Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Post #10

Adventures in Pencil Integration

I'm a Papermate.  I'm a Ticonderoga.

I actually have some background regarding the above cartoon.  When my son was in the first grade, I bought some Papermate pencils because they were very cheap.  His teacher sent home a note requesting better erasers because the erasers on the pencils were not very good, and the pencils themselves were very smudgy.  This led me to the discovery of Ticonderoga pencils.  They are my absolute favorite!  They are also the favorite of my now freshman in college son.  He will not buy or use any other kind of pencil.

Now to interpret the cartoon.  Hhmm.  The man on the left looks older than the guy on the right.  He is dressed in a suit.  I do not know if he is supposed to be more mature, professional, or nerdy. However, his caption, explaining his cheapness, gives the message that you get what you pay for. The best pencil, the Ticonderoga, is what a hipster would buy.  According to this definition of hipster, a hipster is smart, educated, and frugal.  Again, by purchasing something more expensive, you should get what you pay for.

The dilemma I have is determining if there is a further meaning to this cartoon.  Does it stop at the quality of pencils?  Is it making fun of pencils, because the artist thinks pencils in general are obsolete?  Refer to my picture in Blog Post #3.
*10:38 p.m. P.S.*  After reading a few other people's blogs, I see that this cartoon is a play on the Mac/PC commercial.  I have seen this commercial a while ago, so I actually get the cartoon.  I explored Mr. Spencer's blog, but obviously not the extent to discover the meaning of the cartoon.  Oops.

John T. Spencer
The blog post I chose to comment on is When a Child Hates Pencils.  This post is about a student who hates pencils because he associates them with work instead of learning, and failure instead of success.  This post also addresses trinket reward systems and the punishment of being sent to another class to then copy words over and over.  

"Our principal encouraged me to keep Josiah away from pencils until he was "mature" (as if a pencil was something one has to mature into) and has "proven that he can earn the privilege of using them again."  I ignored his advice and handed Josiah a new pencil the second day of school.  I told him he could draw, write poetry, tell a story, whatever. 

"Will I get a stamp?"

"No. I don't do stamps."

"A letter?"

"No letters here either."

"Then why should I do this?"

"I write because I have something to say.  I draw because I want to create.  I can't control it.  There's something in me that propels me to draw."

"Will you read it?"

"Yep.  I'll even write comments and on some parts I'll ask you to do an assignment I choose.  I'll make some corrections.  I'm still your teacher.  But my goal is feedback, not judgment."

He tears a page out of the journal, writes a poem about wanting to fly and then creates an origami flying dragon with the poetry written on the wings.  It's beautiful and quirky and it didn't happen because of letters or stamps or peppy praise."

This post perfectly reflects my experience last week at Fonde Elementary, which I am still processing.  The teacher I observed is really a great teacher.  She taught in Baldwin County for 2 1/2 years.  She has been at Fonde for 7 years.  She has gone from a high performing school to a low performing school.  I felt very inspired to be there.  She said herself, "I know we are not supposed to teach to the test, but that's what we have to do here."  She is so focused on test scores.  I am afraid she is losing that special something she must have had in Baldwin County.  I shared with the students about setting goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve those goals.  I shared with them about running the Azalea Trail Run the following day.

I was asked by a fourth grader, "Whatcha gonna get for runnin' that race?"  


"You're not gonna get nothin'?"

I tried to explain that I will have personal satisfaction.  I will have happiness within myself.  I will be proud of myself.  I might as well have been speaking a foreign language.

Dr. Scott McLeod
Dr. McLeod has many credentials.  Most recognizable is the fact that he is the creator of the Did You Know? video I watched on YouTube earlier this semester.  I agree with his positions in Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff-Please?, however I will have to do a lot more learning myself to be able to use and teach the technology he thinks should be in the classroom.  I will have to educate myself on filters, controls, etc.  Again, referring back to my experience at Fonde, the absolute quietest those students ever became was in the computer lab.  They were working on math problems on computer programs that were identical to the type they had been working on in the classroom.  The students were so engrossed.  I could have heard a pin drop.

