Sunday, November 24, 2013

Final PLN Report

My Symbaloo

My personal learning network has grown since I started using Symbaloo. I have added the websites of the C4T teachers that have struck inspiration in me, the websites I found on my own that are useful to teachers, and applications to take notes with and make quizzes for myself. I use this to keep track of EDM310's blog and my own. It has easy access to Prezi for any time I need to make a quick presentation. After watching all of the TED talks, I added TED to my PLN to keep updated on new and interesting videos. I also have easy access to Google Docs and Google Sites, all of which come in handy when I'm trying to communicate with my group. This is just the beginning of my PLN, truthfully. I plan to add to it throughout my education and teaching career.

Blog Post #14

Go to and explore the website! It offers many valuable technological tools for students and teachers. Write a blog post on how you would use edshelf in the classroom.
edshelf logo
My post on using edshelf
Edshelf is a free educational website for teachers and students. I simply clicked "Browse around and explore" on the home page to get myself started. No need to sign up, anyone can rummage through this website and find great things! Once I clicked on the browse button, I was taken to a page that listed every category that edshelf assists with. From audio creators to lesson plan creators, edshelf literally has it all. I decided to discover more about the lesson plan creators. Once I clicked on "Lesson Plan Creator", I arrived at a page that gave me a list of applications that are available to teachers to create lesson plans! As a teacher, I will definitely use the application called Blendspace. Edshelf gives you tutorials on how to use the different sites.
Blendspace Logo
Blendspace is a one stop shop for everything in your lesson plan. You can search through a whole system to find resources and then shared them in one link. You can customize the lesson plan template to match your needs, and you can even create built in quizzes to test your students' knowledge.
Edshelf also has it to where you can search by subjects to find useful apps. If I were teaching a social studies lesson and wanted some useful videos to correlate to my lesson, edshelf has pulls up many different applications for that, or it also had lesson plan websites for that subject matter. Edshelf is such a useful website. It supplies links to almost every education website or applications known.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

C4K November Summary

Life in Auckland vs. Syria
Mary is a Year 6 student at Pt England School. This post was a short poem about how life differs in Auckland and Syria.
"I wake up to a bright light beaming through the curtains. I look at the time and its 8:00am. “Shoot! I’m running late” I shout. I quickly get dressed, clean my bed, brush my teeth and dash out the door skipping breakfast.

I wake up to bullets shooting through the room. I run to my mom's room and look out the window. “Another war happening!” I cry. I get down on my knees and close my eyes. I pray and pray to the Lord to help me and my family survive another day of horror.

I arrive at school and I check the time again. “It’s 8:30am” I say, right on time. I walk into class and sit down to wait for Mrs Nua to take the daily class roll. “Today is going to be a great day” I say and walk to my literacy group.

I open my eyes and realise that the gunshots have stopped. I look around and my mother is still peacefully deep into her sleep. “What to do?” I look around the room to do something for the day. No education, lacking clean clothes and no food to eat. “What to do?”

“Ring, Ring!” bell went. “Eating time” I say with excitement, I pack my stuff and ran to class. I walked outside and waited for my friends, afterwards my friends and I went to play on the field.

Everyday I think about my future am I going to wake up to gunshots every mornings, is my family and I going to survive another day, am I going to starve to death. Every Night I pray to the lord to guide us through the darkest hours."

This is a very emotional poem to read when you think about a child writing it. Here is the comment I left her:
"Hi Mary,
My name is Michelle. I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, USA. I very much liked this post! You showed great contrast between the two worlds. Keep up with your writing and blogging! You're doing a great job so far! I keep a class blog too. Here is the link if you want to check it out: My Blog."

My Dad's Trip to London
Peter is in Mrs. Yollis's class. He wrote so incredibly well for a third grader that I had to double check his grade. He wrote about his dad's trip to London, a place we both want to visit. He had pictures from his dad's trip to illustrate his post. His writing was very well done! He very much enjoys writing on his blog. Here is the comment I left for Peter:
"Hello Peter,
My name is Michelle. I'm also a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I actually had to recheck what grade level you are because of your post! VERY good job. I've never been to London, but the United Kingdom is on the top of my list of places to visit. Seeing all of your pictures that your dad took makes me want to visit soon! I hope you are enjoying blogging. You are doing a fantastic job with your writing skills. I also keep a blog for my class! If you'd like to see it, here is the link: My Blog."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

