Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blogs, Wikis, and Webpages

Web 2.0 by Jeff Hester

So what are blogs, wiki's and webpages? Why are they used and what makes them so neat? In this blog I am going to discuss what they are and possible ways to use them in your classroom.

Blogs: Blogs are very useful when it comes to classroom discussion or an assigned topic where you want to hear what everyone has to say about it.  Blogs would be wonderful for students journals or reflections on certain things they learn in class that day.  I like how other students can comment on what the author had to say, they would be able to think of things in different ways by reading how other students have interrupted something.

Wikis: I think wiki's would be a good resource if students have to work together to draft a paper, or they need to plan something out.  Wiki's allow students to collaborate all on one page so they do not have to worry about not being able to open a file, and they are able to see corrections other students have already made.  Wiki's could also be useful for teacher to other teacher's conversations.  They would be able to bounce ideas off of one another without filling up each others inbox and without actually knowing each other.  You could be in different states or countries and still communicate with one another.

Webpages: Webpages would be great for teacher parent and teacher student communication.  The teacher could post news letters of what they have been learning in class, and even post some samples of students work for the parents to check out.  It could also have important dates to remember with activities scheduled on it as well.  This would be an easy way for parents to look up and find out what is going on in their child's classroom and something most parents would have access to all of the time.

Technology I Have Seen in my 5th Grade Classroom

Smartboard by Kathy Cassidy

    As I have stated before I am currently in a 5th grade classroom in the Lansing school district.  This classroom has four apple computers which the students are able to use, but unfortunately they barely ever get time to use them.  They also have an overhead projector and a newer apple version of a projector.  You put whatever you would like the class to see as a whole under the lens, and then the lens will place this object on the big screen in the front of the classroom for all the students to see.  The teacher I am with does not use much of the technology she has available to her in her classroom.  She is not comfortable with using a computer at all, and she only uses the old overhead projector.  The one where you write on it with markers and then it will place it up for everyone to see.  I went into this schools computer lab and they have bran new mac computers, the students had keyboards hooked up to them when I was in there.  My teacher told me this was part of their music class, however many of the students where not doing what they were supposed to be doing.  They were playing around on the computer and barely did anything with the music program.
   I feel as this is always a challenge.  There is so much you can do on and with technology so as a teacher it is extremely important to be aware of what your students are doing.  We need to ensure they stay motivated and focused when granting them the opportunity to use technology for an assignment.  I loved how this school had so many opportunities for students to be exposed to various types of technology, but I feel as though the teachers do not have the knowledge of how to use the technology.  This causes some students to never get introduced to new technology.  As a future teacher I feel it is extremely important to learn how to use various forms of technology. I want to be able to accommodate as many of my students as possible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clickers in Class

   I hate clickers by shareski.

    We used a form of clickers in class on Tuesday and I had mixed feelings about them.  First of all like an technology it took awhile to get things started.  They were not working so we had to wait and figure out what the problem was, it caused a loss of a lot of time.  This scares me away from things such as these clickers because as a teacher we do not have a lot of time to spare in our classrooms.  I would love to integrate this type of technology into my lesson plans but I would always have to create back up plans in case the technology malfunctioned.  The next problem with these clickers was that there was mass confusion on how to use them properly.  It took another several minutes after we figured out how to work the clickers to actually give our answer to the poll question.  This also worries me because I do not want mass confusion with all of my students. I feel as though we could overcome this problem much easier than the first one however.  After a while my students should figure out how to use the clickers and it should become a bit of a routine.
  Overall I thought the clickers were a great way to allow all of your students to participate in class.  Sometimes students as just to unsure in class to raise their hand and answer a question, but with these clickers no one knows whose answer is whose.  This is a wonderful thing because students are not as scared to be wrong!  This technology could definitely increase some students confidence.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Testing on Comprehension

Boats by J.Salmoral
    For one of my classes I had to develop a lesson plan which focused on comprehension. I came across this really good book called, "The New Way Things Work" by David Macaulay.  It is a really neat book! It gives the readers a ton of information on how things work and the necessary background information they need to understand certain machines.  It talks about different technologies, planes, boats, hot air balloons,gas engine, furnaces, and so on.  Macaulay presents this material in a fun and interesting way.  He has sections on each page to break up the text so the students are not overwhelmed and can comprehend what they just read better.  I also love how he has pictures of the object he is talking about and labels all of the parts with explanations of what they exactly are.  I feel this book would be interesting for both males and females, which is hard to come by at a 5th grade reading level.  It is also an informational book, but one that students would want to read and not dread to read. I think this is a wonderful book an will be a very useful book in my classroom! Check the book out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Cameras!

