Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekly Comments

Comments for Teachers

Over the past three weeks, I have been following Mrs. Kelly Hines, a fourth grade teacher from North Carolina. Through her skype conversation and her blog, I have learned so much from her. In the first post I read, she discussed taking leadership at school. I have always been involved, and as a teacher, I hope that I can have an influence on important issues that arise. Mrs. Hines' suggestions are extremely helpful, and I plan on sticking my neck out, like she suggests.

In her second post, she willingly admitted that she needed to start fresh in her classroom. After the first semester, she told her class they were officially in fourth grade, no longer grade 3.5. I was extremely impressed with her humble spirit. I have encountered so many teachers who are not willing to humble themselves and admit that they need improvement. I love that she has a desire for her students to do their best. I think it is imperative that the teacher encourages the students, and through the praise, the students no longer have to be pushed, but they want to achieve. I think it is great that she was completely honest with her students. As a future teacher, I hope that I can exemplify the same courage she has.

In the last post I read, she discusses the importance of teachers inspiring and encouraging their students. I agree that there is a need for all teachers to inspire the children. I too hope that I can reach my students and help them realize their full potential. I am extremely excited to be a teacher, and I cannot wait for all the experiences I will encounter. Mrs. Hines talked about how she was self-motivated and did not have a teacher that really touched her life, but her grandmother and students did greatly encourage her. While I have had 2-3 teachers that have inspired me, my grandmother and mother are the two people in my life that have always encouraged to do whatever I want. Through their encouragement, I have grown as a person, and I am able to motivate myself and work towards my dreams.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mrs. Hines' posts, and I have learned so much through her words. Her advice and thoughts have greatly helped me. I agree that it is important to inspire our students and be willing to admit that we do not know everything and we are not always right. I thanked her for being a teacher who truly cares and is willing to share and help others.

To learn more, follow Mrs. Kelly Hines' blog

This is How We Dream

Richard Miller presents a very important issue that has been circulating throughtout the Humanities, and many people have addressed the fact that our world of English is drastically changing. Students are no longer wanting to just read and write, but they have a desire to listen and then produce. While I, to a certain extent, agree with my generation, I believe I still hold the love for reading and writing. It is imperative, however, that as teachers we adjust to the demands of our students, and that is creating a better environment and incorporating new ways of learning into our classroom.

In my Teaching Composition class, we have been discussing this exact idea. Instead of simply writing a research paper, authors Blasingame and Bushman believe students prefer a multi-genre approach to writing. In this approach, students are able to write in a more creative way while still using research as the core of the assignment. I think this is the same idea that Richard Miller has about using technology in writing. Students are adapting to the technology world; however, the teachers are the ones who are extremely apprehensive to change the traditional ways of learning.

I strongly agree with Richard Miller's points on writing with multi-media, although I must include myself in the traditional teaching group. While I love technology and using it to create new projects and research, I still tend to lean towards more traditional ways reading and writing. My desire for my future students is that they care to learn and further their knowledge. I want my students to grow as people as well as writers, and I want them to have confidence and assurance that they can succeed in different areas in life. I hope they want to go beyond the set expectations and think outside of the simple-minded ideas we are taught. My goal as an English teacher is to introduce new material and ideas, and to teach them the importance of learning and how to apply their knowledge to life outside of school. While I still want my students to love reading and writing through discussion and analysis, I realize that the majority of my students will prefer using technology; therefore, I must try to figure out ways to include both, so they can have a love for both types of learning.

"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice" -- Anton Chekhov

The Networked Student

I think that networking is quite beneficial for students to enhance their learning experience. Networking allows students to experience knowledge far beyond the biased viewpoint of a textbook. By students networking, they are able to read numerous amounts of information, watch videos, and see how other students are reacting the same subject. I definitely think that networking creates a great learning environment that can truly assist students in higher learning.

The question: "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" definitely makes me wonder if it will come to this. The video stated that the teacher helps the student with researching and assists when needed. I understand that it is important to help the students use the web and grow as a student; however, I want to do more than help with a PLN. I think as an English teacher, my job should be to instruct students about the English language and introduce them to various works of Literature. I will have gone to college for four years and learned a great deal about English, and I think my purpose is to share this information and the great works of literature.

I definitely think I could use this approach in my class; however, I would only use it to make the students learn more about what I am teaching. It will give them a better opportunity to find out more and use their creativity to better understand authors and the importance of preserving literature. I think a PLN can benefit the students when it comes to a research project. Instead of being stuck in a library, the students can surf the web and find people to converse with and very important information pertaining to their topic. Overall, I like the idea of a PLN but I still want to be the teacher and instruct my students.

