Sunday, November 24, 2013

C4T #4

    In my first C4T I was given Silvia Tolisano. In her most recent blog post she talked about copyright infringement when going through Microsoft Office Clipart Gallery into search engines like Bing. In my comment to her, I told her that I am constantly looking for picture for my blog and that I had never considered what I might be using could be copyrighted. I told her that I enjoyed reading her post and I thanked her for sharing her thoughts on copyright infringement.

social media
    In my last C4T for the semester Ms Tolisano wrote about how there is no more middle man in having contact with companies or whomever. She talks about how we have a voice. She recently was working on an infographic in Piktochart and she was looking for a puzzle piece but was having a difficult time finding one. In order to find this puzzle piece she tweeted a message and tagged Piktograph's twitter name in it and less than 3 hours later she had a response and a puzzle piece. In my comment to her, I told her that I loved her blog post. I also said that with the invention of social media sites it is so much easier to communicate directly with companies and other individuals. I thought this was a great blog post.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Final PLN

    Throughout the semester I have had to opportunity to expand my personal learning network in various ways. I have used Twitter and blogs to follow certain teachers who I felt were really beneficial to the education system. Some of the teachers I follow are Silvia Tolisano, Kathy Cassidy, Josh Stumpenhorst, Vicki Davis, and Steven Anderson. I really enjoy reading their blog posts and their Twitter feeds. I feel that they all put our quality work that will help me in my endeavors to become an educator.

Project #12 SMARTboard Presentation Part B

Blog Post #14

    For this blog post, our assignment is to create a blog post that Dr. Strange did not assign us but should have assigned us in our area of specialty. As I somewhat wracked my brain to figure out what I should write about, it became clear to me that I should blog about what we have done the entire semester which of course is blogging! I have grown to love blogging and that is something that I would like to instill in my future students. So, for my blog post I will blog about “How will I use blogging in my future English language arts classes?”

Blog Post #14-How will I use blogging in my future English language arts classes?

    Blogging is something I have become very passionate about over the last couple of months. I have grown to love it so much that I created a blog just to express my thoughts on. In my future classroom I will use blogging with my students. I feel that there are numerous advantages to blogging.

    One way I will incorporate blogging into my classroom is by having a class blog for each of my classes that my students will actively participate in. Each week my students will have to complete one blog post and submit it by a certain day. They will write about topics such as why is grammar and usage important, what was your favorite work by Edgar Allan Poe and why? I would also like them to have a blog post once every other week that is a creative writing blog post.

    I feel that one of the greatest advantages of blogging is its enhancing effect on writing skills. I felt like I was a pretty good writer before entering this course and after blogging for almost the entire semester, I feel that I have become and even better writer. I hope that blogging will be the same for my students. They will have a blog that they will be responsible for. They must submit their assignments on time and they should be proofread and edited by their peers. This can be done through google docs. They will have assignments that will deal with what we are discussing in class as well as assignments that will be creative writing assignments. At the end of the semester I would like them to write a final blog post that gives a detailed trip of their journey through blogging and what they feel they have learned and what they will take away from blogging.

    These are just some of the ideas I have for using blogging in my future class. I love blogging and I hope my students will too. Blogging has helped me become a better writer and it has also helped me with being responsible for my work and deadlines. These are just some of the important aspects of blogging that I hope to share with my future English classes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

C4K Summary For November

first day of school
    For my first C4K for November, I was assigned a student named Mikaiah from New Zealand. In Mikaiah's blog post she wrote about her first day of school. She talked about being nervous because this was a totally new experience for her. She said she asked a boy named James if she could play handball with him and he said yes. In my comment to Mikaiah I told her that I knew how she felt and I told her that I was ver nervous my first day of school as well. I told her it can be scary when we experience things that we are not used to. I told her that she did a good job on her blog post and to keep up the good work.

    For my last C4K for November I read the blog of a student named Kaya. In her blog post she talks about using the cross walk when crossing the street. She has a video on her blog in which she talks about this. In my comment to her, I told her who I was and that I enjoyed her post. I told her it is very important to be safe when crossing the street and the way to do that is by using a crosswalk.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

Kakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School
Caitlin Hinton
kakenya ntaiya
    In this TED talk given by Kakenya Ntaiya we learn of a girl who demanded school. Kakenya is a woman who grew up in Kenya and she belongs to the Maasai’s. When Kakenya was a young girl was told that she had a man who was waiting to marry her, but she would have to be older. Kakenya went to school as a young girl and she dreamt of being a teacher. When she was 12 she went through a female right of passage within her community. In the Maasai tradition young girls who have reached puberty are subjected to female genital mutilation. Most of the girls who go through this die from loss of blood. Kakenya, who did not want to quit going to school, made a deal with her father. Kakenya asked her father if she went through with the Maasai ritual if he would allow her to go to high school and he agreed. At the age of 12 Kakenya and other girls went through what was probably one of the most painful experiences of their lives. Thankfully Kakenya survived and continued on to high school. In the mind of the Maasai what they subject these young girls to is just a part of their culture and in order for a girl to become a wife she must go through this or it will bring tremendous shame on her family. When Kakenya applied to college in America and started school, it was then that she learned that female genital mutilation was against the law in Kenya. It was from that point on that Kakenya decided she had to do something about this. She decided that she would start a school for girls in her community. The girls who attend this school are not subjected to the horrific act of female genital mutilation and they have a future that is attainable and bright. When I watched this video I honestly felt guilty. How many times do I take my education for granted? In America we are truly blessed not only with education but with education that is full of technological advantages. We are given the opportunity to be whatever we dream of being. In other parts of the world, such as Kenya, children are not encouraged to dream and become the person they want to be, but instead are told what their roles are within their communities and they must follow them. Our children are given stable environments to learn and flourish in. An education is something that should never be taken away from a child or anyone for that matter. I feel as educators we should always encourage our students to dream and challenge them to become whatever it is that they want to be. It is important to remember that our education is important because there are people all around the world who would love to sit in a classroom and be given the opportunity to learn. We must never take our education for granted. Kakenya Ntaiya’s story is a story of hope and inspiration and I think that we could all take something away from the story of the girl who demanded school.

Alison Gopnik: What Do Babies Think
Ashley Railey
Alison Gopnik

    As I looked through the list of TED talks, my mind was fixed on the first listed. What do babies think? Since I have three kids, I’ve often asked myself the same thing. Alison Gopnik explains in her lecture that a baby or young child’s mind is a lot more complex than we have thought in the past. Children are constantly observing and learning behavior from adults. She explains that because they are taken care of for so long, their brains can focus on learning rather than surviving. Gopnik compares human babies to those of other animals. She says that the longer a baby is nurtured by it’s mother, the smarter the species is. For example, some crows and ravens feed their young for up to two years. This is a very long time in the life span of a bird. On the other hand, the domestic chicken matures in a couple of months. Gopnik explains that childhood is the reason why crows end up on the cover of science magazines while the chicken ends up as lunch. Gopnik states,”Another way of thinking about it is instead of thinking of babies and children as being like defective grownups, we should think about them as being a different developmental stage of the same species, kind of like caterpillars and butterflies. Except that they're actually the brilliant butterflies who are flitting around the garden and exploring, and we're the caterpillars who are inching along our narrow, grownup, adult path.” Division of labor between the adults and children are what helps us survive as humans. Babies and young children are completely helpless and rely on their mother’s care for the first decade of their lives. This way the children can spend all of their time learning and not on sheer survival. Once we reach adulthood, we can take all the things we learned as children and apply them to our daily lives. Gopnik suggests that babies are like scientist. They develop a hypothesis and go out and test it. Depending on the outcome they may change that hypothesis. To test her theory, she used a machine called the Blicket Detector. The Blicket Detector is a machine that lights up when you put some things on it and not others. Gopnik explains:
“If I showed you this detector, you would be likely to think, to begin with, that the way to make the detector go would be to put a block on top of the detector. But actually, this detector works in a bit of a strange way. Because if you wave a block over the top of the detector, something you wouldn't ever think of to begin with, the detector will actually activate two out of three times. Whereas, if you do the likely thing, put the block on the detector, it will only activate two out of six times. So the unlikely hypothesis actually has stronger evidence. It looks as if the waving is a more effective strategy than the other strategy. So we did just this; we gave four year-olds this pattern of evidence, and we just asked them to make it go . And sure enough, the four year-olds used the evidence to wave the object on the top of the detector.”
    At four years old children are just learning to count, but these kids were doing complicated calculations to discover the probability. The kids were forming ideas from the Blicket Detector and coming up with a hypothesis. I thought Alison Gopnik’s lecture was remarkable. I had never realized how complex a young child’s mind really is. My youngest daughter is 14 months old. When she is mumbling and rattling to me, as if she is having a full conversation in baby talk, I wonder what is going through her mind. I think now, that maybe she is trying to convey to me everything she already knows but cannot voice. Gopnik ends her lecture by saying, “ If what we want is to be like those butterflies, to have open-mindedness, open learning, imagination, creativity, innovation, maybe at least some of the time we should be getting the adults to start thinking more like children.”

