Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Comment for Kids: April

By: Ryan B.

THIS KID CAN RAMBLE OFF SOME STATE FACTS ABOUT NEBRASKA!! I was shocked at how knowledgable my kid was about the state of Nebraska. He knew more about Nebraska at his young age than I know about the state of Alabama and I am 21!!! I am shaking my head at myself right now. He knew the state lakes, bird, mammal, beverage, flower, landforms, etc. I was in shock while being impressed at the same time. This kid was so cool and I think that EVERYONE needs to know at least 3 facts about his/her state. The fact that Ryan knew all this encourages me that students can enjoy learning these things.

By Eden

Eden is a 4th grader at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. For his first blog post he decided to see what he and other people had in common. He made his bulleted list of what he liked to do for fun, such as running, and he also listed his pets. I can tell you, this kid had way more pets than I did at his age. He had lots of comments from different people, including his classmates. I just thought it was the cutest thing ever! I commented back to him telling him that his blog was awesome and well put together. I also told him that I had a cat named Tiger. I'm not really sure if he wanted to know that, but he did ask, "Do we have anything in common?". Furthermore, I told him about my secret passion for music. I like to play the piano and my flute in my spare time. My kid was pretty cool. I also encouraged him to keep blogging. I think this kid is going places in life and if he keeps blogging, the world can go with him. 

Blog Post #14

This is an interesting article to read and the questions put forth by Dr. Strange is even more interesting because of the points of view he asks us to write from. This article is basically about Dr. Adrian Guardia and the new technology produced by Pearson, McGraw-Hill and others called, "CourseSmart". This technology allows for the professor to check to see if the student has opened the E-Book, took notes or even highlighted things in the text. It's only in it's trial run right now at about 8 universities, but the producers are looking for the CourseSmart to go nationwide. 

Dr. Strange asked for different view points of this technology. We are supposed to write from the point of view of a teacher and student:

Point of View#1: Teacher
As a teacher, I think that I am on the fence about this. I would love to know if my students are really opening their books at night and taking notes, but how do I know that they are not just jotting things down in the notebook they use or class? I realize that some students are not always honest, but technology still has its flaws as well. I think I would like it because it would give me a great way to keep track of my students' progress in my class. It would allow me to see what they understand and what they do not understand. I would then email the student and give him or her feedback and answers to questions about the lesson.

Point of View#2: Student
As a student, I would think this would be an invasion of my academic privacy. If I read my materials for class is on me and if I don't, it's still on me. I really don't appreciate the "Big Brother" thing. I am really not the type that types out notes. I don't retain information well unless I hand wrote them myself. Why? The answer to that would be because these are my thoughts and perceptions of the lesson. On the other hand, I think it may improve my study habits because it would force me to read because I know that I am receiving a grade for the material that I read and took notes on. I would be a good study buddy as well. My teacher would be able to see where I am struggling and where I am excelling. I think that is important as well. I honestly feel as though, it is a "Catch 22". 

Questions for Dr. Adrian Guardia
  1. How do you know if the student isn't writing down notes on paper?
  2. Do you feel as if this is an invasive technology?
  3. How do you know if your students are really reading or if they are just leaving the books open?
  4. How do you think this would do at other universities?
  5. Do you think that this would work on a grade school level?
  6. Do you think your students study habits will progress or regress?
  7. Do you think that your students even like the idea of being monitored like this?
  8. Do you feel as though this is helpful? If so, in what ways?
  9. Would you recommend this to another professor?
  10. What modifications would you suggest for "CourseSmart"?
Questions for Students of Dr. Adrian Guardia
  1. Do you prefer typing out your notes or hand-writing your notes?
  2. Do you feel that "CourseSmart" is helpful to you? If so, how?
  3. Have you developed better or worse study habits?
  4. Do you even read the E-text? 
  5. Do you think that you are a responsible student?
  6. How has Dr. Guardia's class changed since the "CourseSmart" was introduced?
  7. If you were Mr. Guardia, how would you modify "CourseSmart"?
  8. What would you tell the publishing companies (Pearson, McGraw-Hill) about their technology?
My comment for this article would be as follows:

