Sunday, October 6, 2013

Project #13 [PBL Plan #1}

Soccer Image from Google
     Our lesson plan is a project in which the students are hired as a shot analyst for an All-Star Soccer team. The students will use Geometry to determine the region in which to maximize their chances of scoring a goal, and to prepare some sketches to show coaches. The students need to convince the coaches that they can maximize their chances by using the ideas from the sketches.                                    This lesson plan will teach the students how to represent geometric figures, such as points, lines, planes, segments, rays, and angles pictorially with proper identification. They will distinguish between undefined and defined terms. They will also validate conclusions by constructing logical arguments using both formal and informal methods with direct and indirect reasoning.
You can read all about our PBL at our Google site.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Project #6 [C4K Summary for September]

     For Project #6, we had to start an assignment called C4K. For those who have never heard of C4K before, it simply stands for comments for kids! Each week, Dr. Strange assigns us a random student's blog to check out. The whole purpose of C4K, in my opinion, is to reach out and see what other teachers and students are doing in their classrooms, how they are using their class blogs to their full potential, and to leave encouraging comments for kids so they will realize that there is a BIG world out there, and that they have a potential audience! When I think back about it, it would have been an awesome experience to receive comments from college students on any of my work that I did when I was a kid. I feel like an opportunity like that would have been an exciting thing for any classroom, just to know that someone much older took the the time to read and appreciate my work! C4K is just another great way to interact with people through blogs, and I think it has the capability of being a great way to introduce children to the power of communication through the internet. It teaches kids that they do have an audience, and hopefully, by taking the time to write out a thoughtful comment on a student's blog, it will help them feel inspired to keep putting effort into their work, and give them a sense of pride in what they do! Every month I'll be posting a summary of the comments I left on my assigned student's blogs so you can get an idea of what C4K is all about.

C4K #1 - "This I Believe" by Liltookrazzii (kimp) a Student from Mrs. Martin's 10th Grade English Class 
Summary of Comment: Hey there,
My name is Savannah, and I'm also a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I'm studying to become a math and music teacher someday, and you can read about some of the projects we're doing in this class at my EDM 310 Class Blog if you're curious! Your essay really hit home with me because I understand how something you're passionate about can change your life, and make an impact as well. Music has always been that thing for me; it helps me forget about all of the bad, makes me happy, and gives me a positive outlet to focus my time on. I also love how I can express myself through it. One thing that I loved about your essay was how descriptive it was. You did an amazing job of expressing yourself and your belief through your writing. I really felt like I was there with you at your first street race, and I could feel the energy of the atmosphere through your writing! I'm glad you've found something that makes you happy, and that you are passionate about. Sharing your love of this sport with others really can help people. It can encourage them to find something that they are passionate about too! Keep up the good work!

C4K #2 - Hatchet by Ricky from Mrs. Metzler's Flight of the Fifths Blog (Guatmala City - 5th Grade)
Summary of Comment: Hello Ricky,
My name is Savannah, and I'm a student in a class called EDM310 all the way from the University of South Alabama. You can check out my class blog here if you'd like! I'm 22 years old, and I'm studying to become a math and music teacher someday. Our class is all about learning new, and exciting ways to use technology in the classroom! My teacher sent me to your blog to check out some of the awesome work that you, and your fellow classmates are doing. Do you enjoy writing blogs for Mrs. Metzler's classroom? Technology is such an awesome thing, and it's pretty neat that we have the opportunity to connect and share our schoolwork through these blogs. I enjoyed reading your summary about the hatchet, and was impressed with how well written it was. You did an excellent job of describing this tool, and all of its uses. I think you are a very great writer! Keep up the good work!

