Friday, April 17, 2009

Teacher-Based Teacher Webpages

In the article, "Teacher-Based Teacher Webpages," Steven Moskowitz explains how at his school, all of the teachers took a survey based on technology. The survey asked various questions such as how they felt about technology, how proficient they were with technology, whether they were inclined in learning to use technology, etc.
In effect, he learned that many teachers from his school showed an interest in learning more about technology. Furthermore, their school discovered that the computers were being under used because of a lack of technological skills from the teachers. In order to address this problem, their school decided to start a year program that would teach them how to use technology. The idea behind this program, was to make the teachers feel more comfortable with the idea of using technology in their classrooms. After training, the school created their own website which enabled teachers to assign homework online, post test results, send out newsletters to the parents, etc.
I feel that this is a wonderful idea because many teachers from older generations haven't been exposed to technology very much. When new teachers come join the school, they are usually equipped with more technological skills and are able to incorporate more into their classrooms. By training all of the teachers to know how to use and feel comfortable with computers, their school is doing everything possible to give their students the best education.

1. Will training older teachers about technology become a requirement for all teachers in the future? I don't think that this will become a requirement because teachers who have already finished school, shouldn't be forced to go back to school to keep their job.

2. Will all schools in the future incorporate technology in their classrooms? Yes, because teaching new teachers about technology is already a requirement.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another View on Mentoring

In the article, "Another View on Mentoring," Anissa Lokey-Vega and Laurie Brantley-Dias discuss an experiment that they tried in one of their classrooms. The two women were colleagues and decided that it would be beneficial for them to help give constructive advice to each other.
Vega decided to put a video tape in her classroom to record herself teaching a lesson. Afterwards, her and her partner went over the video tape together in order to learn how to improve the lesson. At first, Vega said that it was difficult to watch herself on the video and kept overly criticizing herself. However, with the help of her partner Dias, Vega was able to overcome self criticizing and was able to use the video tape as a useful tool in the classroom.
Vega and Dias learned that by going over the tapes, they could analyze the entire lesson and find areas that needed further clarification. By filming the lessons, Vega was able to learn each time from her mistakes and was able to become a stronger teacher. Later on, Vega felt so comfortable with her tapes that she even felt inclined to show her administrator.
I feel that creating these video tapes of her lessons was a truly inspiring idea. Once a person is able to get past the idea that they are watching themselves on film and wanting to overly criticize themselves, it becomes an extremely useful tool. I would love to incorporate this technique into my classroom one day because I feel that it allows a person to be the best teacher possible.

1. Would you have to get concent from the students' parents prior to filming them in class? Yes, the parents should be informed and asked permission prior to filming.

2. Would it be a good idea to film every lesson? No, because there wouldn't be enough time to film every lesson and go over every tape.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lessons from Costa Rica

In the article, "Lessons from Costa Rica," Arlene Borthwick and Irina Lobo share about their experience in Costa Rica. Rather than travel there for vacation or sight seeing, the authors traveled to explore the teaching infrastructure in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is very advanced in technology despite it's vast rural living environment. The education systems are thriving and are based upon incorporating high end technology into their classrooms.
The authors went to observe several schools in Costa Rica and were able to witness students excelling in their computer based programs. Specifically, CREATE Together was a wonderful multimedia program that was being used throughout many Costa Rican schools. The authors witnessed that the computer lab fostered a learning environment where both cognitive and social learning were taking place. Students were interacting amongst each other and were engaged in high levels of thinking.
I feel that Costa Rica is an excellent example of how incorporating technology into the classroom is very beneficial. The students are learning efficiently and show that they are genuinely interested in learning. Technology opens new doors for students and allows them to interact with more resources. Having technology in the classroom enables students to explore different ideas and concepts that they wouldn't necessarily be able to research in depth otherwise.