Charles Leadbeater: Education Innovation In The Slums
Laura Crawford
Charles Leadbeater
    In this presentation, Mr. Leadbeater summarizes the effects of varying programs worldwide that have successfully integrated technology into “slums” for education’s sake. Leadbeater begins his presentation with this intriguing thought: “Your vantage point determines what you can see…The question that you ask will determine much of the answer that you get”. The question that follows is: “Where do we look to see what education will become?” Leadbeater seems to regret that most educators answer with “go to Finland.” However, he spent time studying over a hundred case studies of how education has improved in the most impoverished regions of the world.
“Radical innovation does sometimes come from the very best [i.e. Finland]. But it often comes from places where you have huge need, unmet latent demands and not enough resources for traditional [high-cost] solutions to work which depend on professionals.”
    The aforementioned quotation best summarizes Mr. Leadbeater’s endeavor. The prevalent theme in all the programs he studied seemed to be the integration of technology. As he stated, the most successful programs used “technology for learning that made learning fun and accessible”. This is because “education in these settings works by pull, not push.” Leadbeater laments that “most of our education works by push” and has since the early 19th century when the Bismarckian structure of the educational system was created. However, in today’s times, it becomes clearer every day that this system is entirely obsolete. In the words of Mr. Leadbeater, “education needs to work by pull, not push.” Leadbeater suggests that the key to educating students successfully is by motivating them to pursue knowledge on their own. This motivation may be either extrinsic or intrinsic. Leadbeater defines extrinsic motivation as the “pay off” (in our culture, it would be a potential job). However, Mr. Leadbeater also notes that the extrinsic motivators prevalent in our culture are often too far away (i.e. ten years) which does not coincide with the immediate gratification mindset of kids today. Leadbeater then invites his audience to “imagine an educational system that started from a question, not imposed knowledge” and the consequences of a system set around this type of learning. Leadbeater emphasizes that “you have to engage people first in order to teach them”. An interesting comparison that Leadbeater makes is between Chinese restaurants and the McDonald’s chain. He encourages that schools be like Chinese restaurants, in that—there is no chain (standardization) but you can still easily identify a Chinese restaurant when you see one. McDonald’s, however, is held to a standard. Every McDonald’s in every city in every country in the world has the exact same standard and menu. Leadbeater enunciates that this absolutely should not be the case in schools. Schools need to meet the curriculum of the community attending them. Leadbeater then invites his audience to consider the alternative to the way schools are enforced today (by sustaining innovation in a formal setting) to disruptive innovation in an informal setting. Leadbeater encourages the latter which advocates “high collaboration, personalized [attention to students], high [standard of] technology[…]where learning starts from questions not from curriculum” Mr. Leadbeater concludes by reiterating that “the 19th century Bismarckian [model]schools lay waste to imagination, to appetite” and “stratify society as much as it benefits it”. His closing line is a powerful one as he concludes: “We are bequeathing to the developing world school systems that they will now spend a century trying to reform.”

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Post #12

How To Escape Educations Death Valley
Caitlin Hinton
Sir Ken Robinson
    In this TED talk about education, Ken Robinson talks about how to escape educations death valley. Ken Robinson, who is a native of England, opens with the a joke about Americans not understanding irony. He then goes onto say that whoever came up with the title “No Child Left Behind,” clearly understands irony. He says that the legislation of “No Child Left Behind,” is actually leaving millions of children behind. In some parts of the country 60% of students drop out of school, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The dropout crisis does not include the students who are actively in school but are completely disengaged from school. Robinson delivers three ways in which the human life flourishes and they are contradicted by the culture of education. The first being, human beings are naturally different and diverse. Robinson gives the illustration that if you have two children, more than likely they are completely different from one another. He states that education under “No Child Left Behind,” is not based on diversity, but conformity. Schools are encouraged to find out what students can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement. Education should be well dispersed and equal throughout all subjects. Children prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents. The second principle by which human life flourishes is curiosity. Robinson says that if you can light the spark of curiosity in a child they will learn without any further assistance in most cases. Curiosity is the engine of achievement. Education is about learning and if there is no learning going on then there is no education. The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. Robinson proposes that one of the problems is that the culture of education focuses not on teaching and learning but on testing. Testing should support learning not obstruct it. In place of curiosity is a culture of compliance. The third principle is that human life is inherently creative. Humans can create and recreate their lives. Education is supposed to awaken the powers of creativity but instead we have a culture of standardization. So with these three principles in mind, how do we escape educations death valley? Simply put, we bring to life what lies dormant in our students. We foster our students diversity, curiosity, and creativity. The education system is not a mechanical system, it is a human system. We must create a climate of possibility and by doing that our students will rise and flourish.