"My name is Daphney McFadden. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310 with Dr. John Strange. I was reading your article and found it to be very interesting. I am not sure if I should be impressed or mildly disturbed. I say this because, as a student, I would not want my teacher going into my textbook reading my notes. My notes is how I remember my material and sometimes can be private. That may be because I am a private person. I'm not sure. Another thing, I am the type of student that preferred hand-written notes to typed notes. On the other hand, as a future teacher, I can see where this is beneficial to my students. It would show me progress or regress and I think I would feel a better connection to them. I think it is an interesting idea and I am not in opposition to change for the betterment of learning. I hope that things go well in your classroom and I hope to see a post about the progress of the "CourseSmart" Technology in the near future. " 

Progress Report on PLN

Since the beginning, I have been using the Symbaloo PLN. My personal learning network has come a long way from where it first began. I have been adding titles from different social, educational and media websites. I have even added some of my C4Ts blogs to my PLN for references and other ideas. I still have my Symbaloo divided into my personal and professional categories so as not to get things mixed up. I haven't added anymore to my personal widget yet, but I think that as things progress, I will. I think that it is going to continue to grow at a steady pace. After I leave this class, I do not know if I will continue to use it. I do know that it will be a treat for my future students to use. It will probably become part of my lesson plan for my special needs kids. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blog Post #13

By: Brian Crosby

This is an interesting video created through TEDxDenver of Mr. Brian Crosby and his amazing class of 4th graders. Science was one of my favorite subjects as a child. I loved to experiment and see what would explode or collapse. In this video Mr. Crosby focuses on one ballon project that his students conducted. The most exciting part of his presentation was when he showed the video of the balloon going up into the earth's atmosphere. The kids even attached a mini camera to get an arial view of things!! Click play below to view it :)

Summary Quiz"

This is what Mr. Paul Anderson is all about when it comes to teaching his students. The Blended Learning Cycle is an awesome idea that not only teaches children, but also makes for certain that he or she is knowledgable of the lesson. 

Mr. Paul Anderson
Step 1: Question
Mr. Anderson starts with a really good question. His example is Oiler's Disk. They placed the disk on a mirror and it continuously spun. He gives his students the opportunity to think about the details behind these ideas and come up with his or her own conclusion. Another good example was the Natural Selection video. Students were asked to analyze a graph and explain it. 

Step 2: Investigation/Inquiry
This is the area where students put their brains to work to apply the physical actions to understand how the experiment is done. In this section he allows the students to contrast spinning the disk on a mirror and the table. He asks, "Will it spin for a longer period of time or will it spin for a shorter amount of time?" This is a great way for the students to get really involved and intrigued. I am teaching Special Education so way of keeping my kids attention is what I need to utilize.

Step 3: Video
Mr. Anderson uses podcasting to give his students direction. In doing so, he has more time for review purposes. This also benefits the students because they can go back in and review the podcast in case of forgetfulness. I know that as a student, I am absent-minded when it comes to remembering lectures and details of what the professor emphasized in class. I had to depend on my notes all the time and sometimes I wasn't able to get everything written down. I then came up with the idea of downloading Evernote which recorded my lectures and I was able to go back. When I was attending Auburn University, I had a professor that used podcasting as a part of his lecture. This really helped me remember and fill in notes that I wasn't able to take down. If you want to download a good podcasting tool and you don't have iTunes, you could use Jpodder. Create an account and go to work. In my classroom, I plan to allow my students to create their own podcast as apart of a graded assignment. 

Step 4: Elaboration
This is where the teacher would use the classroom to go into further detail about the lesson. The teacher could also tie in other lessons. For instance, Oiler's Disk can also explain the laws of Inertia. I think this is a great blended portion because you are thinking outside the box while also staying within the guidelines of your pacing guide. 

Step 5: Review
This is just basically going over what the student has learned. Mr. Anderson meets with his students individually or in small groups and asks questions to see if they have actually learned the lesson being taught. I would have never thought to do it like this and I love the idea because it shows the student that you are interested in his or her future by giving him, her or them one on one time with you (the teacher). I will definitely use this method in my classroom. In my mind, this all ties into the "Flipped Classroom" concept. As a reminder, flipping the classroom would mean sectioning off students in groups according to their learning abilities. This is great for a special education collaborative  teacher like myself because it allows me to group my kids based on who needs my attention the most. 

