Friday, December 10, 2010

C4T #3 Summary Post

My C4T#3, Michael Kaechele-concrete artist turned middle school technology teacher, posted about the effect that the book the Alchemist had on him.  He posed the question, "do we leave enough room for pursuing dreams and passions within the school atmosphere?" He said the school systems are too busy trying to meet standards and cover the curriculum to leave any room for this.  He enjoyed the book because it reminded him of a favorite memoir of his The Education of a Wandering Man, and the fact that they both learned the same way-through life experiences, not through a book.  He then asked How can we create a climate that encourages students to dream and pursue passions rather than "interfere with their education?"
I then told him that I think the fact that school sometimes gets in the way of people pursuing their dreams, is one of the biggest problems with our school system. Many of my family members (who are teachers) warned me about the fact someone like me wouldn't do well in an environment where there is no freedom. Although it may be difficult, I plan on trying to fit in as much freedom, adventure, and creativity into my "lesson" as possible. What else are students there for anyway? The quadratic formula is great, if you're in a profession that uses it on a daily basis. But I think that life lessons, and the motivation to continue learning, and curiosity for life will better prepare the student for the future.
In his post Real Reform Goes Backwards, Michael blogs about the fact how ridiculous it is that most people's idea of "fixing the problem" in the public school system is to hire big wigs, that don't even care about the students, to come in and weed out all the bad teachers, so they can hire new teachers who will work for lower wages.  He said on top of that their bright idea is to just put the student in the proper machine (program) and out they pop at the end- educated (able to pass standardized tests).  He thinks real reform starts by going backwards to a "classic" liberal arts education.  Students should have a relationship with their teachers, not with bubbling in sheets.  They should learn by asking questions, and life itself should be a learning journey.  They need to be learning how to solve real life problems and how to think critically.  "Students should engage in real questions and work for real solutions. We should use hammers, nails, wood, computers, dirt, flowers, paper, cell phones, microscopes, cameras, and animals. Students should perform labs where the teacher does not know the answer. Students should study current events and then research the history to understand why things are as they are now. Students should use math to calculate solutions to world poverty, lack of clean water, and adequate food."  Teachers shouldn't recite a book in front of the class, they should learn with them, guide them.
I said I completely agree! Standardized testing is not the answer! I've actually been contemplating the all semester-what is the best way to weed out the bad teachers? I'd like to think that they are all good, but I was just in the public school system a few years ago and I can only name about 4 out of the 30 I had that were decent teachers. The biggest problem I had when I got to college was the fact that there were no multiple choice tests. I went to a liberal arts school and they stressed the importance of critical thinking every single day in ever single class. You reminded me of a video of Sir Ken Robinson's I watched not too long ago, he said the fact that students are taught in batches is ridiculous. Is the most important thing I should have in common with my educational peers be my date of manufacturing?  
"Students should engage in real questions and work for real solutions...... Students should use math to calculate solutions to world poverty, lack of clean water, and adequate food. "  I
 have never thought about it like this, but its brilliant. It's so simple I don't see how we haven't implemented it yet. People talk about making a difference, well if our students would learn something more than an equation and how to plug n some numbers and chug out a solution and then bubble in the correct answer, we might actually be able to make a difference. My biggest goal is to motivate my students to be inquisitive. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill this goal to the best of my ability. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Summary Post C4K #3-7

Maurice from Pt England School wrote about his having to miss out on cross country due to the fact that it was raining.  I told him that i, too, was very involved in my cross country program when i was in high school.  His writing has really improved and this just goes to show me how beneficial writing on blogs is to elementary students.
Kate from Ms. Millers class blogged about the gold game.  She and her classmates were to imagine that gold was first found in their hometown and they had to buy wheelbarrows, shovels, and other gold mining tools for their hunt on the playground.  I told her that I wish that my teacher had used a cool game like this with us.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I also asked her if they had to sift through the sand, and that I looked forward to hearing more about her game.
Brendan posted about a problem he was having with his best friend telling all of his secrets.  I told him that some people don't tell secrets in order to hurt others, it's just their personality.  I advised him to talk to his friend and tell him that it bothered him, and if he continued to tell then he wasn't his friend.  This post made me realize that I will sometimes be a situation where what i will say will matter in someone else's life, i just hope that i have the wisdom to say the right thing.
Ethan blogged about his grandmother who lived in omaha, nebraska.  He said that she lives near his aunt and uncle and that she is really nice.  He also said that she works at a museum.  I told him that i used to want to work in a museum, and suggested that he watch the movie "night at the museum" if he has not already done so.   
vents inside USS Alabama
This student took a photograph of a vent inside of the USS Alabama, but she was having a hard time naming it.   I took an interest in this reader because I had the same photography teacher, actually I was in her teacher's first batch of students. Many people had suggestions, but I told her that flow or wave would be best because of it being on the water.   

