Sunday, November 30, 2014

C4T #4


For my C4T this week, I chose educator Joe Bower's blog, for the love of learning. I was mainly drawn to this blog because of its name. This class has really taught me that it is necessary to love learning to truly be an effective educator. When I looked at Mr. Bower's blog, his last post related to one of the subjects I have often thought might become a problem for me as a high school teacher. His blog this week addressed manipulative children. He says, "Show me a child who manipulates others, and I will show you a child who has grown up being manipulated." Many years ago, he made the decision to stop rewards and punishments as a teaching and parenting tool. He believes that children should not be reinforced in these ways, but the children should learn from their own successes and mistakes. This strategy of his is the best way, he feels, to combat the children trying to manipulate him. When his students or children attempt to bribe or threaten him, he can turn their argument around on them and honestly say,"I don't use rewards and punishments on you, so don't you bribe and threaten me." His whole goal in this is so the children will recognize that it is his job to work with them until they achieve their goals. He is not there to present prizes so they will do what he wants. He will not manipulate his students and children, so they know not to attempt to manipulate him.

C4T#4, comment 1

This post really spoke to me this week. Since I am going to be a high school English teacher,  I have had people ask me how I will get my students to respect me. I honestly was not sure. This makes so much sense! I never thought of rewards and punishments as manipulation, just as reinforcement; however, I can clearly see now that it is. I do not ever want to manipulate my students, and I feel as if this approach will keep a mutual respect between us. This was a wonderful post.


This week's post from Joe focused on ClassDojo, a program used to keep track of children's behavior. Joe gives six reasons to reject using this service.
Class Dojo Characters
  1. ClassDojo gets character education wrong. 
  2. ClassDojo gets motivation wrong. 
  3. The public nature of ClassDojo is inappropriate. 
  4. ClassDojo pits adults and children against each other. 
  5. ClassDojo can only ever be experienced as coercive and manipulative. 
  6. ClassDojo prepares children to be ruled by others. 
All in all, schools should be dojos. They should be places that are well cared for both physically and pedagogically. Apps like this should be left a the door. 

C4T#4, comment 2

This is extremely interesting! I had never heard of this. In EDM310, we have focused a great deal on students using iPads and laptops in the classroom, but we have also discussed using technology ourselves. I'm sure many of my classmates have come across this and may be considering using it one day. I definitely agree with his insights on this. Children should not be motivated to learn based solely on how they will be rewarded.

Blog Post #5 Part B


Silhouette stating never stop learningMy PLN started off as a little unorganized baby at the beginning of this semester. Now it has grown into a slightly more organized child, but altogether I am proud of how it is developing. I know it will continue to flourish into a fully organized adult one day. Like we all continue developing, I know it will never stop either. Before this class began, my PLN was nothing more than a crowded bookmarks bar. I made sure to try to keep it organized, but it never quite worked. Now I have a very nice Symbaloo in which I keep all of my links. My Symbaloo includes links to my blog, the class blog, Edutopia, and my C4T teachers' websites. I also have links to everyday websites such as Pinterest, Twitter, Khan Academy, Teaching Channel, Gmail, Facebook, Skype, Google Drive, and Purdue Owl. Within Twitter, my learning network has also grown. Some of my network has still hidden itself inside of my bookmarks bar, but all in all, it is definitely growing. I have learned a lot from forming my PLN, and I extremely look forward to growing it throughout my career!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14

According to Klein, many things in the education system need changing, including: "giving far more school choices to families, using technology to improve teaching and learning, adopting a knowledge-based curriculum and starting education before a child is 5 years old." However, most of all, Klein feels that professionalizing teaching would be his greatest concern if he could wave a wand and change anything. In order to professionalize teaching, Klein addresses:

Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning owl print
  1. Choosing from the Best
  2. Removing the Seniority Distraction
  3. Radical Change

In regards to choosing from the best, Klein suggests several solutions. The first of these begins with better training for future teachers. Second is a new method for recruiting teachers. Instead of letting anyone be hired, we should be choosing from our top third of college graduates. Lastly, we must change how teachers are rewarded. Teachers vary in their performance, but they are not rewarded by performance. This leads us to the second point. Teachers are typically rewarded by seniority.