Step 6: Summary Quiz
Mr. Anderson says that if he feels that the student doesn't do well on the review, then he will not give them the summary quiz. This shows him that they know what they are talking about when it comes to the lesson. I am not sure if that is a good idea. Will that not put some students behind or ahead? I believe in equality among my students. After the summary quiz, it's on to standardized testing. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Comment 4 Teacher

C4T#4: Gender Bias In Education
By: David Wees of Canada

When I first started reading Mr. David Wees's blog post about gender bias in education, I would a tad bit confused. I did not realize that it was a suggestion from another person until I read," Mark writes..." I began to read Mark's suggestion and was astonished at what was being suggested. Mark suggested that some teachers are unknowingly bias when calling on students to answer questions in the classroom. Mr. Wees said that he probably wouldn't attempt this at his school and to be honest, neither would I. While taking EDU 400, I was taught that males students are more prone to developing special needs than females. Since special education is what I am teaching then that was the comment that I made to him. I am not really sure how to take this though. Thinking back to when I was in school, the girls were called on more than the boys because the boys always coward away when it came time to answering the teacher. His blog post was very interesting to me and I am wondering if he wasn't going to do it at his school, would he go to another school to perform this experiment? Maybe that was a question I should have asked. I also found it interesting that there was a short bio on Mr. Wees at the end of his blog. In all these weeks on commenting on teachers' blogs, this was a first for me.

C4T#4 (part 2): Playground Physics
By: David Wees of Canada

I think this man has one of the most brilliant minds I have ever seen!! In his most recent blog posting, he used a day at the playground with his son and turned it into a physics lesson. He instructed his to slide down the slide to illustrate friction, then his son went to the sliding monkey bar to illustrate inertia...who knew that one could use a playground to teach a physics lesson. I commented and told him my opinion of him. I also told him that I hoped to be like him (his creative ability and ways of getting new ideas across to students) when I got into the classroom. I love how he was about to do his lesson plan while also spending quality time with his son. I think that is one the most important things in a family. 

Final Project Progress Report


Last week was a mandatory meeting week. This is the first time that my group has met since we "re-did" the groups. I am feeling some kind of way about this group because we are not meeting or communicating like a group should be at this point, especially since we are coming on our last 2 group projects. Anyway, our meeting was productive nonetheless. We decided to do a combination assignment idea. I'm not going to put our idea out there, but Dr. Strange knows what we are going and that's all that matters. As far as what I have done for the project on my own, I have created a timeline (on paper) of what scenes need to be shot, what the subject of that scene is and who is going to be presented in it. I will give a hint though....FLASHBACKS! I love the survival guide idea for this project and I hope that my group participation gets better. To be honest, I miss my old group with Rachel McGuff. We were dedicated to our projects and met in the lab every Tuesday and Thursday to work on something whether it be the regular assignments or projects. Now that is what I call a group. What I have now is...i don't know. I'm really ready to drop them and go with a different group. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

Honestly, I had the hardest time attempting to figure this out. I am one for creativity, but this one was a tough cookie...Then the idea of cookies just stuck!


I am a Special Education teacher so my field has broadened since the last time I did this assignment. Last time, I did a W.O.W (Wild Out Wednesday) and the assignment was for students to create their own rap about a figure or event that happened in history and post it on his or her blog. I didn't have the opportunity to do the assignment, but this assignment I could do. This time my focus would be on SCIENCE which is one of my favorite subjects. Mr. Lee's Phases of the Moon is a great way to teach kids the phases of the moon. This catchy tune is to the instrumental "Killin'em" by Fabolous. I am not here to ask you to just make up a rap. I am asking you to follow my instructions and physically get out and do this assignment an post it to your blog to prove that you did it. My assignment combines learning and eating!! Ready....set....go!