Breaking the ice with a digital camera by Mike Keran

   I was reading an article on how a teacher has used a digital camera in the classroom to get her students excited about learning. She talked about how she brings her camera to field trips and her and her students take pictures. They also will take pictures of different things they do in the classroom. She then goes on to say how they use these pictures to make books, or teach different sequences to her students.  By making her students use these pictures to compose a book, her students are able to be exposed to the process of book making.  They also will have to use their writing skills in order to compose the book.  I really like this idea because I think it will do wonders for children to acquire and increase their literacy skills.  I feel as though the students will be able to understand books better if they have the knowledge of how books are composed. I also like the fact that she uses picture to show different sequences, this is great for visual learners and ESL students! I never thought that a digital camera could be so useful in the classroom.
  I will definitely bring my camera in the classroom to help my students gain a better understanding of how books actually work! However a down fall of using this type of technology is obtaining the appropriate permission to take pictures of students and their work. This could be the most difficult part of implementing this sort of technology in the classroom.  As teachers we have to be very careful when we borrow the work of our students so no problems arise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Literacy for our future student!

copyright © 2007 sean dreilinger
   rachel reading to nick in the children's library - DSC00165 by sean dreilinger
                 copyright © 2007 sean dreilinger
   I am writing a lesson plan on comprehension for one of my other classes and I need to have them read a part of an informational book and see what they understand. I went to the East Lansing library to find a book to use.  When I first walked in there were a ton of children reading books with parents, or playing on the computers.  I was shocked but pleasantly surprised by this!  I was searching for a informational book a 5th year old boy would like.  I was struggling finding something at a 5th grade level.  I asked one of the librarians and she showed me around the whole children's section.  She was very helpful and there were a ton of books in the library for all ages.  This made me think how great it would be to take my future students on a field trip to the local library. What a good way to get my students interested and excited about reading! What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do They Really Understand?

ESL in Hainan by Surfing The Nations

I was reading an article today from one of the blogs I am following on my google reader.  It talked about how students may act as though they are comprehending and understanding the book they are reading, but are they really?  The article goes on to say how fiction books are very confusing for ESL learners.  They send mixed messages which are hard for ESL learners to understand.  What do you think about this? Do you see how they could be confusing? I know from my Spanish classes, reading novels were always a challenge.  It took me a while to really understand what the message of the book was.  I think it is important to be sensitive to these various aspects. How do you feel?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Literacy Reference Project

bank street booksstore: childrens books by cherrypatter
     As many of you know as a TE student here at MSU you have to do a literacy reference project which is very intense. I have been overwhelmed with it so far and have put over 40hours into it. But as I was working on my genre section I thought how it would be neat to allow my students to create a book using an online story book program and select a genre they would like to write their book in.  I think this would be a fun project for my students to partake in and I also think it would be a wonderful way for me to assess them.  I would be able to tell if my students completely understand that genre because they will have to use the elements of the genre to create their story. What do you think about this?


   This week we were required to create our own wiki.  For the introduction of t his assignment we were to go to wikipedia and see if our high school had page created for it.  When I looked at my high school page it had students full names on it where other students were making fun of them.  I did not like this at all and now I am actually more reluctant to introduce this type of technology.  I do not want to show my students how they are able to write whatever they want on a website, where they do not have to post their name next to it.  I feel this is a problem for so many types of technology now though.
    I am not sure if you have heard about a young girl who was being bullied at school and at home by students writing nasty messages on her facebook page.  The students would create people on facebook so they would not have their true identity revealed on the awful comments they were leaving. The girl ended up committing suicide.  I am cautious of different types of technology because of this. I think that bullying has been taken to the next level and it is getting completely out of control with the help of the internet and various types of technology.
    However I do feel with parental support and teacher supervision technology can be very beneficial for students to use in the classroom.  This wiki I created would allow my students to become sensitive to one another and to learn information about one another.  It is also helpful to show how America has grown to be what it is today! This wiki will allow students to be able to go home and learn about their ancestral background and then fill in their section on the wiki from home with the help of their parents. I also like the use of the wiki because i have ultimate control over what gets to stay on they wiki and what I feel is inappropriate for the wiki. Over all I think this tool could be very effective in my classroom.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Text to Speech!

text-to-speech.jpg by TalkingTree

This week we were assigned to explore a technology we think would be useful in our future classroom.  As I have stated previously I am TESOL minor so I am looking for anything that will be able to help me with ELL (English Language Learners) students. I found something called text to speech.  It is software you can download for free onto computers.  The teacher is able to allow there students to read the text while at the same time listen to the text.  This way the students are able to go at their own pace so you are not holding anyone back or losing students because you are going to fast. There are many different setting the learner can choose from, they can only have the words they are struggling with read to them by highlighting the words they need help with, they could have all of the text read to them, or the teacher can have premeditated words read to all of the students.  The students can choose from a male, female or even foreign voices which will read the text out loud to them.  They also are able to choose how fast the voice will read the words, this way the student is able to hear and comprehend what is being said.  It also allows the student to look at a word and hear exactly how it is pronounced.  The students are also able to take notes while going through this with the voice reading the text to them.
  Teachers are able to download old documents they already have or make new documents for students to access.  They can put up a wide range of material for their students to use such as