In regards to seniority, Klein suggests a very simple solution. He feels that we should ignore this distinction completely. Professionalizing teaching would include no longer awarding merit off of how long a teacher has been employed. Merit would come from the effectiveness of the teacher. This would benefit both teachers and students. According to Albert Shanker, we must professionalize teaching in order to preserve the reputation of our teachers and the education system. Skanker wrote these ideas over thirty years ago! Skanker's solutions include attracting the best students and developing a base of knowledge that will be ruled by a set of peer relationships. He also feels the need for a national examination for teachers that are similar to the entry exams required for lawyers and doctors. His plans would also include an apprenticeship to supervise and evaluate the performance of prospective teachers for one to three years.

In regards to radical change, Shanker goes even further than the previous ideas. In order to protect the profession, teachers should form boards to enforce standards and as a way to remove ineffective or incompetent teachers. Teachers would also be merited and promoted through these specialty exams. There would be fewer teachers; however, they would have true mastery over their subjects. These teachers would be aided by college graduates who are teaching assistants. Lastly, education would no longer require students to be assigned to certain schools, but students would be given a greater choice among public schools.

Radical scrabble tiles
Both Klein and Shanker make wonderful arguments when it comes to issues in education. Although Shanker wrote over thirty years ago, his concerns and ideas are still on the education radar today. We must be able to address these issues! I have not had much exposure to these issues before reading this article. I had heard some of these ides, but I had not researched much into them yet. I still feel fairly new to education, but through reading articles such as this, I feel as if I am becoming a part of the education community. I am gaining insights on the same issues that so many others are trying to face.

As far as I can tell, so far I agree with all of these points made by these two men. As I said, I did not have much exposure before this article, but it has made me realize that I do need to pay attention to these issues. Professionalizing education is an absolute necessity. Teachers are no longer respected as they once were. I personally have been faced with so many people who believe I am crazy for choosing education as my profession. They do not think it is worth it and would not give it a minute of their day. They give the typical excuses of teachers not making enough money, the risk of being in a high school, and not having the patient to deal with students, but none of those things bother me. The students need to learn. We as teachers need to learn. Those who look down upon teaching need to learn! Teaching is every bit worth it, and we need to regain the respect that education deserves.

I believe that each of these three points is a problem that education in general is facing. We should definitely be choosing more carefully! This starts with better training, and better training starts with classes such as this one. Teachers must be in touch with students and how students will learn most effectively. The students deserve better than a second rate teacher. Choosing from the top graduates would be a great advantage to the students. If better training does become much more prominent, then maybe we would not have this need to only choose from the top tier of graduates. If all graduates come out much more in touch with what they should be doing and they can actually do it, then I feel that goal will have been more than covered. All of this should be focused on improving the students. Each student should be successful!

I also agree with removing the seniority distraction. When schools must cut back, the last hired are the first to go, and there are so many effective teachers that could get fired this way! The older teachers get to stay because they have been teaching longer, and the new teachers never even get a chance. This is a detriment to the students. All of these problems are not just teacher related problems, but they are problems that effect the future of children! Some things such as a national evaluation or national test might not go over so well with others and definitely have the potential to be very complicated to implement, but if that is what it takes for education to reestablish itself as a well-respected profession, then so be it.

Lastly, regarding these radical changes, my favorite idea is no longer requiring students to go to assigned public schools but allowing families to choose. I definitely could see problems with this, but it is one of the many subjects that the education system should address. I by no means am a solution guru, but I do recognize all of these as valid ideas that have the possibility to soar into greatness.

Education does need some kind of change, whether it is radical or simple. There are problems, and there are solutions. Many have been rolling around in people's minds for years, while others are quickly appearing. We all must consider them, bring them into our education philosophies, and stand for what we believe in.

Be the change you want to see

C4K Summary for November

October 27 - November 2

life cycle of a frogJordan is a fifth grade student in Ms. Stadler's class in South Africa. He and his classmate's posts were on the life cycle of a frog. Jordan described the laying of frog eggs, their fertilization, their growth and development, and their final development into a frog. This cycle happens again and again. In my comment to Jordan, I told him that I think life cycles are so awesome to learn about! He wrote a very good description of what his class learned. When I was younger, I actually used to spend time down at my family's pond to watch the tadpoles grow. I really don't like frogs now, but I must admit they are surely fascinating creatures. This post was great work.