  1.  Watch Mr. Lee Phases of the Moon and follow his lead.
  2.  Go online to Google Images and find a picture that you would like to use for the phases of the moon. Print it off.
  3.  Go to the grocery store and purchase a pack of cookies; depending on the grade level you are teaching you will only need 4 (lower functioning kids) or 8 (higher functioning kids).
  4.  Draw a picture of the Earth relative to the sun.
  5. Remove the cream from the middle of the cookie by increments according to what phase you are presenting.   
  6.  Now glue the phases of the moon around your Earth as illustrated in the picture above. 
  7.  Take pictures of each phase and create a youtube video or iMovie. Include images, captions and music is optional.
This was a fun assignment to do and I got to eat cookies at the end :) Now I know the phases of the moon!!! #phatkidlifestyle

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blog Post #11

By: Mrs. Kathy Cassidy

This is beyond the cutest video I have ever seen!! Mrs. Kathy Cassidy is not the typical first grade teacher. She is not all about the students learning the concepts presented in textbooks. She more embraces the idea of technology in the classroom. She has everything from computers to Nitendo DSs in her classroom. The children have a great wealth of knowledge from using Blogs, Skype, Wiki, Video Games, SMARTboards, etc. I know that it will be essential for my classroom to have a SMARTboard and computers. Most of my children will be special needs so there will be certain technologies that my students will have that others will not. I would love to use blogs and wikis as well, but depending on the severity of the child's disorder, he or she may not be able to use them. I feel this is unfortunate because I firmly believe that every child has the potential to be something great no matter what condition he or she may suffer from. I would love to possibly some type of technology that would read the child's brain waves to determine a response or simply get an iPad so that my non-verbal students have a voice.

He or she would be able to look at the iPad screen and tap on the thing or event they want or need. iPad App For Special Needs would be a prime example of what I am talking about. Apps for Coomunication would be another great video to watch to better understand my point. That would be so cool to me!!! I honestly believe that she is doing a great job because she is using a what the children are familiar with to her advantage. Children at that age are very tech savvy because this is the age that they have been born into. I would love to follow her example when I get into my classroom. She is not worried about what her co-workers or administrators think of her or what she is going. She is more focused on the kids and their experiences. Experiences that they can grow from and create a creative foundation upon. There are so many benefits to using this technology method, aside from the ones that I stated before. Not only are they enhancing their skills with technology, they are opening new doors to different worlds and different people. For instance, the fact that Mrs. Cassidy uses Skype to allow the children to talk to pen pals and even experts in different subject matters. I think that is awesome. How she introduced them to wikis!! When they wanted to know about Traditions and Rituals...all they did was post a wiki and people from all over shared their personal traditions and rituals. With that she also taught them internet safety and how to only give your first name if you want to even give a name.



Dr. Strange skyped with Mrs. Cassidy This was an interesting chat. Dr. Strange is a little hard to hear, but she is perfectly fine. She explains that the kids' voices in the video are from her previous students because they had a bit of a speech problem when they were in the first grade which we all have had experience with. She has some encouraging words about her support system with children blogging. I see that she never let anyone phase her, even the Principal. She even got in good with the superintendent of the school board in order to keep her technological classroom going. In order to protect her student she firmly teaches them not to use a picture or full name and the parents love it! They love to see how their children are progressing and the kids have a fondness for it as well.  She is so right when she says that as a teacher, we have to change because the world is changing and we are handicapping our children, as well as, ourselves by not embracing technology. I am in total agreement with that. As I have said before children these days have been born into the age of technology. See, she and I share so many of the same views. I love how she allowed her children to create relationships with other students using Skype. I was a bit surprised that she and her students has blogged with other schools in the South in Gadston, AL. I guess because the South is so behind in technology period is the reason for my surprise. "TECHNOLOGY IS HERE TO STAY AND IT'S NOT GOING AWAY" I love this. She uses social media to keep with with different ideas. This is something that. This is something that Dr. Strange is trying to get us to recognize. I see that now. I really don't know why it took me so long to realize that. She gives great advice about how to choose what media outlet to use based on what they (the students) are interested in. This may be the most basic idea, but it will surprise you how some people do not recognize this. I think that Dr. Strange and even some other professionals should use this because not all students are bloggers. Some people aren't good with words. Some people can express themselves better with video or pictures. I understand writing is important, but I do not believe that it is number one way to communicate. After listening to the kids and Mrs. Cassidy, I realized that I am really going to have to bring my A game in the classroom. I would love to mirror my class after Dr. Strange's class because his ideas and views on technology are "what is in". The times are changing, the children are changing, the technology is changing so making a change is not going to be a hindrance...IT WILL BE THE BIGGEST BENEFIT EVER!!

Comment 4 Kids: March

C4K#5: What Do You Gain As A Blogger?

