Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Kaia holding a stick with a bug on it

Mr. Jabiz Raisdana, father of Kaia, decided to create a blog to document Kaia's life so one day she can look back on these precious memories. One day Mr. Raisdana began reading The Last Child in the Woods, and decided to take Kaia out into the desert of Qatar to explore. Kaia mentions, "My daddy was trying to teach me that sometimes if we look closely at things, even if they are discarded and ugly, they can be beautiful, if we look at them right." This is a wonderful way to teach children about nature, and to further the experience, Kaia and her father took pictures of the things they came across. Kaia also made a photo essay describing the picture she took all by herself.

Shortly after, Mr. Raisdana tweeted about their experience, and before he knew it, people were contacting him all over the world. Mr. Chamberlain's class wanted to skype Kaia and her father, and from that point on, everyone was hearing about 3 year old Kaia. Her father suggested that the students create video comments since Kaia cannot read. This story has become quite famous over the web, and I am so impressed with Kaia's intellect and curiosity. Kaia seems to be full of joy and pleasant to be around. Mr. Raisdana commented that he hopes more and more people will view his and Kaia's blog and that teachers and students grow from this experience. All this worked because Mr. Raisdana and Mr. Chamberlain "were following [their] curiosity. [They] were discovering new things. [They] were learning, beyond classroom walls, because [they] had all decided to take risks and be open with [their] lives.

Mr. Raisdana is a bit apprehensive in the connection his daughter has with the world. Although I am not a parent, I definitely agree that we have to be careful on the internet. I am happy that Mr. Raisdana is sharing Kaia with the world. She is so wonderful, and I am sure she is changing people's life. I know my life and perspective has been changed. I want to continue connecting with people all over the world. I think it is important to connect with different people because we are able to experience different cultures and go beyond our confined life. Mr. Raisdana concludes with "What is the value in this experience? Is the risk of exposing ourselves and our children online worth the connections that will be made and the lessons that will be learned?" I definitely think it is worth it! As a teacher, I want my students to connect with different people and learn new things, especially through the eyes of a 3 year old. I think this is a great way to learn and see the changes that are taking place around us.

Kaia's Photo Essay
Mr. Raisdana's Blog
Mr. Chamberlain'sClass

Comments for Kids

This week I listened to Raven, a 3rd grader in New Zealand. She created a Mihi (Greeting) in the native culture of Maori. In the culture, greeting people is a way to show respect. Although I do not speak Maori, I thought she did an excellent job. I think it is quite amazing that she can speak another language at such a young age. I was quite impressed with her Mihi.

Raven's Mihi in Maori

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Over Spring Break, I traveled to Newberg, OR. The Sunday I was gone, the youth group at my church, Knollwood Church, led worship. I was quite upset that I was going to miss this wonderful experience, until I thought about using Skype. My brother has Skype on his computer, so they hooked the sound into his computer, and I was able to see and hear the worship service. Skype was messing up that day so the video is not the best quality, but I thought it was great that I could be there with my church. To capture the skype session, Dr. Strange introduced me to Screen Flow. Like Screen Capture, the program captures all movement that takes place on the screen. I loved using both programs, and with them I was able to make a video of the worship service. If you would like to listen in, I have included a link to the video. I hope you enjoy.

Knollwood Youth Group

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Morgan Bayda

The University of South Alabama institutionalized

An Open Letter to Educators

Dan Brown's video did an excellent job describing a typical college classroom. His passionate opinions address the problem in many universities today. So many teachers are not wanting to cooperate and accept this CHANGE that is taking place. I think it is ridiculous that I have teachers at the University of South Alabama that cannot simply attach a powerpoint to an email. When teachers are choosing to remain technologically illiterate, we, the students, are suffering. We live off technology, and we have adapted to the use of it. Like Morgan Bayda said, we are being cheated in our education. I think professors are lazy, or should I say arrogant, by simply lecturing the entire class period. When a teacher stands at the front of the classroom the whole time drilling information into my mind, I cannot help but think that the professor believes he/she is higher than me and does not care about my opinions.

I know that I do not learn by merely listening to a monotone professor lecture on a piece of literature for hours upon hours. I want to discuss and interact not only with the professor but with my fellow classmates. I want a teacher who is willing to admit he/she can still learn from a student and wants to include the students in on discussion. I think this is the only way to truly learn and grow. I do like the idea of the PLN because this gives students the chance to learn and share information. I can say that the experience I described above has rarely happened to me, and I am truly grateful. I know that when I become a teacher, I want to DISCUSS with my students and use technology to teach them.