November 3-9

Example of a Linoleum Cut for Printmaking
Jami is an eighth grade student in Mrs. Myers class at Waverly Shell Rock Middle School Iowa. For their art project this week, her used used linoleum blocks to make prints. Using a carving tool, they carved designs into their blocks. Then, they used small rollers called brayers to put color on their blocks. Lastly, paper was pressed onto the block to pick up the color and reveal the design. Jami's design was a blue peace sign. She really enjoyed doing this project. First, I told Jami who I am and where I go to school. I thought this was an awesome art project. We learned about printmaking in my Art Appreciation class last semester, but we never got to actually make a print. Since then I have wanted to make one. I absolutely love art. This was a great post!

November 17-23

Yazmin C

Helping Hands TreeYazmin in part of Mrs. Mena's fifth grade class in Chula Vista, California. This week, Yazmin's post was about two of philanthropy's iconic figures, Nelson Mandela and Jane Addams. She described the major accomplishments in both of their lives.
I told her that she did a very good job summarizing these two individual's lives. I have learned about Jane Addams many times before, but I have never learned much about Nelson Mandela. She taught me quite a few new things! She is doing great work.

Mason is in Mrs. DeBuhr's seventh grade class at Kingsland Middle School in Kingsland, Minnesota. This week, Mason's blog was about the goals he has set for himself now that his class has finished first quarter and are moving into second quarter. His goals are to raise his Literature and Language grades to A's, go to the bathroom less, and to stop talking in class so much. He says he is going to become a new Mason.

Goals spelled out on a clothespins

I told Mason that I am glad he has gotten through quarter one and have moved into second quarter. Setting goals for himself is a wonderful thing to do, and these are especially great goals! I'm sure his teacher will really appreciate it when he achieves these goals. I can tell he is working hard. He should keep going strong and keep up his good work.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post #13

With the vast amount of resources that can be found through the internet, many students these days fail to cite their sources of information. What is plagiarism? How can you avoid plagiarism? How do you think the concept of plagiarism change in Project Based Learning?

man contemplating plagiarizing

  1. Begin by exploring the website
  2. Read Avoiding PlagiarismIs It Plagiarism Yet?, and Self-Plagiarism: Ethical Shortcut or Moral Scourge?
  3. Watch the video 10 Types of Plagiarism
  4. Summarize what you have found in these websites, paying close attention to quoting, citing, and paraphrasing sources and avoiding plagiarism. Now answer the question: How do you think plagiarism will apply to Project Based Learning?
Answer the question in a post that adheres to the standards found in the ACCRS and in Writing A Quality Blog Post

Example of Blog Post #13:

According the, plagiarism is"
  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward." Ideas are intellectual property; therefore, according to the U.S. government, they can be stolen. Ideas fall under copyright law protection. Even using images, videos, and music without credits to the owners is a form of plagiarism. According to Avoiding Plagiarism, giving credit to a source is necessary for three things: to serve your reader, to respect your sources, and to support your work. The tricky part is that plagiarizing can be a very ambiguous situation, so it is important to know the different form that plagiarism can occur in. According to and 10 Types of Plagiarism, these types are:

list of the ten types of plagiarism

Also according to, "a 'citation' is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
  • information about the author
  • the title of the work
  • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  • the date your copy was published
  • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing"

Citations should be used anytime you present ideas that are not your own. They are also a moral necessity. Not only do you give credit where credit is required, but the originality of your own ideas is also emphasized. There are many citation styles, including Chicago, MLA, and APA. All of the standards for these citation styles can be found online, but it is typically the instructor who will assign the style for the assignment. The key difference between paraphrasing and quoting is the need for quotation marks. Direct quotes require quote marks, whereas paraphrases take the ideas of an original source and mold them into your own words, requiring only a source. 

Man self-plagiarizingAccording to Avoiding Plagiarism, plagiarism is not the only misuse of a source. Sources can be misquoted, used out of context, overused, and relied too heavily upon. This makes plagiarism nonetheless serious. According to Self-Plagiarism: Ethical Shortcut or Moral Scourge?,  one paradoxical form of plagiarism is Self-Plagiarism. When a student uses a paper or assignment for more than one class, it can be considered plagiarism unless the student has permission from both teachers. This is wrong. 

Lastly, according to Is It Plagiarism Yet?, when considering plagiarism, one must consider whether something is "common knowledge." When debating whether your reader might already know something that would be common knowledge, it is always best to be safe. If the idea is questionably not common knowledge, it is always best to cite it!

I believe that plagiarism and PBL will be a very complicated situation. PBL promotes research, using the ideas of others, and turning those ideas into your own. That sounds like it should call for traditional avoidance of plagiarism, but we saw with Mrs. Kathy's videos earlier in the semester that this might be changing. The internet is an obvious source of information. Things are becoming public and common knowledge much more easily than they once did. If people are concerned with self-plagiarism, I know that there will be continued talk of plagiarism and Project Based Learning in the future. 