C4K #3 - My Son is Naughty Question by Dante from Mrs. King - 7th & 8th Grade 
Summary of Comment: Hello Dante,
My name is Savannah, and I'm a college student in a class called EDM 310 all the way from the University of South Alabama. I'm studying to become a math and music teacher someday, and the class that I am currently taking is all about learning different ways that technology can be used in the classroom! First of all, I just wanted to say that I'm very impressed with your blog! It's awesome that you take the time to update so regularly, and I love the design of it. The fact that you put in effort with it really shows! It's awesome that we are able to use our class blogs to connect with people from around the world, and update them about what is going on in and outside the classroom. My teacher sent me here to check out some of the awesome work you and your classmates have been doing! I really enjoyed watching some of the recent math problem videos that you are your friends created. Your videos help to truly explain how the problems were worked out, and show that you guys have a great understanding of how to solve them! I bet these videos come in handy when reviewing how to do problems like this, and might help your other classmates understand how to solve these problems better as well! I am so impressed with this idea that I might use it in my own math classroom someday! Keep up the good work, girls!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project #3 [Google Presentation]

Blog Assignment #4

     For this blog assignment, I had to search the Langwitches Blog and other sources for information about podcasts. Before this assignment, all I knew about podcasts is that they are recorded and can be listened to on iPods. I've never listened to that many podcasts though, just a few here and there! I was interested to find out about how people are using them for educational purposes. After reading Judy Scharf's post about podcasts on Curriki, I learned that the technical term "podcast" is just a cross between the words "broadcast" and "iPod". Podcasts can be thought of as "radio style" broadcasts, which happen to be an easy, cost effective way to share information with millions of people through the internet. I was excited to find out about the different ways that teachers are using them in their classrooms.

Podcasting In the Classroom

"Listening-Comprehension Podcasting" from the Langwitches Blog written by Silvia Tolisano:
     After reading about what these second graders are doing, I realize that podcasts can be used for so many different things. Mrs. Tolisano uses podcasts to their full advantage in her classroom. She has been using them with second grade students to help them re-inforce a new language that they are learning. When you really think about it, this makes perfect sense! Mrs. Tolisano explains that it can take over 70 times to internalize a new vocabulary word. Not only that, but it's also important for someone who is learning a new language to hear the word's pronunciation, to hear its context, and to hear the words that proceed and follow so that they can understand the word's true meaning. Mrs. Tolisano has been working with her students to create a script for the story of Purim, which is in the Hebrew language. 
     This project allowed her students to work together, to act out the story, and to focus on the context of the words and what they meant in the story. Her students were also challenged with using correct pronunciation, and how to emphasize the words in a way that would really tell the story in the best way possible. You can check out the class's recording up at the link mentioned above! This is the perfect example of how podcasts can be used as more than just a lesson in technology, but as a way to enhance learning other subjects too. Podcasts seem to be a perfect tool when it comes to learning new vocabulary words or a new language! 

"Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom" by Joe Dale:
     Joe Dale's post breaks down different ways that podcasts can be used to an advantage in the classroom. He mentions that podcasts give teachers a new way to effectively communicate with students outside of the classroom. For instance, if a student had to miss several classes from being sick, podcasts would be the perfect way for them to listen to their lessons at home. Podcasts also come to an advantage inside the classroom too! Podcast projects encourage students to work together, spark creativity, and incorporate technology, which is something that is very relevant to them in this day and age! 
     The video that was linked in Dale's post brings up an interesting point. We are now teaching "Millenials", kids who haven't experienced a life without technology. I remember whenever my family got our first home computer, and when cell phones were just getting popular. These things weren't the norm when I was a child. Nowadays, toddlers are being entertained by ipads and nearly every kid has a cell phone! It's crazy how much technology has become such an important part of our lives over the past decade alone! Joe Dale is incorporating technology into some of his lesson plans as a way to get his students excited about learning! You can see from the kid's reactions at the end of the video that this seems to be working. Joe's blog also gave some helpful links to tutorials on how to make podcasts through both Garage Band and Audacity. I'm sure I'll be checking back on these later if I need any help creating my own podcast!