Morgan Bayda's Blog

Comments for Kids

This past week I commented on the 2KM class. They recently had an assembly and some girls performed a dance to a song by The Veronicas. They did an excellent job, and it appeared that everyone greatly enjoyed it. I remember being that age and dancing to the Spice Girls. I love to dance, and I think it is a great way to express oneself. I encouraged the girls to keep dancing and having fun.

2KM's Dance

Weekly Comments

Comments for Teachers

Over the past two weeks, I have been following Mrs. Dorothy Burt who teaches in Manaiakalani. I have learned a great deal from Mrs. Burt's blog, and I definitely will continue to check her blog. She has some great advice for the classroom, and through her blog I was introduced to Aviary. Aviary was recently bought by Google and will soon be available on Google Docs. With Aviary, you can use many programs: image editor, color editor, effects editor, vector editor, image markup, screen capture, and audio editor, and it is all for free! I was extremely excited to hear about this program considering how influential Google is in our class. I have started using Aviary, and I absolutely love it. I will definitely continue using it, and I know this will benefit me as a teacher.

In the second post I read, Mrs. Burt discussed how parents are beginning to engage in the students' writing. I am taking a teaching comp. class this semester. The class helps us with different techniques with teaching writing. Mrs. Burt has her students post their work on the class blog. I think that posting the students' work on the blogs is an excellent way to get the students more motivated. I definitely will use this advice when I become a teacher. The blog is public; therefore, the parents and anyone else has access to the students' writing. Mrs. Burt is helping the parents through email and Facebook by setting up an RSS feed. Their access to the internet is slim, so when they check their accounts, they can see the posts made. I love the fact that the parents are so involved, and they have a desire to connect with the children. I think a parent's approval is an important aspect for all children to succeed. The things Mrs. Burt is doing with her class and the opportunities she is creating makes me extremely excited to become a teacher. I have learned so much, and I am so thankful for her words of wisdom.

Dorothy Burt's Manaiakalani Blog

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



ALEX is Alabama's Learning Exchange, in which teachers can look at different courses of study, lesson plans, podcasts, grow in professional learning, and have a personal workspace. Under lesson plans, teachers can create their own or they view other ideas. There are numerous podcasts that they can listened to, and the ideas are endless. Teachers can expand their knowledge in leadership and evaluation, library media, english language learners, special education, and distance learning. To further enrich professional growth and communication, teachers can view other educators resources, such as ALEX/thinkfinity training, listservs, professional organizations, grant opportunities, professional development, and tips and tricks. The personal workspace is useful for creating and sharing lesson plans and teacher web pages. All of these tools can greatly benefit any teacher.

I think ALEX can definitely improve any classroom and is an excellent way to keep in touch with other teachers and what is taking place in the state of Alabama. I personally love communicating with other people and getting feedback on my ideas. WIth the personal workspace, I can create lesson plans and websites and share them with other teachers. We can collaborate about different ideas and strategies to use in the classroom, and we can help each other with interesting approaches and assignments. I also think the podcasts are great, and I love keeping up with what is taking place in the Educational World. I think the lesson plan tool is extremely beneficial. As a teacher, you can view examples and get great ideas. It also provides organization and structure for a new teacher. I know this website will help me in the future, and not only do I get to share websites and lesson plans, but I also can attend workshops and learn more about different subjects.

ALEX logo


ACCESS is Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide, and it is a distance learning environment that provides classroom courses and teachers via technology. The State of Alabama's vision is to provide equal access to high quality instruction to improve student achievement through distance learning. ACCESS is available to all high school students living in Alabama. Similar to a typical high school, ACCESS offers three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. The components of ACCESS is to blend web-based and interactive videoconferencing courses taught by Alabama certified and highly qualified teachers. The goal is to provide access to advanced diploma courses, additional course offerings, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment to all students. It also provides teachers with multimedia and tools to enhance instruction. Some of the technology used includes cameras, monitors and/or projectors, interactive whiteboards, 25 tablet computers, and wireless internet. ACCESS hopes to one day have 45,000 enrollments.