Project #12B

Delivering a Lesson Via the Smartboard:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Post #12

Assistive Technology for learningWhat assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher?

Educators have the responsibility to ensure that each student has the opportunity to learn to their best ability! So when a student has a learning disability, it will be our responsibility to find the best tools for their learning. These technologies are called assistive technologies. This Slide Presentation presents different types of technologies available to teachers and students. Our group split up the assigned videos, made slides on each, and then did our own research into assistive technologies.

Project #10

Interview Movie:

C4T #3

Five for Fridays Logo

Lana Gerin is a fifth grade teacher living in the South with her husband and her adorable son. She loves the Lord, and she loves her classroom. Her blog is entitled 4 the Love of Teaching. This post was a Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching. In this post, she went through five things she did through the week. The first was an adorable acrostic poem she received from one the students. The girl had taken Mrs. Gerin and used each letter to describe a sweet aspect of Lana's personality. The second experience of her week was a huge book haul. A retiring teacher was having a sale, and she bought 500 books for around twelve cents apiece. She got some awesome books! Third was some more awesome deals she got during the week. She found a straw dispenser to use as a pencil dispenser, and she found an old book scanner. Next, she posted pictures of some artwork she and her son did on a rainy day. He painted handprint acorns, a fall tree, and a rainbow. Lastly during her week, she and her husband toured a school that her son might be attending next year. She and her husband are trusting in the Lord to take them wherever they need to go.

C4T#3, comment 1
Once I told Lana who I am, I began by telling her that this post was extremely refreshing to read. I love reading teachers' blogs that are so enthusiastic about their students and classrooms. Her book find was an awesome score! The artwork by her and her son is also adorable, and it is wonderful to see that she has put her life into the hands of the Lord. Lastly, I told her that I look forward to reading more of her posts.

Lana's next post is also another Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching. Her class had a busy week this week. Her school hosted Red Ribbon Week, and she saw many colorful socks on their "Sock It to Drugs" day. They also had a "Dress Like Your Hero" day, and one girl made her own cape with her Heroes and Sheroes on it. Next, her class completed their STEM project, "Do you think the number of seeds in a pumpkin is related to the size of the pumpkin?" Their pumpkin had 840 seeds! On Halloween, she dressed up with her son as Ninja Turtles and went Trick-or-Treating. Her last picture just shows how tired she is after such a fun, hectic week.

C4T#3, comment 2
Lana was Superwoman this week! I told her that her students do such neat activities. I love the socks, capes, and pumpkin seed project. She seems like a terrific, inspirational teacher! Her students and son are blessed to have her, and she must feel blessed to have them!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blog Post #11

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

In Brian Crosby's Ted Talk, Back to the Future, Brian poses the question, "Why are kids so disconnected?" This video about his classroom and his students learning styles explores this question. The majority of his students are second language learners and students of poverty. When surveyed, nine out of twenty-five of his students knew which city they lived in. Half knew the state in which they live. Three knew the country, and seven knew their address. Brian wants to build passion in his students. His curriculum involves having the students set goals for themselves. They are not able to explore the world as some other children have been able to, so he does not want a narrow ciruclum. He wants his students to be able to build schemes for the world through imagination and creativity, which have been stunted for most of his children. His students have fun while they are leaning! His kids build learning networks with kids from all over the world. We have been learning about this since the beginning of the semester. I am honestly no longer surprised one bit when I see children doing such amazing things with technology, and when I see their passion to learn when they are enjoying it! Everything Brian does in his classroom helps to build up these second language learners. Just doing any type of project helps them build their language skills. You read and write to learn, write to clarify and share, wrtie to tell a story and be creative, get feedback, articulate orally, connect globally, gain global awareness, and have an authentic audience.
back to the future

I honestly had never thought about being placed in a school one day in which I will have second language learners. These students and Brian have shown me a lot when it comes to this topic. I very well may be teaching these types of students one day, but these students are no different from others. As long as I can inspire and engage them to be active learners, project based learning will continue to be an effective method. Those students may take some extra time, but I know that every little step in education will be worth it to my future students' lives. They may not realize it at the time, but I will. Brian says,  "We don't want to teach students how to be taught, but how to learn on their own through their 21st century skills." Lastly, one of Brian's comments really stuck with me. Education is the birthright of every child, and we have to go back to a notion of building schools that honor kids. This says so much about both teaching and learning. We as teachers need to focus on our students. Teaching trends may change, and the world will definitelity change. The world always changing. What doesn't change is the need for each child to receive an education in which they are the sole focus. Each student deserves to receive the attention and care that will provide them will the skills needed to live a successful life. Students need to also recognize that as learners, they at entitled to this type of education.