  • worksheets
  • tests
  • textbooks
  • supplementary materials
  • books
I found this website which gives teachers ideas on how to integrate this program into lesson plans and step by step instructions on how to use the system.  It is very useful and you might find it will help you save a lot of time if you look it over.
I think this use of technology could be very useful for ELL's because usually everyone is at a different developmental stage in their learning and this would allow the teachers to help accommodate students with the material they need to develop even further.  It will ensure students are not being pushed just because they are ahead of the rest of the class and with this program they will not have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up to them.  however the down fall to this program is that every student would need to have a computer available for their use.  This could present a problem because most classrooms do not have enough computers to accommodate every student in it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ESL Students

My ESL Students by DPerstin    I thought it was really interesting when we had a guest lecturer come into our class a couple of weeks ago. I am a TESOL minor so when he mentioned how to use technology to benefit those student you have that do not speak English my ears perked right up!  He said how it is impossible to accommodate all of our students with clarifying things at times because no one expects us to know 40 different languages.  This intrigued me, I was wondering where he was going to go with this.  Then he said how we should use technology resources to help make things run a little smoother.  At this point I had no idea what he meant by accommodating students by using technology, usually in ESL classrooms there are not enough computers for everyone to use one.  Then he went on to say how google has an application called google translator! I thought this was a great idea! I never thought about using a translator and it would be so fast and it incorporates many different languages! For some reason I can not stop thinking about how simple idea is, but how extremely helpful it would be to my future students! This is definitely knowledge I will always remember and apply in my future classroom!

Science Fiction

make good choices by Evil Erin
    I have never been a huge fan of science fictions books, but recently I had to  read one called, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.  When I started to read the book I did not think I was going to like it at all, I thought it was weird but as I continued to read it, I grew very interested in it!  This book talks about how our world is so obsessed with looking good and how people can act brain washed by this way of thinking.  I thought this was a very powerful and good message to tell young children while they are at the stage in their lives where they are so impressionable. This book stresses how beauty is not everything even though it may feel like that sometimes.  Westerfeld wants his readers to understand that the quality of the person is what counts, not how he or she looks. I thought this was a very interesting to that such a huge and problematic issue was discussed so heavily in a children's chapter book.  It made me think that maybe this is where these issues should be discussed. If we are able to educate our younger population to see a person for who they are and not what they look like we might be able to deal with this problem.  So much pressure is put on our young people to look a certain way or to dress a certain way if they want to be attractive or desirable.  This problem leads to hurt feelings, eating disorders, and a lack of self confidence.  I think it is horrible that we are taking away confidence from our young people when they are just starting to try and build up their self confidence.  I really enjoyed this book and their view on this issue.  I think it is a great book to read in your classroom to ensure that your students are aware of this problem and to see what they have to say about it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tar Heel Reader!

   This week we had to make a story book on line for one of our assignments in my class.  I thought this was a really neat project, because by making it on line children have the opportunity to show it to so many people! I feel as though this will make the quality of the work much better and the students will want to take ownership for the work they have created.  The program I have chose to work with is called Tar Heel Reader.  I chose this program because I was able to upload pictures off of flicker that are free for the public to use, rather than just using the ones I have taken myself.  This program is targeted more for younger students, you can only write up to two short sentences on each page of the book, or they will not fit on the page when you publish it.  It was a very easy program, once you get the password, you are able to register so you can make books and read books others have written. I loved how all you had to do was type in the word of the picture you were looking for, so it even helps force my students to work on their spelling while looking up pictures they wish to use to illustrate their book.  I also really love how my students are able to express themselves freely while still learning the literary elements of making a book. I composed a story about the life cycle of a sunflower, you can check it out here.
It was a simple process but has a lot to offer, students can listen to the story in a child's voice, man's voice, woman's voice, or they can read the book on their own without any auditory. This is a wonderful way for students to be introduced to concepts in print and phonological awareness! Check it out and see what you think!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Story book

 I have been looking over different options on how to make a story book using different internet applications.  I looked into a couple where you had to upload your own pictures.  I did not like this because I do not always have pictures for everything I would like to put in my books. There were some programs where you could make a comic book like story, others you could have a movie feel to them, then there are power point like stories.  I like the thought of allowing my students to create there own story online.  I love how the parents and other family members will be able view the students hard work by just typing in the link! It is so easy and will make the student feel wonderful about all their hard work.  I mean how many students show their family members other than their parents the work they have done at school.  By simply sending a website the students are able to show aunts, uncles, grandparents and even cousins the  projects they are doing in school.  Also I think it is important for the students to learn how to use technology.  There are so many different programs out there to use and lets face it our world revolves around the internet so these skills are going to be very important for our students to learn.

Pie Day!