C4T #4 Summary

Education Rethink Comment #1
For this C4T I read and commented on Education Rethink, an educational blog written by John Spencer and Chad Segersten. Education Rethink has blogs that give teachers tips on how to survive and just inspirational posts by these guys. The first post I commented on was actually written by Justin Stortz. He wrote about how you can't control everything in a classroom. It was a great post about the woes of teaching and how letting it all go at the end of the day could be the best thing for you. You can't control the educational policies, so just focus on creating a great environment in your classroom. Here is what I left for a comment:
"I'm an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I was going through this blog and what I read here caught my eye immediately. These are some self questions I will remember in a year when I'm teaching. I'm observing now and have realized that the teacher cannot control what happens to her lesson plan or certain students in the class. I've learned long ago that you can't change people or situations. Never had I stopped to put those words hand in hand with teaching. Thanks for a very insightful post!"
The author commented back and said:
"Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond, Michelle. John has a wonderful blog here. I read it often. Keep checking back for more writing to keep you thinking.
I wish you all the best the year as you prepare your career in teaching. Keep reading, and keep thinking."
Comment #2
The second post I read and commented on was about being an introverted teacher. I connected to this because I am an introvert. The guys had great tips on how to over come the problems that come with being an introvert. It can be difficult being around so many people at once. I'm lucky that I'm more comfortable around children than I am with teenagers or adults. Here is what I said:
"I'm an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I also happen to be an introvert that struggles with being around people. These are some great tips on how to be an educator while being an introvert. I struggle with what to say to the kids in the classes I observe in all the time. I'm glad to know that there are other teachers who make it as introverts! Thanks for a great post."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

Sir Ken Robinson's Favorite TED Talks and What You Can Learn From Them
To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful
Number Eight on Sir Ken Robinson’s list of favorite TED Talks is by a man named Shane Koyczan called “To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful”. Shane is a poet as he delivers his speech to a full house. He talks about his childhood and how he tried to become himself. As a child he “hid his heart under the bed because his mother told if he wasn’t careful with it, someone would break it.” He claims we have to define ourselves at such an early age now. He continues telling about aspiring moments from his past. He talks about everything children have to deal with: bullies, finding yourself, and staying true to yourself. As future teachers, we need to remember what it was like for us to be the child. Shane made me remember that every child has the same problems. They want to define themselves. As a teacher, I will give my students room to grow and become the people of the future they deserve to be. Children are often put down by adults, because they think their problems trivial. Remember being that kid that got called names? Bullied? This video taught me to remember that for my future students. If you haven’t watched this, I would highly suggest it. It’s a lyrical reminder of childhood and why we as teachers need to pay attention to every child. -Michelle Detar
Shane Quote on being yourself
A Girl Who Demanded School
The video Kakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School was very touching. Kakenya is a woman from Kenya that wanted to make a change. She refused to keep the tradition and be married at the age of 12. Kakenya had dreams of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, Kakeya had to undergo female circumcision as a compromise for her father to let her continue going to school at the age of 12. This was not at all an easy thing to do, but she was very determined to be a teacher. She did everything she could to get to America in order to attend college. The knowledge that Kakenya acquired when reaching America devastated her, and she decided to do something about it. After Kakenya graduated she went back to Kenya and started an all-girls school. This helped changed their lives for the better. We can learn a lot from this video. One thing we can learn is that it only takes one person to stand up for what they truly believe in to make a difference. Kakenya knew nothing about being a teacher, besides the fact that it looked easy, when she was young. The knowledge that she gained empowered her to do great things. Knowledge should make everyone want to make a difference. This video showed us that it only takes one person to create an opposite path that will help change the lives of many. You may start off with a very small dream, like becoming a teacher, and along the way help others reach dreams that you couldn't imagine. -Demetrius Hamner
Teaching Quote
Teaching One Child At a Time
On the list of Sir Ken Robinson’s favorite TED talks is a video called Teaching one child at a time by Shukla Bose. In this video, she tells how she started the Parikrma Humanity Foundation from her kitchen table. This is a program that helps the “slums” of India by focusing on teaching one student at a time. She explains that one of the schools she went to was a school that held 165 students and no roof on the building. Her dream, as she says, is for children to live to be educated and to live peacefully in the “kaotic” globalized world. She not only organized the schools that these children now had access to, but she chose a very difficult curriculum for them as well; which made her receive many crazy looks from outsiders. She explains that the students did more than adapt to this curriculum but excelled with it. Shukla Bose is a very inspiring woman. She shows us that every student has potential, they just need the right materials to succeed; and that “one student at a time” makes a difference. Like she says, “Educating the poor is more than just a numbers game.” It is people like this that should inspire educators around the world every day. -Miriah Grantham

