Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blog Post #6

What is Personal Learning Networks (or PLN's)? I didn't know at first either. I watched some videos and read a few blogs and the video, Building Your PLN - A Primer for Anyone gave me a clear understanding of the definition. PLN's are new tools (twitter, skype, pintrest, facebook, blogs, etc.) we can use to broaden our global network to share our knowledge and passions with people around the world, and also gain knowledge from them as well. There are multiple ways PLN's can be useful to me, as a teacher. It could be as simple as using pintrest to find fun and creative ways to decorate my classroom, so that it is a nice, comfortable enviroment for my students. It could also be something like skyping former teachers and getting advice from them, or skyping teachers from all over the world to share ideas of what we are doing in our classrooms to expand our students PLN's.

So, how can we start forming our Personal Learning Networks? Well, it's like Steven Anderson mentioned in the video stated above, we already have started forming our PLN's! Almost every person in this world has a facebook, twitter, etc. or even uses text messaging. You may not know it, but this is part of your personal learning network. All we have to do is broaden our friends list or followers, and get more networks such as skype or a blog. Doing this may have you talking to a scientist from somewhere in the world like a seventh grader did in the video, A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment.

As for Symbaloo and Netvibes, I will definitely look into these more. I have not yet created an account, but will be doing so here shortly. I'm hoping these will help expand my personal learning networks!

Personal Learning Networks

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Project #7

Blog Post #5

In the videos, Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a Third Grade Teacher and Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a Third Grade Teacher, the main thing I will always remember is that project based learning is not a review for students, we have it so they can learn new things from it. I always had teachers just give me projects to do on the stuff we had just learned that week in class, which, obviously, did not teach me anything new. Anthony taught me one major quality, he stated, "With project based learning, you're gonna get more than you expect, so never limit your students by giving them exactly what you want them to do. Create an opportunity for them to go beyond what you want them to do, and they will." When he said this, it made me want to start teaching right now just so I can get my students involved in project based learning right away!

I had never heard of iCurio until watching the iCurio video. If you're someone who doesn't know what it is, like me until this video, it is an online tool that schools use because it pulls and filters media (videos, websites, images, etc.) from all over the internet, and everything pulled is only educational. It allows students to organize videos, images, etc. in their own online folders. I plan on going on iCurio soon to view and hopefully figure out how to use it!

In the DiscoveryEd video, Anthony didn't really explain what it is, but from the information I received, it is a web based program teachers can use to show videos on lessons only in Science and Social Studies.

There are multiple tips given to us in the video, The Anthony-Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1, but I am going to focus on the tip Anthony Capps gave, "It's hard work, but exciting." I believe this is so true! Teachers are constantly having to learn new standards, new ways to teach, new ways to engage their students everyday, while also going home to take care of their own family each night. So, yes, it can be hard at times, but going to school everyday and seeing your students faces, and them telling you stories, and what they learned is so exciting and reminds us as to why we love our job!

Technology is becoming the most popular thing to use in the world today. In the video Use Tech Don't Teach It, Mr. Capps is right, you can't teach technology and shouldn't. You have the students learn on their own, while you GUIDE them. Technology has to be an interactive learning experiences.

In Additional Thought About Lessons video, Anthony gives us his thought on how to make successful lesson plans. He wants us to include four "layers", as he called them, which are:
1. Yearly plans
2. Monthly plans
3. Weekly plans
4. Daily plans
He mentions that to him, daily plans are most important because each day your have to think of innovating ways to engage, entertain, and encourage your students.

All these tips will surely help me throughout my teaching career!
Project Based Learning
This image is from Google Images.

Friday, February 7, 2014

C4T #1

For my C4T #1 (Comment for Teacher), I had Dr. Paige Vitulli.