Project #11 Short Movie

This is over 4 minutes long.  Be patient.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Project 12 Book Trailer

Blog Post #9

Proofreader's Marks

Mr. McClung
In Mr. McClung's blog post, What I Learned This Year 2009-2010, he shares what he has learned during that particular year of teaching school.  There were many firsts for Mr. McClung during that year.  He had to adapt in order to effectively fulfill many new tasks.  He had to change his expectations of the outcomes of his lessons because he taught material he had never taught before.  I like how he says, "I don't want my students to always look for the right answer, but instead take a different approach that requires them to think analytically and assess each situation on an individual basis."  This is my philosophy exactly.  In the case of a subject like math, I want my students to understand why and how they arrive at an answer that will most likely only have one correct answer. 

In his section, Find your School Mom, I do not know who Mr. McClung is calling a school mom.  I don't know if he means a literal mother of a student, or if he means a well-seasoned teacher that serves as a go-to type of colleague.  Regardless, I believe the more ideas and support, the better for everyone. 

In the rest of the post he makes more good points.  The ability to act crazy and silly in order to grab students' attention comes quite easily to me.  I like that he states, "Check your ego at the door." Another good point is about making sure he teaches not only what he enjoys but also the subjects that his students need to learn.  Also, his assessments need to match the depth of the material he covered. It is natural to gravitate to what we like regarding anything, but it is about making the student successful that matters most.  Mr. McClung found it helpful to give students tasks in the classroom which "requires them to be responsible and take ownership for the classroom experience."  This takes a load off of the teacher and saves precious time as menial tasks are delegated.

Mr. McClung shares how problems with administration affected his attitude in the classroom.  While he does not explain the details of the situation, I appreciate his honesty in admitting that there have been problems.  "No matter how bad things may be, as a teacher you can not let surrounding factors affect how you conduct yourself in the classroom."  This is so true.  Mr. McClung concludes this post by admitting he has flaws yet is willing to improve and move forward.

In the post, What I Learned This Year Volume 4, Mr. McClung begins with admitting that he was worried about his perception among his peers but that he got over it.  He does not pinpoint why he went through this, but I like that he just chose to get over it and refocus on his students.  I was a little surprised that he felt like he had gotten too comfortable and was not teaching well.  He felt like relying on old lessons led to routine and lack of creativity.  I am looking forward to having well written lesson plans to have from year to year.  That is the benefit of becoming an experienced teacher.  I assume that instead of writing lesson plans from scratch all of the time, I will be able to better supplement existing ones.  Only time will tell.

The main thing I learned from Mr. McClung's posts is the value of proofreading.  Honestly, I can not believe he made all four posts with so many errors.  They would have easily been noticed if he had taken the time to re-read what he had written.  I am not error-proof, however, I don't want to appear that unprofessional simply because I did not review before clicking "publish".

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

girl asleep with book

This is How We Dream

Dr. Richard Miller shares a presentation on YouTube.  As I watched, I thought it was a bit redundant regarding the perspective this class is trying to teach us.  Upon further reflection, I realize this was done in 2008, 5 years ago.  Instead of thinking, "Okay, I get it,"  it is interesting to examine how what Dr. Miller says has actually occurred.

Dr. Miller talks about how information has moved from being published in books to being documented on the Internet.  Research has been sought and compiled online with images, film, sound, and anything archived on the web.  People collaborate to produce print, sound, and visual documents.

Dr. Miller mentioned an example of instantaneous voting results during the 2008 election.  He also mentioned the value of iTunesU for academic lectures and info.  He said, "Ideas don't belong to us individually.  They belong to us as a culture."  Ideas can be shared freely.  The challenge comes in how to put all this together.  Computer literacy is the new "reading and writing skill".  Writing with multimedia takes time to learn, but it will be so worth it.

Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

I think Carly is very thorough in her post.  I think her idea goes beyond what Dr. Miller describes.  As stated above, Dr. Miller's presentation was done in 2008.  Carly's post was from April 2011.  I like that Carly did not reinvent the wheel.  She evaluated what is important and searched out resources that reflect that.  By creating a YouTube play list, she literally has saved the resources at her fingertips.  As a future English teacher and literature lover, she wants to present her students with this classic subject matter with the use of modern technology.  Again, she is not reinventing the wheel.  She is just changing gears.