"Podcasting with First Gradersfrom the Langwitches Blog written by Silvia Tolisano
     For my last article, I decided to read this post from Mrs. Tolisano about how her first graders were eager to create their own podcasts! After her students heard that a second grade class was receiving feedback and comments from all across the world, her first graders were eager to create some type of podcast on their own. Mrs. Tolisano helped them to create an interview for two of the main characters from a book they were currently reading. She created questions and answers, and then took turns recording her students asking and answering them. Since her students knew it would be heard by people all across the world, they took extra care in acting out the roles of the characters and even gave their input in the editing process!
  Mrs. Tolisano explains to us that having an audience matters, even to 6 year olds! Her first graders got so excited to hear their podcast after it was finished, and took pride in the work that they were doing because they knew it was being shared on the internet. This project wasn't just a lesson in technology either. It also helped them better understand the material they were learning, and gave them practice with listening, presenting, storytelling, and comprehension skills.

     After reading through these sources, I gained plenty of information to check out about how to record a podcast on Audacity and Garageband. I've already had experience recording things in Garageband, but hopefully these tutorials will come in handy if I need them! I also had the opportunity to read about many different ways that teachers are using podcasts to their full potential in the classroom. This is something that I will definitely keep in mind for later whenever I teach!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Project #4 [C4T Summary #1]

     For Project #4, I'll be featuring different teachers' blogs & blogposts right here on my EDM 310 class blog. I'll be sharing some of the awesome things that they are doing in their classrooms, and sharing our interaction through comments. This will show how easy it can be to build up a PLN (Personal Learning Network), how valuable it can be to connect with other teachers & their classrooms through class blogs, and how many great ideas you can get from exploring what's out there! I've already found some great suggestions, and this is only week 1! For my first C4T, I'll be featuring Matt Gomez and his space where he talks about his experiences as a K5 teacher. You can check out his blog here.

(MBG) Matt B Gomez: [Flipping in Kindergarten: Connecting Home and School]
     In this post, Matt talks about how he has flipped his K5 classroom, and what a great experience it has been. If you've never heard about "flipping a classroom", you can read more about it here. Instead of flipping his classroom in the typical way, since Matt's students are quite young, he has flipped his classroom for the PARENTS! Matt has created a class blog in which he posts everyday about what is going on in the classroom. He introduces the parents to vocabulary that they are using, and gives them a glimpse into what their child's day is like. To keep it simple, he will post pictures of different activities that they are doing, and write short little snippets to let parents know what is going on. He does this through the Blogger app which makes it fast and easy to keep everyone updated! This comes in handy for parents because they can then talk to their kids about what their day was like, and reinforce any vocabulary they are currently learning at home. Any way of getting the parents involved is a good thing in my book, and Matt seems to be doing an excellent job with this! I'll be sure to remember the concept of "flipping a classroom" for after I graduate! He also gave a few suggestions about some apps that we should check out: skitch, popplet, and educreations.
     For my comment, I introduced myself to Matt, and shared my blog and the EDM310 class blog with him. I let him know a little bit about what this class is all about, and that I'd be featuring some of his posts here in a couple of weeks! I also let him know how much I enjoyed reading about the concept of "flipping a classroom". It's something that I've never heard about before reading his post, and let him know that I'm going to keep it in mind for later down the road someday. I also mentioned how I thought it was awesome that he flipped the classroom for his students' parents since his K5 students are so young!

