Monday, December 10, 2012

Final Reflection Video

Final Project

I will admit I was NOT sure what direction to go with this....but lets go! This blog post is my favorite of the ones I've done so far. This video is my reflection on what technology I think I will be using in the classroom. This is my iBook video it was damaged when my but it will at least show my intent:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Post #12

Assignment: As a Special Education teacher in the Elementary setting you will encounter challenges very different than those of teacher in a regular classroom. Read the article
hands reading braille

"Video Game to Get Blind Children Up and Moving." Summerize. Explore ways you would both use THIS technology in your classroom and come up with an innovative way you would alter "regular kid" activities for children with physical or mental disabilities. Use this website for possible inspiration.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blog Post #11

For our assignment this week we were to watch the learning techniques of Ms. Kathy Cassidy.

If you don't have time to watch the video, it basically overviews the teaching style of Ms. Cassidy. She teaches first graders in a school that has a large amount of access to technology and she appears to take advantage of it, in the best way possible. She allows(and I'm sure does quite a bit of assisting for) her first graders to have their own personal blogs. She also does technology based centers in which the children are given access to websites they may never have otherwise visited. They also use wikis as learning tools, where they pick topics to learn about and both ask and answer questions. They make videos and use social networking skills to make friends and learn from people in other locations. They also(my personal favorite!) use the Nintendo DS to play games focused on word choice and from this they learn to use problem solving techniques.

We also watched a Skype interview between her and Dr. Strange where we learned the "whys" behind her use of technology in such a young group. It was very inspiring to hear that she was not really encouraged to do this, although she had support, she accomplished so much of this on her own. I also liked seeing that the different administrators, were if not supportive at least tolerant of these procedures.

I am not under any stretch of the imagination a big "technology-with-young-kids" advocate; however I LOVED this assignment. I loved seeing the way she made it personalized for the kids, how she incorporated so many different lessons, subjects, and techniques in. Judging from the reactions of the kids in the video they were learning and enjoying every minute of it!!
The main technique that I would hope to incorporate into my classroom is the use of the gaming systems(whether it be DS, PSP, or even Ipod Touches) they are something the kids are familiar with and see as a source of enjoyment. To make something like this into a learning tool is GENIUS because it teaches the kids from a young age that learning and fun can exist on the same plane. I also really loved the concept of "reading buddies." Having older students "tutor" the kids remotely would be so good for both reading skills, social skills, and technological skills. It would also I believe be very beneficial to the older children.

I think that being a teacher in southern Alabama some of the problems I may encounter that she wouldn't would be less access and less assistance on the parental side. In Canada technology has been more readily available and is more common than down south.


The teacher I was assigned to for the month of October was VERY useful. In one of her posts that I read, she overviews reasons of why kids should care about the election.

What made her different from most blogging teachers was instead of just complaining or listing reasons, she also gave a method of solution. She listed questions to get the kids thinking and methods you can use to discuss it in a way that non voters will care and become educated in the future.


kids holding school sign
In the month of October I had two different kids I commented on the first was Marie. She is 7th Grader in an English class. In her first blog, I enjoyed a bio listing things that she enjoyed and I commented telling her that I loved learning so much about her and that I thought it was great of her to be interested in so many types of literature because so many girls her age were not. The second one was about her love of running, I commented and told her that it was great to see someone her age so dedicated to any one activity.

The second one was a boy named Austin, he only has one post in his blog. It is about his favorite national monument, The Liberty Bell. He talks about its history and how he wants to see it. I told him that I too had never seen a National Monument, but that I had seen a few battlefields and I loved them. I asked(to make him think) if he had ever seen a battlefield and what was his favorite war.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Post #10

John T. Spencer is a blogger. He is a fan of maintaining some classic mediums of education such as pencils paper and chalkboards vs printer ink, Ipads, and smartboards. In this post he does(or at least displays) a comic made as a spoof on the old pc/mac commercials.

I am not sure that I truly understand the connection, but in my not-so-educated opinion, I believe he is trying to get the point across that all pencils are alike and just like computers they will try to trick you into thinking they are different when in reality they are all flawed.