I do agree that ACCESS is creating a great environment for many students. The use of technology is definitely enhancing learning and creating more opportunities for students. As a future English teacher, however, I think that distance learning is beneficial but can also eliminate valuable discussion. I will always prefer the traditional classroom with the incorporation of technology. I think that many students will benefit from distance learning, and it appears to prepare the students quite well for the collegiate level. If my students have this opportunity, I will definitely encourage them to pursue this direction in learning because everyone learns differently. I am quite impressed with the opportunities and goals that ACCESS provides. It is encouraging knowing that the State of Alabama is using technology and offer a new way of learning to high school students. I am excited to see what the future holds, but I will always wish to remain in a classroom engaging in discussion with my students.



Comments for Kids

This week I watched Mr. Tyson's students' science videos. I watched a video on Halogens, and I thought it was quite informative. They did a fantastic job creating the video, and I thought the sock puppets they used were a creative idea. I greatly enjoyed it. I think it is great that the students are learning and then teaching what they have learned through videos. I love how technology is changing the classroom.

To view more videos

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Randy Pausch

A picture of Randy Pausch and his familyRandy Pausch's The Last Lecture

Well, I am going to be completely honest. I rarely get choked up when I read or watch something, but I seriously almost started crying at the end of this video. I know we are supposed to be discussing Randy Pausch's teaching methods, but I cannot get over his ending comments. It makes me so sad knowing that he would be my Mom's age, but pancreatic cancer took his life. He appeared to be an extremely intelligent man, who loved his life and family. He truly cared about his students and enabling them to accomplish their dreams. I think Randy Pausch gave excellent advice, and he definitely made a huge impact on society.

His idea of head fake or indirect learning is probably the best idea for teachers. Head fake is when you are teaching something important but trick the students into believing they are learning something else. I remember numerous times when my teachers used this technique, and I know it almost always works. The most prominent example I can recall is the use of games to help the students learn. I also liked Randy Pausch's idea of experience. He said that experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. I think this a great way to view the learning process. We do not always come to a conclusion or succeed in the way we would like. The experience we get, however, is more important because we learn and grow from it. To follow this idea, he said that the "brick walls," or things that hold us back in life, are put in our life for a reason. They show how bad we want something and are willing to fight for it. As teachers, we have to be careful of what we wish for, and we must be conscience of the good and bad ways of informing our students. If we go about things in the right way, we may just be able to have our cake and eat it too.

Randy Pausch also discusses the role of the professor. As a teachers, we should work on enabling our students to reach their childhood dreams. We should never restrict them, so he suggest that we give them whatever rules they want. The most important things to consider are creating a good learning environment, do not limit them, and keep pushing the students towards their dreams. A good learning environment includes freedom to grow and learn. He said that he does not use book learning in his classroom, but instead, he lets the students work in groups, and he takes numerous field trips for extra experiences. He said that feedback is imperative, and Randy Pausch believes that having fun while learning is hard yet to accomplish, but excellent if it happens.

In his concluding thoughts, Randy Pausch said the best encouragement comes from parents, mentors, teachers, and colleagues. He believes that loyalty is a two way street, and that people should believe in themselves, never give up,tell the truth, be earnest, apologize, focus on other people, show gratitude, do not complain, do not bail, work harder, be good at something, find the best in everybody, be prepared, and most importantly, have fun. The biggest thing is that brick walls allow us to show our dedication, and this separates us from people who do not want to achieve their dreams. We should cherish what we learn and use it. As teachers, we should try to achieve our childhood dreams and enable others' dreams. He ends his speech saying that this lecture was a head fake teaching us that we should remember the lessons we have learned, so we will know how to lead our life. The lecture he gave was not for the listeners, but for his children to remember.

To listen to his full Lecture

Comments for Kids

This week I read Jesus' Ode to Bubblegum:

Oh bubblegum, oh bubblegum
You are so chewy and awesome
I love your size and flavor
Especially when you’re in a jaw breaker
Watermelon, sour apple, and cherry
Mint, spearmint, grape, and blueberry
I especially like it when you’re so sour
It makes it so hard, for you, to devour
I don’t have gum, so I go to the store
Which is a waste of time because you’ll end up losing your flavor

I thought this was extremely creative, and I loved the individuality and voice that could be heard through the words. He did a great job rhyming, and I really enjoyed reading his work.

Jesus' Blog