(MBG) Matt B Gomez: [Our Mission in Kindergarten: Video with Educreations]
     The second post I had the opportunity to check out from Matt's blog is all about the app, Educreations. Matt talks about this app, and how awesome it is for throwing together quick videos to share on his blog. He mentions that the great thing about this app is how easy and convenient it is to share the videos once they are finished! He uses these videos as a way to share what is going on in the classroom with parents and other classrooms. For this blogpost, Matt and his students created a video with their classroom mission statement. This project seems super easy, and Matt explained that he was able to create the video simply by finding random pictures that represented the different aspects of their mission statement, and then recording his students stating the mission over it. You can check the video out over at his blog here! This project is an awesome way for students to get involved in the process of creating their classroom mission statement, and it gives everyone the opportunity to take some time to really think about the statement and what it means. Another great thing about this project is that it could be done with multiple grade levels!
     For my comment, I told Matt how I thought it was awesome that this project gave his students the opportunity to really think about their classroom mission statement and what it means. It was a great way to incorporate technology into a project for younger students. One of my favorite parts of their classroom mission statement was "be brave". I also let Matt know that I've finally finished up this post where I've featured his class blog so that all of the other students in EDM310 will possibly be able to check out all of the great things that he's doing! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

      After reading Paige Ellis' blog post assignment about peer editing, I realize that peer editing is not something I should get cold feet about. I'm always afraid that I might come across in a negative light  without realizing it, or that someone might interpret what I have to say in the wrong way, which is never what I intend at all! By using some of the steps mentioned in the "What is Peer Editing" video and "Peer Edit with Perfection" tutorial, you can easily avoid these issues. I've listed below the three steps mentioned in these articles which can make this process as pain free as possible.
Keep Calm and Stay PositiveThree Steps to Remember:
1. Stay Positive (Make Compliments)
2. Make Suggestions (Be Specific!)
3. Corrections
     One of the easiest ways to go about critiquing your peer's work is to first start out with all of the positives! Find a few elements in their writing that you really enjoyed reading or hit home with. Let them know which particular content stands out to you in a positive way. By starting out your critique with a good attitude, your peers will be more accepting of what you have to say, and this will help them realize that you are not coming from a negative place with your suggestions.
     Next, make suggestions and corrections that could help improve their writing. A few of the things you can focus on are spelling and grammar, word choice and details, organization and structure, and whether or not the content applies to the topic at hand. The important thing to remember is to be specific about what needs to be corrected. However, when doing this, it's also important to keep in mind which things you should suggest publicly or privately. Paige was kind enough to share her email interaction with Dr. Strange about this particular issue when she was confused about how to approach the situation with one of her own classmates. Whether or not to correct someone publicly or privately is a decision we will all have to face as teachers someday, and it's important for us to have experience in deciding which way is the most appropriate for the given situation. The last thing you want to do when trying to help a fellow student or a student of your own is to make them feel embarrassed! This could lead to them feeling closed off, and not wanting to approach you for help in the future. One of the last things to remember from the videos discussed this week is not to be a "Mean Margaret", a "Picky Patty" or even worse a "Whatever William". You can see what I mean by watching Tim Bedley's video below!

   It is our job as future educators to be able to critique our students' work, and give them guidance about how to better their writing capabilities without embarrassing them or hurting their feelings. We have to know how to approach these situations, and what better way to practice than to work with our own peers to help each other improve the quality of our own writing! The more practice you have with giving good peer reviews, the easier and more natural it becomes. The last thing to remember is giving good peer reviews not only involves critiquing other people's work, but also includes becoming a good listener to be able to use other people's suggestions as a way to improve your own writing. It's not a one way street! By being open to what others have to say, it will only help you improve yourself. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Mr. Dancealot:
Overview & Assessment written by Jamie Baxter, Thomas Leytham, and Savannah Rhodes
     Professor Dancealot is a humorous video posted on youtube by Michael Johnson that shows how much can go wrong when a course's goals, assessments, and learning activities aren't aligned. Professor Dancealot, who is in charge of teaching a social dancing class, uses PowerPoints to teach his students how to dance. The students are expected to sit there quietly and take notes without participating. As you can imagine, it'd be pretty hard to learn a dance without any hands on practice or experience! When it's time to take the final exam, everyone is confused and doesn't even know where to begin, even though they tried to prepare with the notes they were given.
     We believe this video shows how important it is to teach students in a way that they feel involved. It’s important to use class time as an opportunity to really learn, and soak in material instead of just sitting there taking notes. That definitely has its place, but if it’s possible I feel like it’s important to come up with ways to make students feel involved. When you let students practice something in a hands on kind of way, they really pick up information and remember it.
Along with that, it’s also important to make sure that all of the class materials line up with what is expected from students in the end. You can't expect someone who has never touched a computer before to be able to write a blog post. They have to have practice and experience doing it. The same can be said about science experiments. It's likely that a student won't be able to learn from a science lab experiment just from having a teacher give them the steps through a PowerPoint. They need to try it themselves, make mistakes, and learn from them. 
    The video showing Professor Dancealot’s class shows what teachers are not suppose to be like. Students learn a lot better, especially in dance class, if they do the moves on their own and practice while the teacher is teaching. 