We were assigned to read a second blog from the same website called "Why Were Your Kids Playing Games" . In the blog the man is a teacher in a Junior High school and is called to the principals office. While in the office the principal attacks the man for the use of a game that he fears the parents may find inappropriate. The teacher attempts to defend himself by saying that the children are doing this because it helps them to learn. In response the principal fires back with the complaint of if it isn't going to help them pass the standardize test coming up soon, it's unimportant. My favorite part of this satirist post is where the man makes the comparison of the children only learning enough to pass a test to the teachers onbly paying attention to the "buzzwords" on next weeks BINGO game and as a result, not actually retaining anything discussed in the meeting.
We were told to read over the rest of the posts, and I found so many of them humorous. The writers allegorical and satirist sense of humor is 'right up my alley. The next post I chose to focus on was called "10 Points on Pencils", it mainly focuses on different ridiculous arguments the above mentioned fictional principal has against pencils and our sarcastic authors response to them. Give it a read, its worth it, and it good for a laugh!

As the last part of our assignment we were to read a blog called "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff Please?". This post was written by a man named Scott Mcleod, he is an associate professor at a University in Kentucky. This post is very snarky, and sarcastic. He uses those two forms of entertainment to keep you interested and makes a long list of technology items: HTML, RSS, Emailing, Cell phones, etc etc. He then says reasons why they are all "bad", and discourages you teaching them. At the end he admits that the only reason he doesn't want you teaching these is because he wants his kids to have a leg up. It is very well written and gets the point across well; however, I do think that one downfall was that a lot of the funny downfalls of these items that he listed are VERY good reasons for not making many of these items easily accessible to younger children(sexting, porn, cyber bullies.) That being said, I think whatever form learning takes, its still education and should be valued, Its as simple as that!

Project #15 Smartboard Video

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blog Post #9

This week for our blog assignment, we were to read the blogs of a teacher, Joe McClung. In these blog posts, Mr. McClung reflects on lessons that he learned throughout his year as a teacher. I thought it would be most interesting and most informative to read and reflect on his original post(from his first year teaching) and his most recent.

clip art schoolhouse
In the first , he speaks of how he was scared and unsure what the year held for him. He give so many examples of things that he experienced throughout the year that either, reassured him that something he thought was correct or corrected a misconception he had. One of my very favorite 'lessons' is one that I hope I can remember has a teacher:
"While I always plan to have that elusive perfect lesson, I don't let it get to me and I do not kill myself over my mistakes any more. When things go wrong, simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face"
Flexibility is a hard thing to have, especially when you feel like as the teacher you should always be in charge, and I, like Mr. McClung, will have to work to maintain it.

I was very interested after reading his first post, to see if he maintained his open mindedness onto his 4th year. I also wondered if any of his "lessons" were still things he was working on, or maybe even things he no longer believed. In reading his most recent post, I saw that he himself admits that after 4 years he didnt have as much left to learn. I loved seeing how quickly he settled in and became confortable as a teacher, and yet still maintained the ability to look outside of himself and see where he improved or needed to improve. My favorite part was the end statement:
"I really feel like I am at a cross roads in my life where I could be satisfied with what I have already accomplished as a teacher/coach and begin to coast. Or, I could take this opportunity to snap out of my funk and challenge myself to become a better teacher…I choose the latter"

man at crossroads
I hope that when I reach this crossroads as an educator that I too, choose the latter.

My PLN, Project #10

When I first heard the term "PLN" I was puzzled. I thought it was this complex system of archiving websites that you would use for teaching, however as I continued in this class and explored websites on my own I realized it wasn't anything other than making a list of websites I found useful. I have encountered a couple so far in this class that I otherwise was unaware of including different teachers blog that I have used on CFT's. What really surprised me was the list of resources I already had on my own. I had wordle, and Sporcle. This realization is what encouraged me to continue searching, and as of right now, I have a list of links on my drive saved. I do wish that I had a more permanent way of saving it. So, if anyone reading this knows of any...send them my way!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

C4T #2

The second teacher I was assigned for my C4T was a teacher that I am beyond excited to add to my PLN. She is a frequent poster and almost always has something that will be signifigant to me as a educator. I feel very lucky to have been assigned Eva for this assignment.

sample flyer

I commented on way more than just two of her posts, they were almost all about different, new or upgraded forms of technology and how it could be used in the classroom. The most recent one I comment on was a review on a software called "smore". The above picture is a sample flyer she created with this software. For any aspiring teachers, I very much suggest her blog A Journey in TEFL as a PERMANANT and frequently used resource.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Post #7

As I watched the video "The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler, I found myself thinking, "How would I have used these techniques in High School and how would it have affected my learning style today.