Changing Education Paradigms
Laura Crawford
    Ken Robinson begins his talk “Changing Education Paradigms” by suggesting two reasons every country on the planet is changing their education system. The first is economic; the question being “how do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century?” The second reason is cultural. Ken Robinson states that every country on earth is trying to figure out how to educate children so they have a sense of cultural identity while being a part of the process of globalization. The problem seems to begin with the roots of the current education system. Ken Robinson says that the current system of education was designed and conceived and structured for a different age—the enlightenment and the industrial revolution. The Enlightenment view of intelligence was really an equation in and of itself: capability of deductive reasoning is completely equivalent to academic ability. This system leaves otherwise brilliant people under the impression that they are dumb and stuck in their lower-paying jobs. Ken Robinson then suggests that these twin pillars (economic and intellectual) create chaos for most people. Furthermore, Sir Robinson addresses the issue of ADHD—an epidemic that he claims isn’t really an epidemic. Ken Robinson claims our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. What’s interesting is that the instances of ADHD have positively correlated with the increase of standardized testing. Sir Robinson points out that in America, ADHD increases as you go east. What decreases as you go east is the funding for the arts. Robinson states: “the arts are the victims of this mentality”. Arts emphasize the aesthetic appeal—the parts of the brain that are equally stimulated by the media, video games, and advertising surrounding students today. The arts are battled, however, mostly by anesthetics (the medication prescribed for ADHD) that deafen the brain to these stimulating experiences. Ken Robinson states that children are readily “medicated as routinely as we had our tonsils taken out”. His next point of emphasis was the assembly-line mentality taken in schools toward education. He asks “why is their age the most important thing?” and really hits the idea with his comedic comment: “it’s like their date of manufacture”. This production line mentality is conforming students through standardization (of tests, scores, grades, etc.). Ken Robinson seems to be a proponent of divergent thinking, which is frequently confused with creativity but isn’t. Sir Robinson suggests that divergent thinking is actually an essential capacity of creativity. He defines it as “the ability to see many possible answers to a question, of interpreting a question” Basically, thinking more relationally than linearly. Sir Robinson supports this idea of education with empirical evidence from a longitudinal study. The study encouraged kindergarten children to answer questions with as many possibilities as they could conceive, instead of enforcing this idea that there is only one answer in the back of the book. The study basically concluded that as we age, we lose the capacity to see multiple possible solutions to a problem. We are taught that there is only one answer and that is what we assume to believe. Ken Robinson closes his talk with the four things we need to solve before education systems will improve. First, we have to think differently about human capacity for knowledge. Second, we have to recognize the academia myth. Third, we have to recognize that kids learn best collaboratively and we should not isolate them and judge them separately. The final is the recognition of the habits of institutions and the habitats that they occupy.

The Importance of Creativity
Ashley Railey
    Ken Robinson begins his lecture by explaining how children have extraordinary capacities for innovation. He believes that each child has an individual creative talent that teachers (or adults in general) ignore. Robinson says, “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
    Robinson continues his lecture with a few humorous jokes that keep the audience, and myself, laughing. He tells the story of his four year old son being in The Nativity Play when he was four. When the play begins, three four year boys come out as the kings who offer Jesus gold, myrrh, and frankincense. The first boy says, “I bring you gold”; the second boy says, “I bring you myrrh”; and the third boy says, “Frank sent this.” The point of his story is that children aren’t afraid of being wrong. This isn’t to say that being wrong is the same as being creative. Robinson states, “If you aren’t prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original.” By the time most children are adults they have developed a fear of being wrong. When education sells that mistakes are the worst thing a child can do, the result is that we are educating people out of their creativity.
    Robinson explains how the current state of education models students to become college professors. Our society only focuses on math, science, and literacy. This only allows for the few students who are gifted in these areas to succeed.
    I thought Robinson’s lecture was very entertaining and insightful. Personally, I don’t have a creative bone in my body, but I do appreciate art and literature. Our education system should embrace each child’s creativity. When students are learning about what they love, it provides them with more resources for a successful future.
    Robinson ends his lecture with this powerful statement, “I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology. One in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we’ve stripped mined the Earth looking for a particular commodity, and for the future it won’t service.”