Edutopia Logo

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts:
Overview & Assessment written by Savannah Rhodes
     Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts is a video post from Edutopia about all of the cool things that Vicki Davis is doing in her classroom. She brings up the point that she thinks every child is capable of learning, but when you only use paper and pencils in the classroom only certain types of learners are going to succeed. Mrs. Davis is able to teach the same curriculum in all of her classes, but customizes the specifics based on her students’ individual interests. Using this method, Mrs. Davis teaches her students how to use new software, how to blog, and how to collaborate with their own classmates as well as other students from around the world. 
     Mrs. Davis allows her students to share their projects and assignments through a website called DigiTeen, which encourages them to communicate and start discussions with other students about the material. One unique thing about Mrs. Davis is that when she introduces a term that her students are unfamiliar with, she expects them to google it and find out! It's important for students to be able to figure out some things for themselves in this day and age, especially when so much technology is right at our fingertips. Not only does she expect this from her students, but they are also responsible for teaching some of the lessons! When a student really understands and grasps a concept, they are allowed to get up in front of the class and teach their fellow classmates what they know. Mrs. Davis believes that this gives them the empowerment that they need to be confident their skills, and to keep striving to be self learners.

Teaching in the 21st Century:

Overview & Assessment written by Jamie Baxter
     There are many things that I think about after watching this Roberts’ video. Where is teaching going to be in the 21st century? What does it mean to teach? The video got me thinking about what the schools are going to be like in just a few years.
     When I was in elementary school, all teachers used to teach were chalkboards. Teachers in the 21st century will be able to use tablets and many different computer programs to aid in teaching their students. Students will be able to find any information at any time through the internet. There will be many different forms of technology in the classroom. Students will be able to communicate with one another through internet at any time of the day, which will make group projects more common. This will bring students together in the classroom, and not only will they learn from the teacher but from the other students as well. 
     Teachers teach their students skills and facts. In elementary school, teachers teach the students more facts then you would in high school. For example, students come to school in kindergarten and do not know what the alphabet is, so the teacher has to teach the students the letters of the alphabet and the sounds. Once they learn those then they use skills to put them together to form words. 
     The Robert’s video made me think about many different aspects of teaching, and also made me realize how different teaching is going to be in just a few years.
Overview & Assessment written by Thomas Leytham 
     The Networked Student is true story based on a student utilizing connectivity to learn. The idea behind this learning comes from the theory of connectivism. The video defines this as, “a theory that presumes that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties, which is made possible through various tools and technology. The tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them.”
     The teacher’s role changes slightly in connectivism. In this class, there is no text book and the teacher rarely lectures. Instead of teaching a subject, the teacher teaches the student how to learn on their own. This is done by teaching how to assess data and insure its’ credibility. The teacher also helps when the student is stuck or needs to be pointed in a different direction.
    This particular student utilizes technologies to make a list of sources, subscribe to audio and video podcasts made by professors from elite colleges, use the internet to find other experts on the topic and asks them for information, and show what he has learned through blog posts. He then shares his organized research and threads with the world so that others may utilize his work.
     There are quite a lot of good things provided by this video. However, I am not sure how I feel about them. The idea of connectivity can be wonderful. It is exciting to see students learning on their own, and having a surplus of knowledge to attain. But I am unsure if this learning should be used for all students. We all learn differently. Sometimes people need exact instruction and lectures. They shouldn’t always have to search for information.
     In my opinion, it can possibly lead to two negative outcomes. One, it makes the students lazy and they don’t actually learn. Instead, they learn to tag sources and go to them whenever the information is required. Or two, the process become monotonous and the students lose intrigue in learning through this method.
     I’m also fairly concerned with the teacher’s credibility. It requires little training in order to promote students learning in this manner. How is the teacher to know whether the student is actually learning correct information if they themselves can’t verify it? And even still, how could it be assured that the student is actually learning the material and not just regurgitating internet posts? And what if the student needs something hands on? Could this kind of teacher provide this to every student? I’m unsure of these lazy qualifications. We cannot allow a teacher to simply monitor, and not necessarily have knowledge. The public school system is already seen as baby sitters. I don’t think this would help much with their image.
    Perhaps the teacher qualifications are overlooked because the students now have professors from elite colleges to “teach” them. I understand that it is fantastic to have the best professors in the world at your fingertips and the most new aged information. But what defines the best professors in the world? Do they have the most knowledge? Or  do they have the most effective results? Could they teach elementary students, middle school students, or high school students? Who is to say that my AP English teacher was lesser than an English professor at Berkeley? And is new aged information better than the basics for all subjects? I can see the benefits to history, psychology, and literature. But would math, the sciences, and the arts be benefitted in the same way? Is that even testable, and has it been tested?
    I see Sugata Mitra’s ideas in connectivism, and though I find those to be exciting revelations, it could backfire if not handled properly. My fear is what would happen if we lost the internet for a week, a month, or a year? If we only teach in this method… we may find ourselves in trouble in the long run. 
    Overall the theory of connectivism has its’ benefits. The students are learning on their own, and can constantly be learning thanks to the internet. I’m excited to utilize these techniques. But I’m unsure whether this is the most effective for all students, all teachers, and all subjects.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

Krissy Venosdale - If I Built a School

     In this post, Krissy Venosdale, tells us what her dream school would be like. She describes in vivid detail what she would do if she was given the opportunity to build the school of her dreams with no monetary limitations. A treehouse in the library, colorful walls filled with art, a science lab with all of the tools needed to conduct experiments year round, and a school bus available to take children on field trips whenever they desire are just a few of the things she mentions! You can check out her post over at her blog, Venspired, to read more about her dream. If schools were like this, children would want to be there. It would spark so much curiosity and creativity!