This a graph displaying a Personal Learning Network

Michael Wesch

I thought Michael Wesch's video on the Evolution of Whatever was quite interesting, and defintely reflected the nature of people in the 21st century. I, myself, would not necessarily put myself in the grouping of people who feel the need to expose their personal lives all over the web; however, I can definitely understand the want to feel accepted. I do have a Facebook, but I don't put a lot of personal information on there. His comments on the new generation wanting to be individuals and known is so accurately true. I honestly think some people go way beyond just wanting fame, and I don't understand their reasoning. I think it is important to know that students react in this way, because it will allow me to better understand them and teach them and respond to them in the best way possible.

Comments for Kids

This week, I read Jenna's blog from Mrs. Kolbert's class. She discussed why she should be a representative for her class. Jenna made some great points, and I gave her some advice for being a representative. I told her to always keep her promise, otherwise, her fellow students will probably not re-elect her. She sounded like she would love this opportunity, so I hope she wins!!!

Jenna's Blog

My Personal Learning Network

As I began creating my PLN, I decided to follow English teachers, since that is what I aspire to be. I have used Twitter to follow teachers and writers, and I have also read articles from English Journal. I want to learn more about teaching English and productive ways to present literature and writing to students whom might not have a desire to learn. By following writers, I hope to find interesting ways to teach writing and allow my students to be more creative with it. I think I will be able to find a great amount of information in all these topics.

One of the main people I have been following is Jim Burke, an English professor and author. He has great information on his blog, The English Teacher's Companion. He discusses ways to include your students in discussion, ways to improve teaching, and talks about different novels. I really enjoy reading his posts, and I think I can learn a lot from him.

I hope to continue finding more teachers and authors that can assist me in coming up with interesting approaches for teaching reading and writing. I also want to learn more about incorporating technology with literature. Like I have said, I love discussion based classes, but I also think it will be great to include technology through discussion. I also want to find teachers who are teaching English over seas. I am excited to learn more and grow through my PLN, and I am interested in finding more information concerning English and Technology.

A video posted by Jim Burke

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dr. Alice Christie

On Dr. Christie's website, there are many useful components that can definitely help teachers in the classroom. The section I browsed through was her publications. Dr. Christie discusses many interesting topics throughout her different articles. One article that presented an on-going struggle in the classroom was Recognizing (Almost) Invisible Gender Bias in Teacher-Student Interactions. Dr. Christie discusses how she interacts differently with boys and girls. I also learned about gender stereotypes in my EDF class. Many times, teachers will handle different situations depending on if it concerns a boy or a girl. It is easy to spend more time with boys and explain the process of how something works. Teachers will then compliment on their understanding. On the other hand, teachers will simply tell the girls how to do the assignment and compliment on their willingness to cooperate and join in on discussion. It is extremely easy to assign certain tasks and behaviors depending on the gender. This article presented interesting facts and ways to avoid the gender bias.

Language Arts Comes Alive as Middle School Learners Become Information Producers is an interesting approach to incorporating language arts into the classroom. In this article, Dr. Christie discusses the use of technology in the classroom and how it can help students with learning language arts. Her class made multimedia newspapers that were broadcast throughout the school. This technique introduces a different source of communication, and the students become information producers. I think this would be a great thing to incorporate into my curriculum because it gives the students a new way of communicating and constructing language. It still teachers the importance of writing but without the pen and paper. I love this idea, and I believe it can definitely work in an English class.

You can view more articles on Dr. Christie's Website

iTunes University

I have never thought about using iTunes for education, but it is amazing everything that can be found on iTunes U. I think iTunes University can be extremely helpful in the classroom. Teachers can post lectures, power points, videos, and so much more on iTunes for their students. Students get instant access to all the teacher's information and be able to do research to better prepare for class. Teachers can save so much time by using iTunes, and they can introduce their students to information from all over the world. iTunes U definitely makes it easier to find great information to use in the classroom.

iTunes University can be extremely helpful for both the teacher and the student. Teachers can view other universities, and they can share ideas. It makes it so much easier for teachers to share their assignments and findings with their students. Students no longer have to spend hours of research all over the web, but instead, can simply view tons of great stuff on iTunes. It appears to be much more convenient and easy to use. iTunes U can be used for practically anything, and it is great to incorporate into the classroom. Students can "learn anything, anytime, anywhere."

Find out more at iTunes U

iPods in the Classroom

iPods in the Classroom

For a couple of years now, Duke University has been distributing iPods to their students. The students use the iPods in the classroom, in which they can record lectures and have access to classroom content, such as historical speeches and foreign languages. The students can also use the iPods for field experiences, and they can record interviews and notes. By using the iPod, the students always have access to class notes and other necessary information. They also have access to iTunes University. There are some problems associated with the use of the iPod, but overall, it has greatly improved the classroom experience.