The types of videos I would like to participate in making must be fun and not boring.  In another class I was Diane Sawyer of 20/20 conducting an interview about No Child Left Behind.  It was so fun to be someone else.  It is so fun to break out do the unexpected.  I also like the chance to try to be funny though it may come off as really stupid.  Before that video assignment and the Rafe Esquith video for this class, I had not done any videos.  As far as in the future, I don't know what the subject matters would be but I am definitely up for it.

The primary message of the EDM 310 for Dummies and The Chipper Series are about getting the work done for this class.  Students in this class can feel crazy, frustrated, clueless, paralyzed with procrastination, or they can choose to dive in, read the directions, put forth the effort, develop some work habits, and succeed.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

This video covers the opinions of several people regarding education.  Education that will really work involves communication, relationships, connectivity, and access to information.  The jobs of the future will not be obtained by people who are right answer vending machines that have been churned out by the philosophy of No Child Left Behind.  Future employees will need to know how to find, validate, and synthesize information versus memorize facts.  This starts with the teachers changing how they lead and teach students.

The video ends with the statement, "It's the death of education, but it's the dawn of learning."  I agree with this.  Last night I saw some of a series, "Blackboard Wars."  It is a low income, minority school full of behavior problems.  The show focused on some first year teachers who are very excited to teach and think they are making a difference, yet so frustrated by the issues of this school.  I wonder how exposing these students to this teaching style in this video would engage and change their perspectives of attending school every day.  Low income schools tend to lack resources of middle class schools, however use of technology may be on of the very things that helps improve behavior, not just learning.

Scavenger Hunt

1.  The first thing I chose to do is create an account with Edmodo.  It has the look of Facebook.  Users familiar with Facebook would probably like it.  I signed in as a teacher, though I am not one yet.  The page can be customized many ways.  This site could be used to communicate with the classroom as well as network with other teachers.

2.  The  nice deal Prezi makes for students and teachers:  for free Prezi offers private presentations, the use of your own logo, and 500MB storage space.  For $4.92 per month, Prezi offers private presentations, the use of your own logo, the ability to work offline securely, premium support, and    2 GB storage space.

3.  A video tool I have never heard of is  "Educators can apply for a free Animoto Plus account for use in the classroom.  Animoto automatically analyzes music, photos and video clips, and orchestrates a custom video, leaving you free to focus on the content and narrative of your videos."  Sounds good to me!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

C4T #2

Silvia Tolisano

Langwitches by Silvia Tolisano

First Post
Subject: Embedding Visuals into Teaching and Learning.  Wonderopolis is a website with over 800 visual props and also the opportunity to submit your own.  Another website, Visual Writing Prompts, has pictures and prompts categorized by subject and writing type.  This post is about resources to use for finding pictures as prompts for writing assignments.

My comments:  I am a student taking the class EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama.  I remember writing assignments that were so boring.  Using prompts from websites like these seem very engaging for the students.  This idea of using technology in the classroom is so new to me, though I am enjoying  envisioning the prospect.

This blog allowed me to leave my name, email address, and blog address.

Second Post
Subject:  The proper use of hyper-links as enhancements to writing in the digital world.  This post includes a guide for download.

My comments:  This is an extremely helpful post. Reading it in one sitting is not enough for the information to settle in. Thank you for posting a downloadable tool for help regarding hyperlinks. Just when I thought I had become an adequate writer, I feel like a beginner in the digital world. There is always something new to learn.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

ripple in a pond

Randy Pausch The Last Lecture
The shorthand I took for the instructions for this blog post:  identify and comment on teaching methods, discuss all of the things he discusses that you can use in teaching, but don't just retell what he says, identify:  teaching and learning, summary and my reactions.  I do not know if my blog post will satisfy these instructions because I believe the notes I took and the impressions I have are more related to life than just what I would use in a classroom.  This will probably be the most hodge-podge post I have made.

Pausch outlines his lecture as Really Achieving Your Dreams, Enabling the Dreams of Others, and Lessons Learned.  Pausch's childhood dreams included experiencing zero gravity, playing professional football, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, and becoming an Imagineer for Disney.  Through football he learned that when you are screwing up and no one is saying anything anymore, it means they have given up on you.  I am still letting this statement soak in.  In evaluating this statement, I have put myself in both positions.  I hope that people will still speak up when I need it.  I also hope I will have the courage to speak into others' lives when they need it most.