Pies by TSelrahc / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
I am currently placed in a 5th grade classroom on Mondays for one of my classes here at MSU. I went into my placement for the entire day to help out with a group activity both 5th grade classes where doing together.  We met in the gym and the teachers paired off the students in premeditated pairs, and explained what they would be doing.  In math class, the teachers discussed pie and how the number of pie is found in circles.  The students received a worksheet which had various objects listed on it.  They were given a yard stick, a piece of string, and the objects in which they had to find pie for.  They would use the string to find the circumference and the diameter. Then they would divide the two numbers so they were able to receive the number for pie. They did this very well and worked great with one another! I thought this was a very neat activity for the students to partake in. They learned how exactly to calculate pie, and were able to eat a giant cookie afterwards! It was a lot of fun!  I will definitely keep this activity in mind when I am a teacher and have my own classroom.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A history lesson with a chapter book!

  For one of my other classes this week we had to read a book called Esperanza Rising.  It was a wonderful story about a family who where living a upper class life over in Mexico, who lost their father, money, and land.  The Uncles were corrupt so the mother, grandmother, and daughter all decided they would make the long journey to American so they could all be together.  We are told about the immigrant camps, the horrible living conditions and the racism which still took place every day.  The Mexican family works very hard to make little pay and overcomes many hardships in which they encounter.  This book has powerful messages it leaves the readers with; it shows how if you work hard in life you will be rewarded, how if you stick together with family you are able to overcome anything, and how money is not important in order to achieve happiness, all you need is family!

   After reading this book I thought how neat it would be to use in my future classroom, I would be able to cover reading, history, and send wonderful messages to my students!  I think it is wonderful how one book can incorporate so much, not to mention the book itself was great! I was never bored while reading and actually found it difficult to stop reading it.  I wanted to know what was going on.  Another reason I liked this book so much is because I think it would be wonderful to use in an ESL classroom.  I am going to receive a minor in TESOL so I am very enthusiastic about having other students learn about different cultures and traditions.  I feel as if this book will offer a great amount of the hardships and journey Mexican immigrants had to over come.  I think it is important to be aware of others lifestyles in order to understand other people so in an ESL this book could help build the bridge!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Smart Boards

  Over my spring break trip I visited my sister in North Carolina, she is a science teacher at a high school there.  I was able to go to her school and see her room.  In her room she has a smart board she uses with her lesson plans.  She let me play around with it and do some of the activities she has made for the smart board.  It was really neat, they have different color pens that you can use to label different things or to better organize your presentation.  You are able to write in a white color and then put a color shape over the area to reveal the answer.  She does this so her students are able to partake in the lesson plan.  She also does fill in the blank with words from a word bank, and she is able to put up certain items they need to be familiar with.  It was amazing!  The students really loved how they did not just have to sit in their seats and do the worksheet on their own.  They were able to work through the worksheets together and she even created other hands-on activities for them to do as a class. Another wonderful thing about the smart board is that you can put your power points up on it too, you can make them right on the same program so you do not have to go and back and forth between the two programs.  It is very time efficient and offers visual learns the opportunity to pick up on the material very quickly.
   Overall the smart board offers students the opportunity to interactively learn!  I know I would not have been nearly as bored doing the same thing over and over again in class.  With the smart board there are so many different applications you use, that there is no reason to do the same thing over and over again.  It offers to accommodate a variety learning styles while the students are able to have fun!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jamestown and Yorktown

  This spring break I went to North Carolina to visit my sister and brother-in-law.  They live very close to the Virginia boarder so my boyfriend and I decided to visit Jamestown and Yorktown.  It was amazing!  There was so much to learn.  Inside both Jamestown and Yorktown had a museum set up so you were able to learn the background information before you ventured out to the replica areas of Jamestown and Yorktown.
   The Jamestown replica was set up just as they know it to have been.  They had houses, canyons, blacksmiths, etc, all with the tools and accessories which would have really been there.  There was armor you could put on and people who worked there were dressed in the time era and were full of information. They would tell you about the lifestyle of the people and answer any questions you had.  Outside of Jamestown were two sailboats you could go on and hear about where they were headed and who was traveling on them. Then a little ways down from that was a Native American tribe settlement.  They had several huts which were all set up differently inside, some where more elegant than others signifying their status within the tribe.  They also had a community cooking area and a worker dressed as a part of the tribe making a canoe.  It was incredible how much I learned here! I think it would be a wonderful place to take students to on a field trip if your school was from around the area.  What a wonderful learning tool!
  Then there was Yorktown which also had the museum inside where you could lift the three different swords to see which was was heavier and which was the lightest.  I found the French had the lightest sword! Then outside there was a camp set up with the workers dressed in uniforms, they were able to tell us all around the living conditions for the soldiers and their wives and children whom choose to stay with the men.  They had tents set up, a laundry area, a cooking area, a medic tent, and a canyon which they still shoot off every so often.  A little ways down from this was farm, the farm had a house, a cooking house, real crops they were growing, a hay storage unit, a slave house, and a tobacco house.  There were women in the cooking house actually making food they allowed you to eat.  This was a wonderful place to actually visualize how people used to live.  I am so happy I was able to experience this and will implement all that I have learned at these two places into my lesson plans!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Paperless!