This video explains a different approach to teaching, that takes into account the differences in opportunity and requirements of the 21st century. It is a program where the teacher does not do the majority of the "teaching" through lectures, instead assigns a topic and allows the children to create their own 'learning guide', using reputable educational sources almost like a virtual text book.

networked children
The question asked in our blog post was "Would a networked student even need a teacher?" and I believe the answer is, not as much as a regular student, but yes.
A teacher is more than just a lecturer. These students would need a teacher for many reasons. Primarily, for accountability, just because a student has access to all of these wonderful resources does not mean they will use them correctly....or even at all. They need someone to make sure they are taking the time to complete these projects and to do them to the extent that will ensure learning.

On that same note, another major thing a teacher is needed for is to hold the sources accountable. The students could learn and retain incorrect information just as easily as accurate information. An educated teacher is need to go back and fact check the students work to make sure that the student themselves are not being misinformed. Not only this, but in a system involving networking, a misinformed student could very easily pass incorrect information on as fact, a teacher is need to prevent this.

We were asked to watch a second video that is the opposing side of being a networked educator. It was called "Welcome to My PLE" this was by a 7th grade student showing her own personal learning network, which is a collection of websites used to further her education. I found her PLE(while admittedly, and embarrassing to admit, was a bit more extensive than my own) was quite comparable to mine and what many uses I hope to either create for my class or allow my students to create for themselves, dependent on their ages.

This is one aspect of technology that I find EXTREMELY useful. I love the way it can create a permanent archive or learned facts so the students can use both resources they've found before and their own papers to back up opinions that choose to share in the future.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Project #8 The "Triad" :)

This is Podcast that our group "The Triad" did reflecting on lessons learned from the book Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog Post #6

Our assignment for this post was to watch The Last Lecture. This is a lecture given by a man who was a fabulous educator, inventive and innovative, even before what really set him apart occurred. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He then gave as many lectures as possible, and this is considered his most famous.
The Last Lecture

As I stated in an earlier blog post, this is not my first interaction with the materials of Mr. Pausch. This man was an inspiration until the day he died and I am sure I am not the only one in the "future generation" of teachers that gives him the credit, if not for giving us the dream, of at least showing us what kind of teacher we should aspire to be. He overcame obstacles that most of could not even imagine overcoming while sitting in a hospital bed...and he did while smiling and continuing his mission in life, teaching. While many of us would allow the troubles he faced to get him down or change anything about his life other than, if possible bettering him as a person. 1:11 seconds into this video he calls his killing disease the "elephant in the room" and flippantly mentions it, almost as if to get it out of the way for the 'real issues', his lesson. He then continues to talk about the fact that when things in life happen(bad things), if you continue to move on as if they haven't happened, you aren't in denial you are simply strong enough to allow life to happen, not let life happen "to you".

That in itself is one of the most important things I feel I learned from him, aside from just the personal lesson of overcoming ones obstacles, is simply that in order to be a successful educator you must either, set aside you troubles and not allow them to harm you, or even better: do as he did and allow them to BETTER you.

One other especially important thing I learned(not just from other explorations of him but specifically from this video was the way he allowed just the right level of personal information to make the students love and make him a "real" human in their eyes. He manages to do this in small ways, discussing his family, showing personal pictures and props, or even doing "young" things like light cursing. The most important part of this 'lesson' is that he manages to do this all while maintaining a level of appropriate to his students.

The last thing I learned from him was the way he validated himself to his students. This is a difference between his audience and my own future 'audience' while he had to think of the "skeptics" or ("cynics" as he puts it) because that is the way high school, college, and maybe even middle school. I will be in elementary school, where for the most part the kids still think their teacher can do no wrong. I will still want to implement these techniques, however. He uses real life stories and confessions, along with pictures and props. My favorite example of this is when he shows the giant stuffed animals to the audience to "prove" he won them. Another great way he does this is is by saying "I know this is the way to success because I told others to do this...and look where they are now". He shows this when he shows the video of the students in zero gravity, and also the students at the "hello world" seminar.

