in reality they are learning more prevalent things such as teamwork, perseverance, and sportsmanship. These are the tenants that they should take away from the sport instead of just learning the sport alone.

In regards to education this is a phenomenal idea. I remember in school that the mere idea of learning Math was exhausting, terrifying, and annoying all at the same time. Those are brick walls. If my teachers had used the skill of using a "head fake" maybe then I would have been able to learn Math in a way that would disguise the fact that it is Math and been able to grasp the true point of the lesson. As an English major this will be very useful. Time and time again from my non-Education Major peers I get the same comment when I tell them my major, "I hate English...It was my worst subject...It is so hard that I quit paying attention". These statements upset me. I have such a drive and want to teach it that I truly want to find ways to make it easier, enticing, and fun for my students in each and every lesson. I think using a "head fake", incorporating useful and fun technologies, as well as using PBL it will inhibit a higher outcome of students more willing and open to learn in any subject-especially one that they are apprehensive about.

Wrapping Up the Full and Complete Message of the Last Lecture...

Randy Pausch is a truly inspiring individual that reminds us to go out and achieve all that you can imagine. Why wouldn't we want this for our students? He has changed the way I think about education and how I will become one of the most influential people in my students' lives. He leaves us with some key points from his lecture that I will directly quote:

  • Loyalty is a two-way street.
  • Never give up.
  • You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.
  • Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
  • Get a feedback loop and listen to it. … Anybody can get chewed out. It's the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. … When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Don't complain. Just work harder.
  • Be good at something, it makes you valuable.
  • Work hard.
  • Find the best in everybody. … No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side; just keep waiting, it will come out.
    • And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity. 
    These simple statements truly can change the outcome of anyone's classroom. I truly believe that these points can be used both in and out of the classroom. Present to your students a willingness to learn and grow and they will do the same. I hope everyone has taken away as much if not more from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture as I have.

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Blog Post #7

    How Do We All Become Learners?

    Growing up in the public school system I was taught how most traditional classrooms are conducted; the teacher stands at the head of the classroom and lectures all of the students. However, this is not the most productive way of giving a lesson. Project based learning is a great way to provide an interactive learning environment where students use tools and skills acquired from the teacher and search for the answers or new questions to help the lesson become more in depth.

    My Strengths:

    • Adaptive
    • Creative
    • Time Management Skills
    My Weaknesses:
    • Procrastination
    • Silliness
    • Getting off topic

    I think I'll have to learn to focus more when giving a lesson so that I do not get off topic so easily. As well, being prepared ahead of time for my lessons and not procrastinating will help me stay on topic and keep the lesson moving right along further preventing silliness. Using stimulating technology will help keep students interested in the lesson.
    Using iMovie and Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten is a great video where Kindergartners are using iMovie to create Book Trailers like the videos we are. As well, they are beginning to learn how to research and practice it. We All Become Learners is a video about how teachers become learners and learners become teachers. With iPads in the Classroom students can utilize this technology to go on virtual tours and field trips. This enhances every lesson and helps keep the students interested and inhibits a more productive learning environment. 

    Top 10 Reasons to Use Technology in Education is a great video with a short listing of important things to remember:

    • Students Love Tech
    • Engages them in the four key components of learning
    • Simplifies teaching environment
    • Professional development
    • Improves Test Scores
    • PLNs- learn from experts
    • Helps with Homework
    • Saves Money
    • Removes obstacles
    • It's just fun!

    C4K Post- February

    1. Mr. Boylen's Students made up a video telling a faux news-story using iMovie to teach a lesson on adjectives. The students went through several different green screen scenes using excessive adjectives to further showcase their knowledge of adjective use.

    Here's My Response: "Hey, I'm Kelia Fagan from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I'm in the EDM 310 class that utilizes blogs. This is a very fun and interesting way to discuss adjectives! All participants discuss the usages of adjectives and give plenty of examples. Keep up the great work guys!"

    2. Ms. Leatherwoods's Student went to the Hershey amusement park. She was very descriptive in everything she saw, smelled, and experienced during her time there. Very well put together post.

    Here's My Response: "Wow! That sounded like a great trip! I'm Kelia from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I'm in the EDM 310 class. I really enjoyed how descriptive you were in your blog. Keep up the great work! Keep having wonderful adventures!"

    3.  Smeby's Students got to write to their senator and really ask some great questions about the legislative process. 

    Here's My Response: "Hey Brooklyn,
    My name is Kelia Fagan, I'm a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am overjoyed you were able to make a fun connection with your Senator. It is important that you understand the legislative process and I am glad that she was so informative. Keep up with the great blogging!"

    4. Booklyn's Blog is about her idea for a fashion class and all that it will entail. She discusses real world skills that she would teach such as sewing and dressing the part. She did a great job!

    Here's My Response: My Response: Hey Brooklyn, I think your idea of a fashion class is wonderful! I'm from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I'm in the EDM 310 class. I love your ideas for teaching real world skills like sewing and dressing appropriately for the event or place you're going to. Keep up the great work!