  Green Tweets? by cogdogblog
 / CC BY 2.0

     I was going through my google reader and reading all of the blogs I am keeping tabs on.  I found an interesting entry about a school going paperless for a whole day on earth day.  This is such a great contribution and a wonderful idea!  But what are the teachers going to do for the day with their students then?  Well they could watch an educational video, or do powerpoint presentations.  They could also use their technology on this day.  Technology can be very useful and paperless!  Students can collaborate with one another using google docs, or they could look up research for a paper. These are just a couple of ideas, teachers could also do a review day and make a jeopardy powerpoint to help review!  I feel as if going paperless in your classroom is a wonderful to be forced to use different technologies to assist you in your teaching! I feel as though students need a break from doing the same old thing over and over again.  Don't get me wrong, I think routines are also very important, but it is nice to shake things up every now and then! So why not help out our environment by not using any paper on earth day?  I think as teachers we do not realize how much paper we use and have our students use every day.  This could be challenging, but we are intelligent people, we can definitely come up with one lesson plan where  we do not have to use paper! What do you think about this?

Sunday, February 28, 2010


 PLN-1 by cobannon. / CC BY-NC 2.0
    I feel that as a future teacher a person learning network or PLN, is extremely important. Before engaging in my technology class, I was very reluctant to use any unfamiliar technology.  This class has allowed me to broaden my PLN, I now plan to incorporate the use of technology into my lesson plans.  I find blogs to be very useful in exchanging ideas, gaining knowledge and a wonderful way to be able to express how you feel.  Before this class, I would have never even thought twice of having a blog and using it, now I believe much can be gained by using a blog.  I also think it is important for my students to be able to express themselves in any way possible, and I feel as though technology is the new way to do this.  I never would have thought in a million years, a girl who grew up without a computer until I was in 7th grade and never having the interent, that technology would become such  a big part of my PLN.  I feel as though Flicker, google docs, and many of the other forms of technology I have been introduced have made my life so much easier already.  I use Flickr and google docs all of the time now in my school work.  I love google docs, because it is a way to ensure my papers and presentations get saved, and can not be lost by a computer crash.  Technology is such a huge part of our society now, I feel by implementing it into my PLN I am able to provide my future students with the very best education possible.  If I am able to keep up with new technologies and techniques I will be able to continue to enhance my students learning!  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Voice over with my Powerpoint

        This assignment was really frustrating to me! I was having trouble saving my voice over as an mp3.  I went online to, but was still not able to figure out how to do this for a while. Over all I think I spent about thirty minutes trying to figure out how to save my voice over as an mp3 file, so I could then upload it to put it with my slides.  I think that I was just overwhelmed with the information they had on the site.  They had a wide arrangement of things, which made it hard for me to navigate the site.  I think that I am going to have explore this website a little more so this is a less stressful task next time.  I think that it was just to new for me to understand how to navigate well on it.  I feel that by putting my voice in the background of a powerpoint, my students might stay interested for a longer period of time. I think this could  be very useful if I needed a substitute teacher to come in my classroom for the day. This is because I know the lesson would be presented how I intended it to be, even though I was not able to be there.  However, I did like slideshare it was a very easy website to navigate.  I was able to upload my powerpoint and add the voice over with much ease. I can not wait to learn how to navigate so I will be able to produce the type of powerpoints I expect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Proper Nouns

     This is a sample of a mini lesson plan I formed after reading about how to create an efficient powerpoint.  My mock powerpoint discuss why we capitalize proper nouns.  This is a language arts lesson plan for possible second graders.  For one of our assignments in my CEP class, we were to read about how to create a strong powerpoint presentation. We read a chapter on how powerpoints should be formed in order for your students to get the most out of them. Some of the things I learned was that each slide should only contain one important point, this way our students have time to read and comprehend each element without becoming to overwhelmed. I also learned how to use the speaker notes section on powerpoint. As a future teacher this application will be very beneficial to me! I do not have to fit every little detail I want to discuss on the slide which my students see. I can just put what I want to discuss in the speaker notes section so I still have something I can follow while I am presenting the lesson. This way I will be less apt to forget to mention something and my students will recieve the best instruction I can offer them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Writing in a Classroom

2 & 1/2 and already a computer junky! by Wilson (Army Gal)
                           / CC BY-NC 2.0
   The other day I was having a discussion with some of my classmates in my TE 348 class.  We were talking about how most schools are taking cursive out of their curriculum.  This is a crazy concept for me because from about 3rd grade to 7th grade I was required to write in cursive.  However now a days educators feel that the future students will not need to know how to write and read cursive.  Computers have taken over the world of text, students are now expected to type up a lot of their homework and other various assignments.  We were debating on if students should still learn cursive.  We feel as though yes technology is a huge part of our society, however you need signatures, which are usually in cursive.  But if you never learn how to read or write in cursive, everyones signature will be printed. This will be much easier for others to copy and forge.  This could lead to a future problem in our society.
    What do you think?  Do you think technology is prominent enough to end the teaching of cursive?  If so where do we stop? I mean one day will we not teach out students how to even write print?  Will our future students just learn how to type everything?  Instead of notebooks to take notes will all students bring in a laptop?  Will they soon take tests on the laptops as well?  I know some of this is far out there, but what do you think?  Cursive was a big part of our education while I was in school and to just stop teaching it seems a little dramatic to me.  How do you feel?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Google Docs What a Lifesaver!