All of these techniques are things that make me even more eager to become an educator. I know I will not make the type of difference that Mr. Pausch made, his audience was all ages and world wide. However, if I can make the same level of affect on my small, local, young audience, I will consider my life well lived.

C4K Summary

kids playing on computers

I unfortunately had a summary typed and saved discussing what an amazing experience it was to read the blog of such a young child (5th grade) and see her interpretations of things in the world. However I failed to fave it correctly and can no longer access the list to re-access her blog.

I will still summarize as much as possible.
In my first C4K her blog was about writing a story and making a creative twist. She did this by making a witch come and "steal" her brother turn him into a chicken, and instead of saving him she allowed her mother to cook him and they ate him for dinner!! I told her what a great imagination she had and that she had a great mind for using descriptive words!

In the second post it was just a post about how she and her friends had a fall harvest festival coming up and how they were going to help with the facepainting and she was so excited. I thanked her for giving us a look into her personal life and told her again what a talented writer she was. I encouraged her to look into creative writing corse, competions and ever Journalism when she was older. I regret not saving the link. However here is the link to her entire school's blogs. Please have a look and leave an encouraging compliment these kids are obviously going places!

Henry VIII Timeline

Henry VIII was my favorite Tudor ruler! This is his quest for a son.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Post #5

rainbow apple logo

I do not typically believe in a completely technological classroom, I feel that is causes distance between teacher and student and that the main goal of teaching in an Elementary school classroom is to teach life lessons(morals, manners, social skills etc etc.). However, this young man seemed to mesh the benefits of technology, with none of the pitfalls of losing human interactions. I found him to be intellectual and spot on with many of his examples. I loved how he showed how many of the apps we take for granted(or ignore) right now(notes, calender, and all the many calculators.) He really showed how it could make a real difference both financially and environmentally.

Virtual Choir

While, I'm not sure how this applies to education other than showing the the internet can effectively connect people, I did find this video to very entertaining. It was very impressive the way they worked together so well never having met.

Flip this house...classroom?

I found this video on a flipped classroom to both informative and interesting(as well as this one, but I preferred the first.)
I did find this would be a more effective tool in elementary classes. I love the idea of having the videos as supplemental learning, but I feel that only devoting 10% of class time to the teacher "teaching" is not a very plausible way to adequately teach. The internet is great and having the information available for remedial students to review before and after lessons is an excellent idea. I do not feel it should replace the actual teaching though.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blog Post #4

This week our assignment was to view this blog and reflect on how it taught us lessons. In our blog post this week we were to write about how it showed us the many uses and benefits of pod casting in the classroom. Personally I feel that many of these benefits only would apply on upper level kids(or maybe at the most 4th and 5th year kids.) Too much of this being useful at that age relies on parent interaction and unfortunately its not a common occurrence any more.
Wordle: Podcast

But, in classrooms where the technology and parent involvement allows for it the uses of podcast are far reaching. It allows for teachers to provide supplemental lessons accessible at home this is beneficial to ill students or just anytime a student needs a little extra help.

CFT Overview

Apple in Worm Clip Art

My C4T assigned blog was A Journey in TEFL I read two of the blogs on this post and commented on them both.
C4T #1
The first blog I read was Getting Ready to Go Back to School. I found this blog both entertaining and informative. This blog contained many different links to resources to help any teacher prepare for the first week of school. The one link I found the most interesting(and helpful to my future classroom) was one about ways to introduce yourself to your classroom and also ways to jump-start your kids introducing themselves 36 Ways to Get to Know Your New Class Being so recently a High School student, I found myself imagining how some of her intro techniques would have "gone over" and was surprised to realize how many of them would have worked. I saved this link to my computer for future use and also shared it on Twitter and Facebook for some of my "teacher friends".