1. How long has technology in Costa Rica been very prominent? The surge of technology began around 1988 with FOD.

2. Will the U.S. be able to incorporate as much technology into their classrooms as Costa Rica? Yes, I feel that the U.S. is heading in that direction and will soon have much more technology.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Longer a Year Behind

In the article, "No Longer a Year Behind," Valerie Stokes discusses how beneficial it is if schools adopt the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) program. This program allows schools to test their students as many as four times a year in different areas. Rather than consisting of a written test that the students have to fill out, this test is a computer generated test. Students who take the test are asked questions that are at a lower level. Then, as the student answers questions, the computer generates questions that are easier or harder, depending on their level. This allows the results to record the true level of the student based on their abilities.
The teachers are then able to use the results to determine where the student needs more attention and aid. The computer results can precisely determine what areas the student is behind and where the student is excelling. Furthermore, the school can use this data by looking at the accumulation of all the test results to discover what weaknesses and strengths the school has as a team. The testing results will determine what areas the school needs to pull more resources in to better meet the standards.

1. How many schools use the MAP program? I would assume that only a few schools use this program, but I feel that its usage will increase over time.

2. How effectively does the computer generate the appropriate test for each student? The computer generates fairly accurate results. It has the ability to narrow down a student's level more accurately than a written test.
I feel that this is an excellent program because it closely monitors students and what they have learned. It is an ongoing assessment that serves as a tool to better enhance the learning experience for the children and the school has a whole.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Scaffolding for Struggling Students

In "Scaffolding for Struggling Students, " Sara Kajder and Glen Bull discuss how students are becoming less inclined on reading. With the way that most classrooms are becoming geared towards testing, reading has become a chore rather than an enjoyable activity. By making reading a tedious and boring experience, students are being turned away from the notion that it can be a pleasant experience.
The authors discuss how after graduation, most students will never pick up a book again. This is a very depressing thought because even though a person's formal education has ended, a person's education should never cease. By continuing reading throughout one's life, a person is able to grow and learn continuously.
Poetry slams were more popular in previous decades and brought social groups together to share their writing and thoughts. This was a wonderful idea because it allowed people to discover their inner creativity and associate pleasure with reading. Without having an outlet such as poetry gatherings, people may never experience reading in a different light. If one is to judge reading based off of just what they know from school, they may very well never want to pick up a book after graduation.
Nowadays, a new reading phenomenon has risen in the form of blogging. Blogging allows people to write about anything and everything that they find interesting and worthy to share with others. Technology has opened up a new outlet for people to come together by reading and writing about common interests. By encouraging students to become active bloggers, you are encouraging them to find joy in reading!

1. Will teachers assign blogging as homework in the future? I feel that high school teachers may assign blogging as homework in the future.

2. Will blogging sites encourage students to read more? Yes, because as they write their own blogs, they will be curious to read other blogs.

Friday, February 27, 2009

See Jane Read...See Johnny Write

In the article, "See Jane Read...See Johnny Write," Lynn Howell demonstrates an excellent activity for both high school students and younger grades. Ms. Howell had her high school students create children's stories by partnering up with a younger student. She arranged her classroom to correspond with her sister's second grade classroom.
Ms. Howell begins explaining how she used to do this project before the use of computers and technology. She would have her students write letters to the other younger students who lived in a different state. The high school students would ask personal information about their partners in second grade and then would use that information to create a book about them. In the end, the high school student would send their book to the second grader to keep.
After awhile, Ms. Howell decided to incorporate technology into the assignment. Rather than send letters back and forth to each other which took a long time, the students corresponded via e-mail. Furthermore, rather than hand write the book and personally create illustrations to go along with the story, Ms. Howell had her students use powerpoint to create their stories. In result, they were able to send copies of their finished stories to the second graders while still being able to hold onto a copy for themselves. Ms. Howell discovered that through the means of technology, she was able to enhance her assignment.