Sugata Mitra - Build a School In the Cloud

     In this video, Sugata Mitra poses an important question, "have we gotten to a point where knowledge is obsolete?" What I think he means by this is that knowledge itself is out of date. Is it really necessary for us to be able to re-call tons of facts, when we can simply just look them up or perform a 5 second Google search? Is it still impressive that students in this day and age are able to memorize information that teachers give them, and repeat it over and over again on tests and quizzes? Is it a good thing that students are taught to perform well under pressure, just to forget it all, never actually learning anything in the process? Absolutely not.
     Mitra brings up an interesting point that being able to recall a ton of facts, and memorize information isn't important anymore. Mitra teaches us that the type of education system we use today stemmed from one used hundreds of years ago when the British dynasty was still in control of the whole world. In order to maintain that control, they had to be able to communicate effectively across the globe. The way they did this was through letters and written correspondence, which were then sent across the world by ships. This meant that the workers responsible for writing these letters had to be able to spell perfectly, remember the information that needed to be written, and to communicate exactly what needed to be said without any mistakes. These workers were trained so well that if they were up and moved to another part of the world, they would still be able to perform just as well under pressure. Does this sound familiar to you? Memorizing information that needs to be said? Performing well under pressure? The majority of the time students today are only expected to show up to class, memorize what the teacher says, and perform well on tests. That's it! This type of system worked well in the olden days because that's what was needed: workers who were able to memorize information and repeat it. Workers needed to be able to "burp back" information so to speak. However, today that is irrelevant.
     What's important today is that the children of our future know how to learn for themselves, that they find a passion for doing that, and that they are able to work with their peers to be able to find out new information, work together and help each other, and make new discoveries. Our old way of "learning" is definitely is out of date. Mitra encourages us to take a shift from simply learning to do well and make the grade, and to help our students start learning for their own pleasure.
      In some of Mitra's experiments, he leaves computers with children in India to see how much they can learn without a teacher present. In this video, you will see that it is impressive what children can accomplish with a little bit of encouragement!  Mitra introduces the idea of teachers taking a step back from "teaching" and instead being the ones to ask children the important questions, giving them the opportunity to find the answers for themselves. He calls this method "SOLE" or a self organized learning environment. All you need is a broadband connection for children to be able to do their own research, to set them up in an environment that allows collaboration with their peers, and to take a step back and watch! Give them some encouragement that they are CAPABLE of finding the answer for themselves, and then admire what they can do. More than likely, they will blow your mind away with what they are capable of! Mitra dreams of a school where children will go on their own intellectual adventures, and develop a passion for learning for themselves... not sitting in a desk, being taught to memorize information just to forget it all. That's style of "learning" is definitely out of date.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. - Albert Einstein

What I want my students to know?
  • How to work together, even if they prefer to work on their own.
  • How to figure out certain things for themselves. There's nothing wrong with needing a little help if you get stuck... but I don't want lazy students. If they run into a problem with the work they are doing, I want them to try to research it on their own first instead of just waiting on me to give them the answer without any effort on their part. I want my students to challenge themselves to figure things out! 