Dr. Vitulli's first post I commented on was about mask-making. She brought up two very great points. One, Masks are an universal art form produced by cultures world-wide to fulfill a variety of purposes. Two, Student's can learn about mask making in various cultures. Here Dr. Vitulli let her students' produce their own mask. After making their masks, they had to answer these questions in their own description of their mask:

1. What cultural influence did you use as inspiration for your mask?
2. What were the authentic purposes for the mask in that culture?
3. What materials did you use in the production to simulate authentic materials?
4. How were the elements of art used to create the mask and represent the culture?
5. What did you learn?
6. What might you do differently next time?
7. What did you do best in the process?

Dr. Vitulli posted a few pictures and descriptions of her students' masks on her blog. They are very interesting to look at and read. I will post a link to her blog at the bottom of this post!

On my first comment I left on Dr. Vitulli's blog, I clearly stated how I loved her idea of letting her students learn about different cultures by creating a mask. I also went on to say, that this is something fun and creative, but also educational. I loved the fact that they had to research all these cultures to pick one to make their masks, and not just given a culture automatically. I also let her know that reading her students' descriptions was very interesting and that I learned a lot of new, cool facts about all these different cultures.

On her second post I commented on, it informed me about International Dot Day. I have never even heard of Dot Day until reading this! Dot Day is a global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration. Dr. Vitulli mentions this, "The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to make her mark! What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe." Her classes, here at the University of South Alabama, took part in this day. They used white copy paper and crayons. Each square (sheet of paper) was crumpled and smoothed out multiple times to break down the stiffness of the paper and crayons, making a fabric-like texture. They, then, hole punched it and tied yarn to each piece creating a Dot Quilt! I highly recommend you go look at all the pictures she has posted on her blog! Their really neat to look at!

For this comment I simply stated that I thought her idea of making a quilt out of white copy paper and crayons was interesting and innovating. Also, that this let her students' be creative. I mean drawing something from one small dot on a sheet of paper is being pretty creative!

Here is the link to her blog, feel free to go check it out! She has a lot of interesting posts and pictures on here! Simply hit "Blogger" below to be redirected to her blog.


Blog Post #4

When asked the question, "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" I thought to myself, "To be honest, I don't really know." How sad! I know I want to be a teacher, but I need to know how to ask effective questions as well. So, I started using resources given to me and doing my own research to figure it out.

I simply googled, "How to ask effective questions as a teacher," and multiple things popped up. I just randomly clicked on one, and a PDF file named Asking More Effective Questions from William F. McComas and Linda Abraham from Rossier School of Education, is what showed up. I started reading, and there were two things that caught my eye. One, the 1860 edition of Barnard's American of Instruction States, "to question well is to teach well." Two, "Questioning plays a critical role in the way instructors structure the class environments, organize the contents of the course and has deep implications in the way that students assimilate the information that is presented and discussed in class" (McComas and Abraham from Rossier School of Education). Both of these statements are so true! It is up to us, as future teachers, to learn how to ask questions to be effective teachers.

There are two types of questions: low order (close ended) and high order (open ended). Low order questions are typically the "what" questions, these are usually questions about meaning. High order questions are those that ask us "why" and "how", this type of questions let students use their critical thinking skills, and makes them think more in depth of the concept in order to find an answer. An example of a low order question would be, "What color is that dog?" An example of a high order question is, "Can you give an example of this?" Of course we want to ask the high order questions!

When thinking about how to ask questions keep in mind these ideas giving to us by the Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis:
1. When planning questions, keep in mind your course goals.
2. Avoid asking "leading questions."
3. Follow a "yes-or-no" question with an additional question.
4. Aim for direct, clear, specific questions.
5. In class discussions, do not ask more than one question at once.
6. When you plan each class session, include notes of when you will pause to ask and answer questions.
7. Ask a mix of different types of questions.
8. Wait for students to think and formulate responses (usually 5-10 seconds).
9. Do not interrupt Students' answers.
10. Show that you are interested in students' answers, whether right or wrong.
11. Develop responses that keep students thinking.
12. If a student gives an incorrect of weak answer, point out what is incorrect or weak about the answer, but ask the student a follow-up question that will lead that student, and the class, to the correct or stronger answer.

If we use these ideas as a teacher we will know how to ask questions to be an effective teacher.