In the video, Blended Learning Cycle Paul Andersen discussed the power that the blended learning cycle can bring to a classroom. The Blended Learning Cycle combines the "Power of Question" and the "Power of Learning." The Power of Question is about exploration through directed inquiry. Blended Learning is learning using multiple online, mobile, and classroom sources to gain knowledge. The Learning Cycle involves fives E's: Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand, and Evaluate.
Put these three together, and you get the Blended Learning System!

the blended learning cycle
In his science classes, Paul enjoys using the mneumonic device QUIVERS:

Always begin with a good question.

Make inquiries and investigations.

This frees teacher to review with students instead of lecture.

More reading, diagrams, and explaining what is going on!

Meet with small group or individuals to make sure they have an understanding.

S-Summary Quiz
This ensure the kids know what they have done.

Paul says, "I don't think you've learned something until you can explain it to someone else." I have believed this since high school. I was always the tutor of my class, but I honestly didn't mind because when I taught, I learned. This is a wonderful form of both teaching and learning for students, because it is a combination of the two.

Our next video to watch was Making Thinking Visible by Mark Church. This video is a trailer related to Mark's book by the same title. The book is about connecting ideas, extending thinking, and facing puzzles or challenges. It also addresses how thinking changes overtime. When students do a project, the purpose should be so the students will grow. After a project is finished, the students should have some knew knowledge they have gained. This means that the end of a project should not be the end of that learning process! Because thinking changes overtime, we should lead our students back to their projects to see how their thinking has changed about them. I had also never thought about this method. I know personally that my thinking has changed overtime. I look back at some of my projects or papers from high school or previous college semesters, and I see how much better or different they could have been. Going back, I can see how my learning has changed and how much I have gained. I want to be able to give my students a chance to do this.

Sam Pane's Super Digital Citizen addresses how much power the internet gives us. Sam's goal is to educate his students on proper internet behavior. "With great power comes great responsibility" so says Spiderman and Sam. The internet gives us so much power. To harness this power, Sam gets his students to create online superheroes who are super digital citizen. His students then must make a story with their hero in it, combatting some form of digital crime. This exercise gives ownership to the students, making the project and responsibility of handling the internet correctly more meaningful. Students are going to be exposed to so many things online, so they must know the right choices to make. I love this superhero comic book project. It meets English Language Arts and Digital Standards, and as a future English teacher, I have been wondering how I would be able to incorporate projects into my students' learning. I have had some ideas, but this one spoke to me.

This video Project Based Learning by Dean Shareski combines the collaborative work of three teachers in one high school. These teachers worked together to combine their three subjects, History, Engish, and Information Processing, into one classroom. Research shows that integreated studies engage and provide deeper learning, and these teachers have seen this first hand. All PBL can produce road blocks. The biggest, most important part of this combination was time; however, these teachers put in the effort, found the time, and put together and effective, meaningful program in which they can teach more than just curriculum. The deeper, longer, and more feedback this combined class gives allows the students to take more ownership for their work. The teachers and students can both see that they are teaching and learning more than just the curriculum. They are teaching and learning skills that will help to build a furture. I would love to be able to work in this type of classroom setting one day, but the biggest thing I took away from this video is its emphasis on the necessity of time. It seems that most everyone today has no time for anything! Both teaching and learning take time, patience, and dedication.

Our last video was Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program by Trish Reilly Taylor. This entire school works together to form one large, cohesive PBL program incorporating themtaic instruction. The largest part of this school's plan is Student Choice. Since each child has a different way of learning and their own form of self-motivation, student choice allows student to make their own decisions about independent and collaborative learning. Differentiating activities incorporates different intelligences and learning styles while building social skills in each student. Students are able to reflect on not just how they did but also on what they did. This school believes that PBL allows children to find the spark that will make them want to question and learn more about their world. PBL makes the school more cohesive. They know it's not easy, but the quality of the learning is worth it. How true this is. Both learning and teaching may not be easy, and more than likely they won't be easy; however, each and every child deserves the work.

"Learning really is messy."- Brian's Blog