1. How long does this assignment take? This assignment should take about three weeks due to technology.

2. Would the second graders ever be able to participate more? Yes, if the teachers allowed the second graders to send their own drawings to be part of the book.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Self Quiz

Browsing Basics: Grades 6-8
NETS Standards:
  • Browsing Basics
    • K-12[5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12[5.a.] advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
    • K-12[6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b.] select and use applications effectively and productively
    • 6-8[7] Select and use the appropriate tools and digital resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and to solve problems.
  • URLs
    • K-12[1] Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
      • K-12[1.a.] apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    • K-12[2] Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
      • K-12[2.a.] Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments media.
    • K-12[6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b] select and use applications effectively and productively.
    • 6-8[7] Select and use the appropriate tools and digital resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and to solve problems.
  • Web Searches
    • K-12[3] Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
      • K-12[3.b] locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
      • K-12[3.c] evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness from a variety of sources and media.
    • K-12[4] Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
      • K-12[4.c.] collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
    • K-12[5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12[5.a.] advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • K-12[6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.]understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b.] select and use applications effectively and productively.
  • Validity and Sourcing
    • K-12[1]Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
      • K-12[1.a.] apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    • K-12[2] Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
      • K-12[2.a.] interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
      • K-12[2.b.]communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
    • K-12[5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12[5.a.]advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
      • K-12[5.b.] exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
    • K-12[6]Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b.] select and use applications effectively and productively.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lewis and Clark

In the article, "Lewis and Clark," Gail Lovely discusses the importance of teaching about the voyage of Lewis and Clark to all grade levels. Lovely points out that there are many other significant figures in our history who discovered different parts of America before Lewis and Clark. However, studying these two men is very important because they were the people who wrote extensive journals about their journey. Through the study of their journals and documentations of America, we learned a lot about our country.
Lovely suggests that grades K-2 need to concentrate on broad ideas because they are at a early level of learning. A good idea would be to focus on teaching the students about the different components of a community. It is important to relay the idea that there are many roles in society and that when put together, create a community that is fully functional. Another idea for this grade level is to focus on Seaman who was the dog that accompanied them on their journey.
For grades 3-6, it is important to engage in deeper activities by opening up discussions for the students. By engaging in debates about the journey, the students will learn about the different hardships that Lewis and Clark experienced. Students at this age are also able to explore different readings about the journey to better understand the time period and culture of the people.
For grades 7-12, students are able to conduct research on their own and form insights on the expedition. Later, they can write reports based on their findings and present their work to their peers. By collaborating together as a class, the students will gain new insights on the different perspectives pertaining the voyage and time period.

1. What age is it appropriate to ask students to write about Lewis and Clark? 3rd grade is an appropriate grade to ask the students to write their own journal entries.

2. How long should a teacher spend time teaching about Lewis and Clark? A teacher should spend about three weeks teaching the students about Lewis and Clark.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

GarrenAdam's News

Alexandra Garren & Christopher Adams

Teaching History In Elementary School

    I have always been fascinated with history because the subject matter never changes; but is rather built upon by new events.  Having a concise and clear knowledge of our past allows us to make better choices in the present.  By examining our past, we can learn from our mistakes and improve on how we interact with other people and our environment.  If children are taught the value of learning from our past, they will be more consciously aware that the choices that they make from day to day have the power of affecting the world.  Understanding this concept at an early age is crucial because it will encourage global cooperation and the conservation of our natural resources. There is much to gain by being aware of what has happened in the past.  Hence I firmly believe that children should begin learning about our history from an early age. 