C4T #2

The next blog I read was First Week of School In this blog the author wrote about her first week in school. I wrote a commenting telling her how although she wrote about the grades she teaches(upper high school) I still learned techniques, specifically the way she took things her students would be experiencing and applied that to her lessons. I really enjoyed reading things from this author and feel that adding her to my PLN will benefit both myself and my future students.

My Presentation. Project #5

This presentation will give you just a small amount of insight on the things that make up "me" and the things I find important in life. Enjoy <3

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing

I have been in both advanced creative writing courses and Journalism clubs throughout middle and high school. These opportunities made peer reviews(both giving and receiving) pretty common place. However, from the three resources that were made available to me, I learned a couple of new things

I feel that the most important thing that I learned was that in each peer review you need to maintain positivity while still being able to look at the paper with an objective lens. The students in the video showed how important it was to stay on track and also to look at your peer as a fellow writer not as a friend, the also took a funny approach to some of the most common errors and made it enjoyable to watch
From all three sources I learned how even if someone put full effort into a peer edit, if they lacked specific instructions, then the efforts were pointless.

Special Education; Technological Help!

The form of Special Education I feel interested in and drawn towards is the field of physical disabilities. The video we watch touches on one major physical disability that often gets over looked when compared to blindness and deafness, muteness.

The ability to speak is something so many of us take for granted. Both with the ability to type written messages and also(this was not in the video but it made me think) make those written messages into verbal messages through the technology of voice simulators can allow an entire group of students who are perfectly intelligent enough to survive schooling,communicate that intelligence!

Apple assists with Autism

I have to admit, I am a skeptic so when I first started watching this video and exploring this topic I assumed that like so many other things in this society this was a clever attempt to make parents with autistic children(desperate for learning options) have false hope and buy into this technology....I did a little research outside of this video and I have to say....I was wrong.

Children are using this technology invented to be a luxury item and in doing so they are losing so many of the handicaps that slow them down from the "regular kids". The video point out so many reasons why it worked but in my opinion the main reason the technology was so amazing is the IMMEDIATE positive(or negative) reinforcement. The children strive to hear the "BING" that means they guessed the number, letter or even planet right so not only do they stay focused but the auditory and visual repetition allows them to store it to memory without even trying to!

I can see so many ways the technology can be used and many, many different subjects it could be applied to. The one I chose was foreign language, this would of course be for any language as well, but the Ipad option would allow speaking, hearing and seeing the words all at once.

Ana Lomba’s Spanish for Kids [Ana Lomba Early Languages LLC, $3.99; fee intro title] is a collection of individual apps, each featuring a classic story designed to engage children and parents in learning Spanish together. The stories use voice-over by native-speaking actresses and include text in both Spanish and English to aid in comprehension.
This app would help not only in Spanish Language recognition but also in basic reading comprehension skills.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog Post #1- Meet me!

About me! :)

My name is Amanda Durden, I am a 20 year old college student that is attempting to make the best of these 4 years while still working full time and paving my own roads!

I have lived in Mobile, Al my entire life and up until I was 17 and moved out on my own I was in the same house located in between West Mobile and Theodore. I went to Theodore High School(and even though people like to laugh we are pretty dang smart if I do say so myself! ;]) I graduated in May of 2010 and started my journey at USA in June of 2010.

I work full-time as a server up until a few weeks ago I was at Outback Steakhouse. Tuesday afternoon I start at Ollie's.(Hurricane willing, lol!) I live in a house in West Mobile with my roommate (and my best friend), we get along pretty well when we aren't fighting like sisters! I have one dog a miniature dachshund puppy named Bentley and two "adopted" lab babies Bosley and Baylee that belong to the roomie. I love animals and hope to eventually have enough spare Saturday mornings to start volunteering. Altogether, I love my life, the people in it, and the little mishaps that "spice it up".

Time Management: Randy Pausch

Mr. Pausch is such an intriguing man, even before this video was assigned I had watched many of his lectures. I had a teacher in high school who found everything about him interesting, and he actually made me start to have an interest in being an educator. His determination to continue to make a difference throughout his struggle with pancreatic cancer was so inspiring! I learned that instead of doing 10 small things on my to-do list that are pleasant but not necessarily mandatory I need to instead focus on accomplishing the important goals regardless of their level of enjoyment.