I think that distributing free iPods is a great idea, and I know I would greatly benefit from something similar to this. It would be so convenient to be able to record everything and have instant access to needed materials in and outside the classroom. The problem I face is that so many of my teachers at South do not allow the students to use any type of technology during class. We are forced to hand-write our notes, and print tons of articles and papers. While I do like using textbooks over e-books, I am much faster at typing and it is simply easier to use a computer. I wish South would consider this; however, I am almost positive they would say the intuition would have to be raised. Obviously, the incorporation of technology in the classroom has greatly benefited the faculty and the students.

To read the full article visit Duke University

Comments for Kids

This past week, I commented on Isabella's Senna and Sharko's Scary Adventure. I really enjoyed her story, and I thought it was great how her classmates were able to give constructive criticism about her piece. They all said what they liked about it, and they also gave suggestions on what could be changed. I really enjoyed viewing the Endless Ocean blog, and I thought all the students were extremely creative. I loved seeing the students' work and their improvement.

Isabella's Story

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Wikipedia Globe

Wikipedia, based on the information I have viewed, does not appear to be reliable. While it can be helpful, it is proven that anybody can change the information, and the majority of people are not truthful. I honestly understand why people change the information if it makes them look bad; however, the use of Wikipedia should not be used for formal researching. All of my teachers have always told me it is not an acceptable source, and now, I completely understand why. I must admit that I have used Wikipedia numerous times in the past, but never for a school assignment. I like to randomly research different topics, and Wikipedia is always the first option. I do look at other sources, and I will definitely not trust articles that are controversial or about a corporation or person still living. I do not want to completely discredit Wikipedia because some parts are accurate, but we just have to be cautious to the fact that there are frauds editing the articles.

At the Teacher's Desk

I found Mr. McClung's blog about his first year of teaching quite interesting and helpful. I think his decision to stay positive is a key to being a teacher. My sister is an English teacher, and she tells me crazy stories about her students all the time, and from her reflections, I know that times can be extremely rough. I found all of Mr. McClung's ideas to be completely accurate about how teachers respond to the classroom. The biggest thing I agree with is the importance of communication. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. I hate it when there is a lack of communication in any area of life. Without good communication, everything seems to fall apart.

As a teacher, I want to be flexible and student centered. Sometimes, I do think I have too high of expectations that I want for my students, but I think it is better to want your students to do extremely well rather than have hardly any faith in them and allow them to stay comfortable in who they are and their ability to work. I believe it is extremely important to always listen to our students, otherwise, we will never fully understand their desires and needs. As a teacher, I hope to always put my students first, and actually consider what is best for them, not what I want to do. I want my students to have a desire for higher learning and to want to succeed in school and life.

Comments for Kids

This week, I viewed Tylah's work on the Little Voices, Little Scholars blog. She is in Second Grade and in Room 7. I was able to look at Tylah's work from the first grade, and I loved her stories and pictures she drew. I thought the kids were absolutely adorable, and I would love to teach children like Tylah. I think it is great that these young children are already so technologically literate.

Tylah's Blog

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
This is a picture of an iPod replacing a book
I found this video quite interesting, and I enjoyed watching it. I liked how it showed a classroom, and I was able to hear from the teacher, students, and principal. All of the students seemed to really enjoy using podcasts, and I found that podcasts for this class was extremely beneficial. I thought the video was extremely informative and useful. One of the reasons they gave for using podcasts was when students are sick and have to stay home from school, they can still listen to the teacher's lecture. I had actually never thought of this, but I do agree that podcasts can definitely help the students.

My only concern with this is that before we know it, we will not be attending regular schools. I am honestly scared that technology will take the place of our schools and maybe even teachers. So many classes have already switched to online instead of the classroom, and personally, I find myself learning more when I am sitting in a classroom with my professor and other classmates. I think discussion is imperative to higher knowledge, and I definitely prefer discussion based classes. While I know we can skype and use other resources to all communicate, I cannot help but still desire to be in a classroom. My brother is in the nursing program, and the professors have decided to eliminate textbooks. Instead, every student is required to purchase an iPod touch and download the books onto it. While this technique can be useful, my brother and I both agree that we would rather have a big textbook to read and highlight. Sometimes I know I am old fashioned, but I do not think technology can completely benefit every aspect of our world.

Comments for Kids

This first week on Comments for Kids, I viewed Ms. Deyenberg's Class Blog. I had the privilege to read Sam's Grade 5 Blog. He wrote about all different things, but I commented on his week at school. He discussed his Thanksgiving dinner, and his adventures at school. I thought he wrote quite well, and I really enjoyed reading his blogs. He put a lot of enthusiasm into his writing. I love reading all the children's blogs.

Sam's Blog

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Mission in Guatemala