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Post #12

Changing Education Paradigms
The video Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms starts off by telling us about the two reasons countries are reforming public education. One reason is economic, which poses the question: “How do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st Century?” The second reason is cultural, which poses the question: “How do we educate our children so they can have a sense of cultural identity so that we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities while being part of globalization?” Mr. Robinson also reinforces the fact that the school systems are still trying to teach students the same as the students were taught in the past. This is unacceptable, and we must change that if we truly want to educate our children. He also tells us about how students are going one way in the school system and they really should be headed in the other direction (change the paradigm). I learned from Mr. Robinson that every student has the means to be a “genius”, unfortunately that slowly fades away due to the school systems of today. We must change this quickly. In school, we are taught that we should not collaborate on the majority of our work, but in reality, the best learning is done collaboratively. This video taught me to look at school systems differently. We tell students to attend school, go to college and get a degree. In todays society, that is no longer enough to get and keep a well paying job. I learned that things must change if we truly want our upcoming students to be educated and obtain a good job. -Demetrius Hamner
Sir Ken Robinson
How to Escape Education's Death Valley
How to Escape Education's Death Valley is a hysterical but informative speech by Ken Robinson, a man who moved to America twelve years before. He tells us that whoever thought of the title "No child left behind" truly understood irony, because it's leaving millions of children behind. He says that America spends enough money and enough resources, but it is all going in the wrong direction. He believes the problem is not enough educators are focusing on Teaching and Learning but, instead, testing. He expressed that education is not a mechanical system, it's a human system; it's about people, and there are condition in which people thrive. He then clarifies why "Death Valley" is in the title by explaining that it is a place where nothing grows because it doesn't rain. Meaning that if we do not provide children with appropriate teaching climates, they will not thrive for success. He tells us that we must do these three things in the education system: We must individualize teaching and learning, we must attribute a high status to the teaching profession, and see Professional Development as an investment, not a cost, and we must make schools responsible and autonomous to get the job done. Centralized decision making is not the way. He concludes by saying that if we all were encouraged to be moved, it would start a revolution, and that is what we need. This man made some valid points about the education system.He made me believe that I can truly make a difference as a future teacher. It is a big process, teaching and learning; it relies on many aspects. If we can provide these aspects to schools, we are setting students up for success, which will lead to a “revolution”. -Miriah Grantham
Sir Ken Quote
How Schools Are Killing Creativity
In Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, How Schools Kill Creativity, he discusses how education is diminishing children’s creativity. He starts the talk with stories of how education is meant to prepare children for the future. He considers creativity to be just as important as literature in education. I am going to second him on this. Teachers spend so much time on literature and language arts but very little on evolving a child’s creativity. Creativity is one of the most extraordinary abilities we as humans have. I loved when Sir Ken said that children are born creative, but they grow out of it. They are taught out of it. The arts are no longer taught in elementary school like they are in secondary schools. Why is that? While watching this, I remembered Dr. Vitulli’s arts class. She stressed the importance of incorporating the arts in your lessons. Many teachers don’t do this. Teachers and parents tell the students to not do art or music, because they won’t be either as adults. Creativity and intelligence go hand in hand. So why not teach it? If you incorporate it into your lesson, it won’t take you any longer to teach it. It may also help students remember it easier that just a boring lecture and demonstration. -Michelle Detar