Google docs notification by AJC1
                             / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
     So how many of you have worked on group projects or even projects in class and have emailed them, or saved them on a jump drive, because you where afraid you might lose them if you just keep them on the desktop?  As I talked about in my last blog, I was introduced to Google Docs, it was perfect timing too!  I had a group project which was due in another one of my classes this week.  We had to write a paper and it was really difficult to keep emailing the paper with corrections back and forth.  At one point in the process I sent the wrong paper back all together.  By using Google Docs I am able to proof read and add to the paper and send it right back to her.  It is so nice, not to mention we do not have to fill our msu email inbox with tons of emails.  Another great thing was that the paper will open on pretty much any computer, especially if you make it into a pdf file.  This is great because sometimes it is difficult for me to open some word documents.
    I will definitely use Google Docs in my classroom, my students can even put powerpoints up on it.  I think it is wonderful! They are learning how to use technology, which I feel is a wonderful skill to acquire, and they are able to allow people to edit their work, or just view their work.  The thing I love most is that my students will have time to proof read more than one students work, because you can work on the same paper if need be.  This is a great way to get my students involved, not to mention they can submit works to me and not have to worry about printing anything off or bringing a paper with them to turn in.  All they have to do is share the document with me! What a way to be green!

Google Docs

Google Docs & Spreadsheets Logo by dannysullivan
                           / CC BY 2.0
  Today I started to work with Google Docs, I added my resume to my account and played around with it a little bit.  The really neat thing about Google Docs is that I was able to send my resume to my group members for them to look it over and make suggestions and corrections.  They are able to make corrections on my resume and send it back to me.  I am then able to change my corrections, while still having the history of all the corrections which are sent to me. This will be really useful for my students, it saves paper, by not having to print rough drafts out, and it will allow my students to receive more feedback, because more than one person can be correcting the same paper at one time. This will also be useful because you are able to create pdf files with Google Docs.  This will be extremely useful because I will be able to use different worksheets and lesson plans while saving them  as a pdf files so everyone, parents and other teachers are able to access them. I would be able to put them up on a website so if my students were absent or just did not bring home their homework, they would be able to access it at home.  That way they are not as apt to fall behind in their studies.  I can not wait to keep playing around with this application to find more interesting things I can do with it.    

The Olymipics

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Torch by s.yume.

      I was reading my blogs that I am following on my google reader and I came across my ESL Lesson plan blog here is the link so you can check it out.  It gave a description of the history of the Olympics and talked about how they bring all the countries together.  Then they gave the assignment to watch the Olympics and embrace their new language as their own.  I thought this was really neat to use such an integrated cultural experience into an ESL classroom.  The Olympics exposes many different cultural backgrounds all at one time, this is a great way to introduce your students to both a history lesson and a cultural lesson.  I like how he wants them to speak in their new language about the Olympics, it brings everyday life into rich conversation.  I also think it is great that he tells them to come with questions about words, or culture traditions they have.
    I definitely like how this lesson plan incorporates culture and language.  Knowing the culture helps you learn and understand the language of a country. I feel like this assignment will help them grow in their language learning. What do you feel about it?

Polls in a Classroom

ClikaPad by AV-1.
      I was researching different classroom response systems.  I feel that these systems can help students to stay engaged, encourages students to participate, and visually learn.  I found various different systems which can be installed and where students have to buy an applicator.  I however liked a link I found, which talked about using cellphones, or computers to send in your response. The results show up in a powerpoint, and there is no extra cost to install this system into your classroom.  I think these systems offer a wonderful opportunity for many shy or reluctant students to learn, but cost can sometimes be a huge issue.  Most students have cellphones they carry around with them, so why not put them to good use! I think it is important to allow all students, wealthy and not so wealthy, with equal opportunity to learn.  These systems allow students to learn from experience, because they are not afraid to give the answer they feel is right.  Nobody knows who gives what answer so students are not reluctant giving there answers.  So why not use this system when it is free or low cost for you and for your students! What a great opportunity, the students watch the results as they come in on a slide in a powerpoint presentation!