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final PLN

I am currently using Symbaloo to keep up with my PLN.  I also like Evernote, which I plan on using in the future.  As far as History goes, I follow HowStupidBlog, Blog4History, and USHistoryBlog.  I plan to search out for blogs specifically focused on the points in history that I am most interested in, such as colonial,But at this point in time, I want to stay focused on a variety of blogs.  I also use my mentor, William Donald as a key element in my PLN, he has helped shaped who I am today and is one of the major reasons I have decided to teach history.  My grandmother Virginia Bryant, a retired history teacher of 35 years, is also a part of my PLN, she not only helps shape my thoughts about the classroom, she insights a hint of inspiration about history each and every day-something I too, hope to be capable of with my students.

Project -16

Summary Post C4K November and 12/5

Brennan, from Ms. Cassidy's 1st grade Class, said that he and his dog played together. I told him I love dogs, and asked him what was his dog's name? Mine are named Brinkley and BB. He is doing very well, with his blogging. I may have to concentrate on his words a little and read them over again but, I can definitely tell his writing is improving!

Raegan from Miss Byrne's class received a visit from Rachel Joy Scott who was an 11th grade student at the Columbine high school during the shooting. Rachel's Challenge was held at Wolsely high school on Wednesday December 1st. She challenged them to befriend new kids, kids with disabilities, kids who are put down and eliminate prejudice- give people at least 3 chances before judging. She challenged them to start their own Chain Reaction. I could take these challenges by being kind and taking them and doing them to become a better person. I told her that This is a very important lesson to learn, and I’m glad that she has already taken steps toward Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel made a difference in her life, so now she can do the same. My friend from school just had a “Bully Free” week. Everyone really enjoyed it and started to think about their actions before they bullied anyone. I liked her post, and encouraged her to keep blogging! She even thanked me for commenting on her blog.

Benjamin from Ms. Millars class made a Kerpoof about the planets. He also created mnuemonic device in order to remember the order of the planets. His class had just studied nmuemonic device and he decided he would put it to good use. I told him that I still use them in order to study for some tests in college, such as the ones where I am required to memorize long lists of countries or chemicals. I was very impressed by his Kerpoof! He used this program and made a somewhat of a comic strip.

Logan from Ms. Huebner's class made a blog post about his researcf for his skype interview on Christopher Columbus. He informed his readers that Columbus discovered and evaded America four times. His arrival also introduced diseases that the Indians were not immune to. He even told me something I didn't know, People disagreed on where he was buried. I asked him if he loved learning new facts, and told him that just because the history books say things, doesn’t mean they are true, you should always research yourself, and it looks like you are pretty good at it! I did not know that people disagreed on where he was buried, but thanked him for the information.

Yasmine posted about a trip with her family in Tunisia. She went parasailing, and rode horses, jet skis, and banana boats. Her picture was not on her blog for us to see so I googled Tunisia, and I have to say it is breathtaking. I told her with all of the pictures that she took and all the memories that she made with her family that she will always have that special time with her family in such a beautiful place.

Summary Post C4T Teacher -4

fish in a fish bowl

I thouroughly enjoyed The Fischbowl, perhaps more so than any other blog I have read this year.
His post, We See This as the Future of Higher Education, was originally posted on his blog for his algebra class. He wanted to prove to them that he is preparing them for their futures by incorporating technology into the classroom. If carried out properly, online classes, or better yet, hybrid classes, hold a bright future for education. In order for it to be successful, students must take an active role in their learning by doing the readings beforehand, communicating with the teacher, and communicationg and giving feedback to other students. I told him that he is doing a great job of preparing them with these learning tools, because I cannot survive in college without a computer (and it has nothing to do with Office). I never thought that I would need a computer class for math, but it has turned out to be the most helpful class I have ever taken. I can get immediate feedback when the program tells me I'm doing the problem wrong, and if I can't figure out how to do it on my own, then I can always email my teacher aide or teacher. I knwo that all professors give out their emails, but I feel like it is more promoted in a class where we are using comuters all the time, therefore I actually feel more connected and comfortable with emailing the teacher.

A Quarter is More Than Just a Fraction was also posted on his class blog. Just like we think globally by communicating with teachers and students all over the world, he asked his students to think more globally by helping out a company cakked Kiva. Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. He lent $25 to an entrepeneur, then bought two $25 gift cards and sent them to his friends and encouraged them to send it to someone they thought would benefit from it, and two $25 gift cards to two more of their friends. He wanted to start somewhat of a Kiva pay it forward. So he then challenged his students to bring a quarter to class everyday that they met, until the end of the school year which would equal to $2.50, and he would match the proceeds up to one hundred dollars. THey could bring more, bring less, it did not matter. Many of his colleagues said that he would never be able to collect any because teenagers will not donate anything, unless there is something in it for them. I told him that it is nice to know that someone is making a difference. I'm sure he can prove them wrong about the teenagers only wanting to give if they recieve something in return. I have faith in the fact that all people are good and want to help, for the most part. Did you know that people who make less than 20,000 are more likely to give than those who make more than that? He reminded me of the fact that no matter how hard I think times are, there is always someone out there who needs more help than me.
I have a feeling that I will continue to read The Fischbowl long after this class ends.