    History can be incorporated into any grade level curriculum.  The depth of the material that is taught merely changes as the students get older and are able to assimilate more information.  By introducing history in Kindergarten, teachers will be able to build upon that knowledge every year.  It is beneficial to view the California Content Standards because the standards for each grade are articulated.  This website provides the content that should be incorporated into each grade level as well as offers ideas for teaching history with affective approaches.  For example, a great way to teach history, especially for younger grades, is to conduct classroom plays.  In this teaching method, the students are all actively involved and allows them to incorporate their own creativity.  Furthermore, other artistic techniques may be used such as having the children write and illustrate historical events and then creating a classroom book with the  collaboration of the students' work.  For more ideas, visit Creative History Lesson Plans.
Written by, Aexandra Garren


    I have always been drawn to the idea of teaching because I have always been fond of school and the learning process.  I feel that even as adults, we have the full potential to keep learning and grow as individuals.  Furthermore, as educators I believe we are going to learn as much from our students as they are going to learn from us.  My mother is a kindergarten teacher and for years I have been able to witness how much she has learned from her students.  Even though she has been teaching the same subject for nearly 10 years now, she still learns more with each new class. 

    My personal teaching philosophy is to prepare my students to be model citizens for our community.  I want to give them the skills to question facts and come up with their own conclusions.  I would like to provide a base of knowledge for my students and teach them how to apply what they know to solve  problems in their everyday lives.  Furthermore, my biggest concern with teaching is to have my students really grasp concepts, rather than just memorize procedures.  In order to really learn, students need to know the broad spectrum of how something works.

    Additionally, I firmly believe in teaching students to think independently and to understand that their actions affect more than just themselves.  Ideally, I would like to set up my classroom  as a miniature model of a full scale community.  By incorporating this setting into my classroom, my students will be able to learn to work together as a team and learn how everyone has individual skills that when applied, can benefit the whole.  As teachers, we help shape the people who will become our future generations. Therefore, teachers are given an extraordinary opportunity to practice positive ideals and values,  which may directly reflect in our society.

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Learning through the Arts K-12

     My main subject of interest is in teaching through the arts. I would like to teach at an elementary level using art to get students thinking creatively in all subject areas. I am also open to teaching Middle School and High School as an art teacher that incorporates high school curriculum into the art lessons. By viewing the California Content Standards you can see how teaching through the arts meets the curriculum that students need to learn. Teaching through the arts has always been around but lately the arts has been pushed into the extra curriculum content and is still viewed as beneficial but not mandatory. Not all students learn in the same manner or at the same pace. When using the arts as a tool for learning, the teacher slows down the learning process so students can think about the subject they are learning and then share their knowledge with the rest of their class through the art's that they produce. When students are in a safe learning environment and they can personally reflect on a production they created by using information from the subject area and share what they know about that subject with their classmates, they will have a firm grasp of the information and remember it. Art gets you thinking creatively and this world needs more creative thinkers. Art also lets you view the world in a different eye and see beyond what is actually there.

Incorporating the arts into your classroom can be done in many ways, its not all just drawing an painting. Teachers can use dance, music, sculpture, drawing, drama and other personal performance driven activity's. Some examples of these activity's being used in lessons can be found at Teaching Core Curriculum Content Through the Arts. There is also a great program, Learning Through The Arts, who make it there business to promote learning through the arts. They have a vast amount of information to help teachers wishing to incorporate the arts into their curriculum including free lesson plans to get you started. The best lessons are the ones you create yourself, knowing your students ability and interests your lessons can be more personal and creative and help the learning process. It is always a great idea to use art's from your community. There are some fantastic artists out there that can guide you through a medium and help you create a wonderful learning activity.

Written by Christopher Adams


    My name is
Christopher Adams. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and I moved
to the United States when I was eleven. I am an artist and I like to
create sculptures and drawings at home and I try to take at least one
studio type art class each semester.I have worked for the Poway Unified School District as an Extended
Student Services Assistant for over four years. This job involved me
working one-on-one, and in group environments, with students after
school. I was in charge of thirty to fifteen students depending on the
time of the day. I worked on-site at Adobe Buffs Elementary School. A
typical day involved helping the students complete their homework, and
have the students involved with educational activity's throughout the
day. I have created, planed, and implemented many educational arts,
sports, and games for my groups. I have also presented some of these
projects that I have created to the rest of PUSD ESS program at their
annual district wide meeting. The grade range I worked with was
Kindergarten through fifth grade, the grade I was primary responsible
for was forth and fifth grade. Additionally I have over twenty hours
certified participating in the Tutor Connection program, a Community
Service Learning Project. I tutored an "At Risk" youth in Foster Youth
Services. I have also put on a professional puppet show at CSUSM for
first graders. I also have given an in class presentation on teaching
through the arts for a classroom at CSUSM showing many of the
activity's I have used with my students.