Sunday, November 3, 2013

C4T Summary #3

Mr. Will Richardson
Will Richardson is a former educator that resides in New Jersey. He has written several books and has many blogs. He is the co-founder of two websites dedicated to helping parents and teachers in the education department: Modern Learner Media and Powerful Learning Practice.
Will Richardson
The first post I commented on was about how to utilize technology properly in the classroom. He talked about an iPad hacking problem in schools that I had no idea was even going on. Here is the comment for that post:
"I'm a student at the University of South Alabama. Technology is shaping our schools, sometimes in good and bad ways. I hadn't heard of the Indiana and California iPad debacle. After reading about it, I'm sure most students have learned to do that. Schools with Project-based Learning techniques that include technology have students learning in a much better way. Technology is what is relevant to them. Thanks for this post. I learned about a couple of things had I no idea were going on.- Michelle"
The last post that I read from Will was about a book that he is currently reading. He talks about what we can do to keep learning relevant to our students. I found it very cool that the author of the book he was reading, David Price, actually commented on this post! Will posed the question to his readers on what are teachers doing to actually help kids. Here is my comment to that:
"I'm an Elementary Education student at the University of South Alabama and am taking a technology class currently. It allows us to learn how to utilize technology in our classrooms. Your post posed a great question on how are we helping kids. I recently watched a Skype interview with a first grade teacher that uses blogging in her classroom. Her students were so excited to learn that way. They created something that will ultimately last forever. I'll have to pick up the book your reading. It sounds like it is a great read for teachers and future teachers."

C4K October Summary

October Kids
This month, I commented on four student blogs: Eli, Andrea, Gabriejona, and Abdullah. Eli talked about a book that his class was reading. He discussed how he would feel if he were the main character. The character's teacher was reteaching material that she had previously learned. Here is my comment to Eli:
My name is Michelle! I’m a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA. I get to read student blogs and yours was picked! I agree that it would be very boring to have a teacher reteach the alphabet. I hope you’re enjoying reading and blogging! I keep a class blog as well. Here’s the link if you’d like to look at mine: My Blog."

Andrea was blogging for her science class about the structure of a cell. She had great insight on what she was learning. She wrote out every part of the cell for the reader and what it did. Here is my comment to her:
My name is Michelle. I’m a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. Thanks for the review on what all that was! You have great knowledge on what all the cell parts are. Your blog looks great. I hope you are enjoying blogging. I keep a blog for my class as well! Here is the link if you’d like to check it out: Michelle’s Blog."

Gabriejona had the assignment of looking into her family origins. Her family was originally from India but her parents moved to Canada before she was born. Here is the comment I left for her:
My name is Michelle. I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, USA. This was an interesting story about your origins. I am in a class where I had to tell about my origins. My family came to America from Canada a long time ago. I hope you are enjoying blogging. I keep one for my class too. Here is the link if you want to look at it: Michelle's Blog."

Abdullah blogged about a book that her class is reading, Out of My Mind. She used such wonderful descriptive writing. The book is about a girl with cerebral palsy and her journey. Here is the comment for Abdullah:
My name is Michelle. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, USA. I quite enjoyed reading this post! You did a wonderful job at describing your readings. I hope you are enjoying the blogging world. I keep one for one of my classes as well. Here is the link if you’d like to take a look: Michelle’s Blog.

Blog Post #11

"Little Kids...Big Potential"
The video that sparked a Skype interview with Kathy Cassidy, Little Kids...Big Potential, shows Kathy's first grade classes using technology in their classroom. Instead of writing with pen and paper, they write using a class blog. They Skype with classes from all over and even talk to experts. You even learn how to comment on someone's blog from a first grader who knew exactly what he was doing! Dr. Strange interviewed Kathy about her use of technology in her classroom.
In Cassidy Part 1, Kathy talks about the importance of using technology. She uses a class webpage and blogging to promote learning. The strategy of using a class blog is one that I would definitely implement in my classroom. These are first graders that can blog, and that is so amazing to me. Kathy is right when she says that technology and kids go hand in hand. In today's world, technology is expanding and is apart of everyone's life. It's important to show kids how to use the technology that they are constantly surrounded by.
Students love Technology
In the second part of her interview, Dr. Strange asks Kathy where she thought someone should start when it comes to technology. Kathy's answer was to start where you are interested in. There are a ton of different sites that fits to any interest. This would be something that we would need to teach our students, how to utilize those sites to fit them.
Changes in Technology over time.
In the final part of her interview, Dr. Strange turns it over to the students to ask questions. Kathy answers the question that popped into my head at the beginning of the videos. How often does she use blogs? She explained that it all depends on the size of the class. If the students can blog from home then they blog more than those who can't. Kathy has some great approaches to how to use the blogs in the class. It's great to hear about this from an actual elementary teacher.