In Pausch's experience as an Imagineer, he heard the statement, "Wait and people will surprise you."  I don't know that I have the patience to apply that to everyone I know, but, oh, how I want everyone I know to extend that attitude toward me.  It is amazing how I do not give as readily as I like to receive.  So, moving forward, how long will I wait in order to be surprised?  I also like Pausch's two examples of how to say, "I don't know."  It can be done pridefully and defensively, or calmly and with honesty, humility, and control. 

In the next point of Pausch's lecture, Enabling Others' Childhood Dreams-become a professor, I definitely connected with the bigger picture of becoming a teacher.  My childhood dream was played out in my bedroom with my blue chalkboard.  Chalkboards may be obsolete by the time I am a teacher, but I greatly want one just for my own personal satisfaction.  To think that once I achieve a degree, I will than have the ability to steer others into pursuing their childhood dreams in the making gives me the mental image of a rock thrown into a pond and the ripple effect.  I hope to spur children on to go further than I will and further than they ever thought they would.  More than a classroom, I hope this for my own children.  Through Pausch's class about building virtual worlds, he learned to raise the bar even though the students did well to begin with.  I think the bar needs to be raised when they don't do so well either because students must have something to strive for.  As Pausch was nearing the end of his life, he made the decision to find someone better than himself to hand over his work.  I see the importance of finding a mentor and always look for someone who is better than me to go to.

I like Pausch's quote, "The best gift an educator can give someone is the ability to be self-reflective."  I know this class has that approach and I am trying to honestly evaluate my work or else I will not be doing myself a service.  Pausch also defines the "head fake":  have fun while learning something hard.  That is exactly the mindset I have when I envision teaching math.

For Lessons Learned, I wrote down a lot of points that stood out.  The contents in the parentheses are my reactions.  Help others (I am only helpful sometimes).  Never give up (I am a natural quitter).  Tell the truth (In the South, politeness can trump honesty).  Apologize (That's easy).  Focus on others, not yourself (That's hard).  Don't complain, work harder (The other option would be to quit).  Be good at something:  it makes you valuable (Believe it and search for the talent). 

Pausch ends the lecture by informing the audience that there are two head fakes in his speech.  The first one is that this wasn't really about achieving your childhood dreams.  It is about how to lead your life.  (I knew it!)  And the second, "This talk wasn't for you.  It was for my kids."  I have no doubt his children have been listening.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

PLN Progress Report

Inspector Gadget

So far I have encountered many valuable resources that have ideas and new ways of thinking regarding education.  What I have yet to consider is the way to streamline my sources.  I have not yet chosen anything like Symbaloo, but I realize now is the time.  I definitely want to include some of the blogs I have read through this class.  I really like Mrs. She's class blog.  This New Zealand second grade class is very special.  I see how parents are responding with the pride of viewing their children's projects online.  I also like Langwitches.  I need to create a "one stop shop" as I find blogs or sites that I want to use in the future, rather than back track to find them.  Of course, there are the standard YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

I want to seek out a mentor that will help me along the way.  I have a few teacher friends that may be good mentors.  It may be that my mentor is someone I have yet to meet.  Either way, I know I will need one.  I am really enjoying blogging as well as discovering what tools Google offers.  At the end of the class, I want to have a PLN that will serve me beyond this class.

Project #8 Podcast

Lighting Their Fires Part 1

Lighting Their Fires Part 2

C4K Summary for February

Blog computer keys

This blog's address is  This student writes her blog as required for her 9th grade World History class.  This student answers the question:If you lived during World War I, which would be the best to own: a horse, a cow, or a dozen chickens?  In my opinion a cow would be best to own.  The student continues with her reasons.
My answer:You wrote an interesting answer to an interesting question. A cow is a great choice. Milk could also be used to make cheese and butter. I do not know much about World War I or what life may have been like day to day. Answering questions like this makes history more interesting and personal.

Max S
This blog's address is  This student just made his first blog post.  He wrote about how he made some saves as a goalie during a soccer game.

My comment:  Hello, Max. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. This week I get to comment on a blog from your class. I am glad you did such a great job as a goalie during your game. I also see that you are new to writing a blog. I am new, too. How do you like it? Do you play other sports?

Little Voices, Little Scholars by Mrs. She
Welcome comment left for the class at and for the students, Tatiana and Amelia.  They are so cute.  I love their artwork from last year.