Classroom Management

        I was in my education placement this week and there is a student teacher who is in the classroom I am in.  He has trouble controlling the class when their actual teacher leaves.  When the students throw pencils at each other and get up and chase each other around the room, he just yells at them.  This method is obviously not working for him.  But when he tries to implement different rules, the main teacher fights all his new strategies so he is back to square one.  I feel like this is a common situation for most student teachers.  Maybe he could talk to his teacher and see if she will allow him to do a community behavioral system.  He could possibly bring in a fish bowl, and when the class is good add stones to it, but if bad behavior occurs then the stones get taken out of it.  Once the bowl is filled to the top you can reward the class with a few extra minutes at recess, or bring in a small treat for everyone.  This way you are helping the students to encourage each other to behave, also the students learn that their actions affect others.  This allows your students to become more responsible for their actions.  I feel awful for this student teacher situation. What do you think about this situation?  Should he just carry out with chaos in the room? Or should he try and sit down with the teacher to make a plan they both agree on?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


                         / CC BY 2.0

Twitter is a form of technology that is hard for me to get use to using.  I find it hard to tweet about things, because I feel like it is strange that anyone can read what you tweet.  However I do think it is helpful to  send useful links back and forth to your followers.  In that way twitter is really nice.  Maybe I am just over  thinking twitter, if I could just relax a little more with it, I might be able to benefit from all of the perks it offers.  I feel other things holding me back are the stereotypes twitter brings with it.  Such as using twitter because you are bored and have nothing else  to do with your time, or using it to stalk famous people. However I have learned that yes some people do use twitter for these reasons, but not all people.  Twitter can be used for teachers to learn from each other.  Twitter allows insightful information to be shared with everyone!  It is great, and I am going to try my hardest to get into the habit of using my twitter account.  I think twitter can help me to become a better teacher!  I am going to start to schedule in times to use my twitter account as a valuable resource and I believe I will learn to love twitter and find it very helpful!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Creative Commons and Photo editing

One of our assignments this week was to take one of our personal pictures and licence it through Flickr with Creative Commons.  This is my photo I licensed with Creative Commons.

                           / CC BY-NC 2.0
I choose to do this photo, because I ran across an interesting website, , which gave an interesting idea of taking photos of each step involved in carving a pumpkin.  This way you are teaching your students how form do step by step directions and at the same time you are teaching them what you need to do to carve a pumpkin.  By using a topic such as carving a pumpkin the students will get involved in the lesson, because they are able  to relate this information to real life situations. This makes learning much more interesting for the students and allows them to connect with the lesson on a much deeper level.  I think this website offers some wonderful suggestions on how you can implement photos into your lesson plans.  It is a great website to get some ideas, you should check it out!

I also had to edit the photo, by resizing it and stripping it of its color.  Then I had to use my snipping tool to take a screen shot of my editing process.  Last but not least I produced a slide show of all of my work, check it out above. It is actually pretty neat! Who knew I would ever be able to do anything like this? 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Can We Use Flickr in Our Classrooms?

                                  / CC BY 2.0
      Today I was introduced to a program called Flickr.  It is a program where you can get pictures and videos to use in your classroom.  I like it because they are protected by the copyright law, so as a teacher I can integrate media from everyday life, and legally present it to my students.  Power points are so boring for students to look at when there is just text or even clip art.  Clip art is limited, when it comes to current pictures.   Flickr has just about any picture you can think of! I will definitely use this website to spice up my lesson plans.  I can use it to show a video on "how to do things" or a video to watch and then discuss as a class.  Flickr is nice because I am able to borrow pictures from other people and I can even up load my own pictures and put copyright protection on them.  I feel that my students will be more attentive when I present new material to them if I can use current, up to data media to go along with it! I wish my teachers knew about this website, class would have definitely been more interesting.
      I feel as if the copyright laws scare teachers off from implementing pictures and videos into their lesson plans.  So many things are on the fence and a lot of these materials are hard to find the rights for so you can not credit the owner properly.  This is why teachers opt out of using media in their lesson plans.  They are busy as it is, they do not need to worry about hunting someone down to ask if it is okay to use their picture.  But Flickr makes this so easy and so convenient! This will surely be a website I will treasure.  Try it out and see what you think about it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Technology in a classroom

This semester I am in a 5th grade classroom. I went on a tour of the school with my CT and she showed me their computer lab. They had brand new flat screen macs and then they plugged keyboards into them for the children to do a music lesson. I grew up in a private school, so we where never very up on technology. To see them play on these keyboards I thought was really neat. They are learning to use technology while learning how to play an instrument too. I thought this was a great way to implement technology in the classroom.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have been trying to keep up with my RSS but this is really hard. I have been really bad at reading all of the new articles that are getting posted. I have been trying my hardest though! I just wonder how teachers, with such a busy schedule are able to read all of these articles? I feel that technology is important to implement in the classroom, but it is really hard to keep up with all of the new technology. I mean my RSS gets lots of new messages everyday. However with out my RSS I would be spending hours and hours looking up the blogs I am following. The RSS makes following blogs much less time consuming. Maybe I just have to put aside time everyday to read my RSS blogs. If I block out time for this and put it in my schedule, I might be able to keep up on all the blog posts! I am going to try it! Thank God for my google reader, I do not know what I would do with out it!