My kid's name is Schylar N. from Mr. Boylen's class. She was asked, "What do you think as a student gain from blogging with students and other outside of the school? Is it worth the time? Why/why not?" And she commented, not really answering the question. Her response was that she thought blogging is a good idea because it was a way to get to know others and find things in common. I thought that she was pretty accurate in her response, but was that really answering the question?? I thought yes and no, but hey at least the kid answered the question. Anyway, I told her how blogging has helped me emotionally and professionally. While blogging, I have been able to better express my feelings through writing and poetry. Professionally, it has helped me to connect with other special education teachers and future teachers. Also, I have found some really good websites for special education that I think are going to really help me out as a teacher :) To put the icing on the cake, I posted a link to my blog on her page so that if she wanted to read some interesting stuff, she could.

C4K#6: Paris' Learning Blog
Paris is a student in Mr. Huebl's 6th grade class all the way from Australia!! I think that is the coolest thing ever. Mr. Huebl assigned a blog post about "Sharing". Paris wrote that sharing food would feed the world, make the world a better place, make the world a happier place of fun and laughter, the world would be a place of fairness and wealth. What was my reaction you ask? I thought is was the cutest thing ever!! She has the right idea about sharing. I thought her post was creative and original with a hint of poetic quality. I just made the suggestion for her to use commas so that she would have a better quality of writing. All in all she did an awesome job and her ideas were creative.

C4K#7: The Wacky Dog Competition
Children are so creative and I admire that because as you get older, most of it begins to fade. I just read a cute story by Annliz. From what I can gather, this was an assignment to create a story and Annliz decided to write about a dog in a surfing competition. What a cute idea?! The only problem that I saw was frequent punctuation and quotation placement issues. I suggested to her to have her teacher or friend to proofread to make sure that it is presentable before she posts, but I also encouraged her to continue writing. I really think that she could be a create children's book author.

C4K#8: Kyle A and the Christmas Project
First off, my kid is SO into guns. I feel some kind of way about that. I don't know if it's okay for a child to be around this many guns to begin with, but I guess his parents know what they are doing. Anyway, Kyle is a student in Mr. Boylen's 8th grade language arts class in Iowa. I want to start off by saying that when this kid blogs, HE REALLY BLOGS. You know how normally, kids may write a paragraph or a sentence or so...well, not Kyle. This kid made sure that you followed directions. In his current post, you have to read his previous post to understand the current post and the first line is, "...read Christmas present first to understand " Other than punctuation errors, which I commented on as well, this kid is an A1 writer! Oh and did I mention the detail in his work The Christmas Present?! If anyone ever wanted to know how to modify a gun, this kid's blog would be the place to learn. I thought that it was so great how he has a hobby that he can share with his family as well. That is just so precious. Mr. Boylen is doing a great job :)  

Comment 4 Teacher

Mrs. Heidi Siwak is an awesome teacher. When I first went to her blog, my attention immediately went to the "about me" section. She and her student design apps and lead innovative talks!! You can't say that about every teacher in the world. She has to be something special. 

Now I am not sure about what Salience is, but from the context clues of the blog it is a tool used to deal with complex tasks and decision making. When I commented, I told her who I was, what I was majoring in and that this was a great idea. I also asked her to clarify so that I didn't get the wrong idea about what she was trying to teach. I am definitely follow her on Twitter. She seems that she has some great ideas and I would love to stay in contact with her.

This is the most interesting of the posts that I have read by Mrs. Siwak. She is teaching her students that there is no such thing as a "bad idea". She is allowing them to think of more creative ways to transform what they think is a bad idea into a good idea. Education is all about the ideas of others and how to add to a person's knowledge base. So, for her project Mrs. Siwak and her students took the idea of turning the gym at her school into a chicken coop. Now to start with, we all know that this is not the best idea in the world, but Mrs. Siwak didn't tell her students that. She instructed them to revamp the idea and they came up with businesses that profited from chicken! Awesome right?! So then they, the students, went on to come up with ways that it would benefit them in the long run. They came up with how it would help them to learn business skills which in turn led to the idea of creating a business class as apart of the academia! Who would have thought that the idea of turning the gym into a chicken coop would result in the idea of a business class. I, for one, am in amazement. I commented to her and told her how great this idea was and in hopes of feeding off of her ideas, I gave her my email address so that we could feed off of each other's ideas.