Project Based Learning Plan #3

Edgar Allan Poe
    In this lesson plan, I will have my students create a presentation based on one of Edgar Allan Poe's stories. I have created a site for my students to access. They can view the overview, calendar, and rubrics for the project within the site. To view the entire lesson plan click here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blog Post #11

kathy cassidy
    For this assignment we watched a 3 part interview with Kathy Cassidy, a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. Mrs. Cassidy uses technology in her classroom on a daily basis. She has a classroom blog that allows all of her students to make blog posts and leave comments on classmates blogs. In this interview she talks about the ways she uses technology in her classroom and the importance of it.
    There are a number of ways to approach using technology in the classroom. One way is to simply start somewhere. Mrs. Cassidy suggests starting with something that you like. If you like to take photos, then create a Flikr account. If you like to write, then create a blog on Blogspot or Wordpress. Once you get started, you can implement that into your classroom and get your students on a path to being technologically savvy.
    One of the techniques I would like to use in my classroom is having a class blog. I feel that blogging is a great tool to use in your classroom for the benefit of your students. I would like to have my students blog on a weekly basis and leave comments for their peers. Another technique I will also use is teaching them the importance of proper peer editing and commenting. It is important to have respect for your peers and that importance is carried over into the comments my students will leave on their peers blog pages.
     One impediment that I could encounter is my students running into sites that are not appropriate. You can find anything on the internet and with those kind of limitless possibilities, it is possible to run across sites or images that could be inappropriate for my students. I intend to educate my students on the importance of internet safety, such as not posting their last name or posting pictures of themselves. I will also teach them what to do if they are to end up on a site that they should not be on. I feel that it will be important to emphasize as well that they should not be on a site that is not an aid in learning. If the site has nothing to do with what we are currently working on, then they should not be on the site.
     There are incredible benefits to using some of the approaches that Mrs. Cassidy uses. I think that one of the greatest benefits the students receive from creating a blog is they can see the progress they are making. The blog acts as a type of portfolio. It displays their work and it gives a great timeline of how far they have come each week. It is also beneficial for the parents. It allows them to see what their children are doing and it lets them know what is going on in the classroom.

Project #12 SMARTboard Presentation Part A

Project #10 Interview Movie

C4T #3

    For my first entry in C4T #3 I was assigned Vicki Davis. Vicki Davis is a full time teacher in Camilla, Georgia. In her most recent blog post she talks about the new update to Windows 8. She states that the update adds a lot of features and improvements across the OS. She also mentions there is a great deal of new things to do with photo editing. In my comment to her I stated my name and where I attended school. I told her that her blog post was very useful and good information to know.
windows logo

    For my second C4T, Ms. Davis blogged about why she is moving from blogger to wordpress. In her post she gives five reasons as to why she is moving her blog. Her first reason was she likes that wordpress has more add ins and flexibility. Secondly, she said that she was concerned about googles new terms of service. Thirdly, she states that free can cost you everything, so pay for valuable services. Fourthly, she said simply that it is time to move on. Finally, she says that her blog on wordpress will not be blocked in schools like it is on blogspot. In my comment to her I told her I enjoyed reading her post and that I had never considered wordpress even though I knew several people who had a blog on wordpress. I told her she made a lot of excellent points.
blogger vs. wordpress

C4K Summary For October

service dog
    In my first C4K for October I had the opportunity to read a blog that belonged to a girl named Aisha. In Aisha's blog post, she blogged about service dogs. She told a story about a girl named Melody who had fallen out of her wheelchair and her service dog Butterscotch helped her up. She offered a website to learn more about service dogs. In my comment to Aisha, I told her that I really enjoyed her blog post about service dogs. I told her that service dogs were intelligent and loyal animals.

    In my second C4K I was assigned a student by the name of Lizzie. In Lizzie's blog post she talked about moss, lichen, and fungus. She gave adequate descriptions of each. In my comment to her I told her that I really enjoyed her blog post and that I thought she gave good descriptions of moss, lichen, and fungus and that she had really good pictures.

komodo dragon
    In my third C4K I was given a student from New Zealand named Ben. In Ben's most recent blog post he wrote about komodo dragons. Ben went into great detail about the komodo dragons habitat, what they eat and how they catch their prey. Ben talked about what komodo dragons look like and how big they can become. Ben also talked about what it is like for baby komodo dragons during the first six to eight months of their lives. In my comment to Ben, I shared with him who I was and that he had done a good job on his blog post. I also shared with him that before reading his blog post I did not know much about komodo dragons and after reading his post I felt that I knew a great deal. Ben did a really great job on his blog post.

out of my mind
    In my fourth C4K I was given a student named Danielle. In her most recent blog post she wrote an entry about the book Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. I told Danielle that I enjoyed reading her blog post. I also told her I was not familiar with the book but from what she wrote she seemed to have a good understanding on what the book was about. I let her know she was doing a good job and to keep up the good work.