  • How to plan for their future. How to start dreaming and planning NOW. Although this is unrelated to what I will teach, I'd love for my students to know that it's never too early to start thinking about what you want to do with your life. College sneaks up on you fast, and I found myself in a position where I had never given it much serious thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I had plenty of ideas and dreams, but never researched them enough to know what it would actually be like to go that route in college. I just think it would be nice to share my story with them! A teacher of mine made us do a research paper to find information about a career we were interested in, and conduct an interview with someone who actually does that job. This made us start thinking about what we wanted to do, and get someone's perspective about what it's really like. I'd like to do something similar to this! 
  • How to properly cite things. I am so thankful that my English teachers were strict on us about learning how to cite things correctly in different formats. This came in handy later that's for sure! 
  • That creativity and expressing yourself is WELCOME in my classroom, and that everyone should respect their peers. 
What do I want my students to be able to do?
  • Not just "burp back" information. I want my students to have a good understanding of what they are learning, and how it can actually be applied in everyday life. For example, in my pre-cal class in high school we had to work together in groups to make a bridge only out of popsicle sticks. The bridge had to be constructed in a way that if a brick was placed on it, it would be strong enough not to collapse. This showed us how important math is in the real world, and applies math to an everyday job & use.
  • Remember the math skills that I teach them, and feel confident enough in those skills that they will be able to have good building blocks that they can take with them as they continue their education.
  • Time management skills. 
What will be my primary way for teaching them what I want them to know and be able to do? 
  • Since I am going to be a math teacher, my everyday method for teaching my students what I want them to know will be through lectures and working through problems together as a class,  but I want to use as many tools as I can to step outside of that. I don't want my class to JUST be about that. I want to do other projects, and use tools that will help my students learn to work together, use their creativity, and gain a desire to learn and figure things out for themselves.   
  • Special projects that will help my students think outside the box! 
What tools will you use in your classroom?
  • Class Blog - For h/w assignments, lesson plans, study guides, interesting articles, etc. There are so many things you can do with a class blog! 
  • One tool that I would really like to use in my classroom is this device where you write out notes and problems directly on your laptop screen with a digital pen. It projects everything onto a screen or smartboard, and then you are able to save the class notes as a pdf so your students will be able to review all of the notes that were given in class that day. They can go back and review  them to see any information they might have missed if they were absent, and it also comes in handy in math classes because you can study how the teacher worked through the problems. 
  • Formula songs! - This might sound a bit ridiculous, but I still remember some of the formula songs my 7th grade Algebra teacher taught us. I would like to teach my students these so it will help them remember any formulas or rules they need to remember. We could even record them as an mp3 or make a class video to post on the blog so they can always refer back to them! 
What role will students play in your classroom? How will they be involved in the learning process?
  • Independent learners.
  • Students who can work together, and collaborate with other classmates.
  • They can share their own ideas for projects and activities. Creativity will be encouraged! 
  • They will have the opportunity to share any new discoveries or any interesting articles that are related to math with the class. I will make this some sort of weekly thing so that research is encouraged! 
  • Students can have the opportunity to teach each other. If a student knows the answer to something, I will give them the opportunity to explain it to their peers. Sometimes things are easier understood when you hear it from someone else's perspective. 
  • Anything to make them feel involved. I want my students to feel like it is their classroom. I don't want them to think I expect them to show up to class, listen to what I say and then leave. In my classroom, they are more than that! I want them to feel included in the learning process! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Second Test Post