Friday, January 29, 2010


This week I have been following my educational twitter accounts on tweet deck. It has been really hard for me to completely figure tweetdeck out. So far it is going well, I was able to search for edchat and follow those tweets. They were very informative, but twitter is still very weird to me. I am not a big fan of twitter, maybe it is because I have not learned how to use it to its full capabilities. I am working on better navigating my twitter account. I also am at a lose of what to put on my twitter account. Is anyone else having trouble getting used to their twitter account? Any suggestions as how I could learn to like it more? Maybe I am missing the whole idea with my twitter. Please let me know! Meanwhile I will continue to read others tweets and keep playing around with it to get more comfortable.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cell Phones in the Classroom

The other day my CEP teacher said something that I found to be really interesting, he said cell phones can be used in the classroom to take polls and check for the students understanding. This was astounding to me! Cell phones in the classroom, how weird. I mean usually teachers are yelling at students when they pull out there cell phones in the classroom. So I did a little research to find out what cell phones are used for in the classroom. I found a very interesting website which tells us the obvious reasons cell phones are banned from classrooms, but it too tells us how cell phones are useful in a classroom. Here is the site , check it out!
Majority of highschool and even middle school students have a cell phone they carry around with them. I found that cell phones can be used to text message in a constructive way, teachers can make polls or multiple choice questions and have the students send a text message of which letter they think the correct answer is. This is neat because as the students send in their answers they can see the chart change. Also every student is able to participate and no one is embarrassed if they gave the wrong answer because no one knows who answered what. I like the thought of this because the students all are learning and their confidence is not jeopardized in any way. I feel also believe by taking polls of what the students think is the correct answer allows you as a teacher to know what your students are understanding and what they are not understanding.
So yes I agree that cell phones can be productive, yet at the same time they are a huge distraction to the students. So I am not sure on where I stand exactly when it comes to implementing cell phones into teacher lesson plans. What do you think about this? Are you for or against using cell phones as a use of technology in the classroom?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Web Page

Last night I started to work on a web page I am going to use as my career portfolio. I was overwhelmed with all of the possible ways to lay out a page. I can not believe how much information you can fit on one page! I was amazed! I played around with a few things, but I feel as if I have not even touched the surface of the various possible ways I could set up my website. I never understood how web pages were created, and now I am aware of all the hard work that goes into them. When I eventually get my web page done, I feel as though my information will be able to be accessed by many schools very easily. This will be great because I will be able to apply to many different jobs with much more ease, and convince for them and myself. Who knew the internet would be so helpful when it comes to my future career! I surely never even thought about this!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Words Words Words

This week in class we started an RSS account and have been reading a few professional blogs.  I am a TESOL or ESL minor so I am reading a few blogs regarding this topic. On, I am following this blog, they are talking about how words are constantly being made up by movies and other popular people figures.  How can we expect our ESL students to learn how to understand the meanings of English words when we are making up words which do not carrying proper meaning by themselves. The meaning has to be explained most of the time to other people before it is known automatically by other people.  It is difficult enough for ESL students to learn the meanings of words which do exist in our English vocabulary.  So why do we feel the need to make up words?  Most of the time we already have words in the English vocabulary which will express the same meaning as this new foreign English word. If you go to this blog you can look at a few words which have been created recently. English is complicated enough, do we need to complicate things for our ESL students even more by making up new words.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Since I know have been to most of my classes at least once for this semester I have learned that blogging has become extremely popular in the educational world. Four out of the five classes I am taking this semester are using blogs as a part of their ciriculm. This is so strange to me because before this semester I have never read a blog and have never posted a blog.
The blogs are very helpful when it comes to my classes because we are able to post our opinions on a topic we are discussing in class and react to other classmates posts. I have found it very helpful to share ideas or see how other people interrupt readings we have done on various education topics. It is helpful because in class not everyone gets a chance to share their views or is just to shy to do so in person, but the blogs allow you to share your opinion and you do not have to face people to do so. The blogs have also been helpful because if I forget where exactly and idea came from that I wish to incorporate I just go back to the blog and look it up! It is as easy as that! I do not have to search through hundreds of pages of notes, I just scroll down until I find it! Now I see why blogs are so nice to use in an educational setting! Blogs are something I will definitely keep in mind when I become a teacher!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Introduction to Technology

Today I walked into my CEP416 class not knowing how this semester is going to go. I grew up in a house with out the internet for my entire life, so when it comes to using the computer I am not the most knowledgeable. I can do the basics and I am getting much better at using search engines. But when it comes to creating a blog and a twitter account I am lost. Twitter is a foreign idea to me, but opening the account was not nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. I feel like twitter is a great way to connect to people instantly. The only thing that has been holding me back from writting in a blog or a twitter account is the lack of competence when it comes to technology.
When I was in middle school my family did not even own a computer, if my sisters and I needed to type something for homework we would use the typewriter we had. Let me tell you a typewriter is much more complicated then a computer! So needless to say I have little to no knowledge when it comes to using technology. This course has already doubled my ability with what I know how to do with technology! If I can make a blog and twitter account then I am confident that anyone is able to! I look forward to learn how to implement more technology into my teaching style! Stay posted to see how a very technologically challenged person can learn how to make her life so much easier by learning the ropes with this foreign idea of technology!