    I am going into teaching because I enjoy working with
children, I also enjoy creating educational art activity's for them.
One of the earliest forms of communication was cave paintings and early
humans used those paintings to tell story's to their decedents. I feel
that even in this modern world we need to keep the arts as a crucial
part of our teaching method. Creativity and imagination are fantastic
tools of the human brain and we need to reinforce there use if we are
to have a brighter future. Teaching through arts gets your students
brains working no mater what type of learner your students are. Art
also get you focused on a subject, you will lose students if they are
constantly lectured. When students personally interact with the subject
mater they hold onto that information easier and remember it.

    You can contact me by e-mail and you can also look at my blog in which I write weekly reviews of educational journal articles that use technology as a teaching tool.

Written by Christopher Adams

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lights! Camera! Science?

In the article, "Lights! Camera! Science?" Donna Ross, Randy Yerrick, and Philip Molebash discuss the benefits of incorporating the use of technology during science lessons. The biggest benefit that technology can offer is a second chance for students to observe their experiments. For example, the authors described a class who were experimenting with making their own bottle rockets. After completion, they were able to shoot them off and observe how high and fast their rockets went. After their initial observations, the students were suppose to make adjustments on their rockets in order to improve the height and speed.
I found this interesting because I remember doing this exact experiment in my seventh grade science class as well. The problem that we found was that we didn't have enough time to observe the height and speed of the rocket after launching it off because of our position and the time limitations. In this article, the authors described how the students in this class, solved the problem by setting up a tri-pod and filming the rockets being launched. After they experimented with them, they were able to take the video tapes inside and view the launching in slow motion. Doing the experiment this way, allowed them to successfully pin point what they needed to do to increase their rockets' height and speed.
The authors continued to explain how different classrooms used videos and laptops to aid them in their scientific experiments. Using technology as a tool in the classroom greatly increases the amount of exploration. Students are able to document their experiments initially and then can later look at their results through their video tapes. This is an excellent way for students to gain the most from their scientific experiments.

1. Is it worth it to use up more time by filming science projects? Yes, because the students are able to gain more from the exercise by filming their experiments.

2. Will students become too dependent on technology to finish their assignments? No, the use of technology will only further enhance their learning capabilities.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Journal Reading and Blogging Assignment-Chatting It Up Online

Chatting It Up Online by Pamela Livingston


         This article is about how now children have the opportunity to speak with the author of the books they read in class online. The author, Pamela Livingston, first discusses how classes find the chat they want to participate in and what they have to do in order to participate. Livingston then goes on to tell how the program was, and the details involved with the chat, such as rules, protocol, and etiquette, such as not using all capital letters (which is considered shouting in online chats). After this, she moved on to talk about her school's participation in the program, the pros and cons they felt, and their overall satisfaction level. After reading this author, I thought, why is it a positive addition to a child's education to allow them to speak with the author of the book they read? I feel that encouraging children to read is one of the best things a teacher can do, and I believe this program would greatly encourage children to read. Also, being able to ask questions to the actual author instead of just a teacher will help children further understand the reading. I also wondered if this program is available and affordable to every school, considering the cost of computers and Internet access can be costly. This program is a great idea, but I think there are many schools that do not have adequate funding in order to participate. I actually saw a commercial yesterday for a new donation program for schools, wherein the public can go to a website and choose specific programs at schools that they wish to donate to. This way people can feel like they are actually making a difference, instead of just feeling like they are paying taxes. Some of our taxes go to schools, but many people do not see immediate results that they would like, so this program allows them to see those results.