This is my second test post for my EDM 310 class blog! Hopefully everything works this time.

Practice Blog Post: Who Am I, Why Do I Want to Be an Educator, What Are My Passions?

Hello there,
     My name is Savannah Rhodes, and this will be my blog that I keep for EDM 310. I'm 22 years old, and I've lived in Mobile, Alabama my entire life. I decided to stay home for college so that's how I ended up at South Alabama, and so far I love it! I originally started out studying music to become a music teacher someday, but I just felt the specific music degree that I was going for wasn't the right path for me. I was also worried about being able to find a job once I got out of school because music teaching jobs are hard to come by, especially because music programs are slowly being cut from schools everyday. Because of this, I decided to switch my major to Secondary Education, and follow another interest that I have. Math is something I've always been good at, and it was always one of my favorite classes throughout middle school and high school, so I'm excited to be able to teach it someday.
     Whenever I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life, one of the most important things to me was that I picked a career that would make HAPPY. If I'm going to spend the rest of my life doing something, I really want to enjoy what I'm doing. I've always loved working with kids, and they brighten up my day. Working with kids will also open up the doors for me to share one of my passions: expressing yourself through music and art or whatever else it is that you love! I want to be able to inspire my students to follow their dreams, no matter how big or small, and to go after something they love too.
     As I mentioned before, I'm a musician. I love to sing, play guitar, and play piano. I've been singing since I could talk, playing piano since I was 5, and just started learning how to play guitar a few years ago. I participated in the USA Concert Choir and USA Wind Ensemble for a few semesters, and it is something that I will miss now that I'm not a music major anymore. Hopefully next semester I'll have room in my schedule to sign up for choir again. Dr. Moore is awesome, and if you enjoy singing even a little bit, I highly recommend joining choir! It's such an awesome experience! Some other things I enjoy are spending time with my friends and family, going to the beach, going fishing with my dad, and playing with my sweet puppy!

my pianomy dog

some piano music i am currently working onsailboats at a local dock

     As I take EDM 310, I hope to learn more skills that will help me use technology to better myself as a musician, and also that I can use someday in my classroom. Blogging has always been something that I've enjoyed, so I'm sure I'll continue to use a class blog when I am a teacher, but I am also excited to learn other ways that I can use technology in my classroom as well. I already have ideas about making videos to help kids remember lessons that we learned in class that day, and also making videos to help my piano students too! Hopefully I will learn a lot of valuable information in this class that I can take with me for years.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Test Post Title

This is my first post for my EDM 310 class blog! I made sure to click the HTML button, which is something I should always remember to do in EDM 310. I am now a blogger! :)