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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Post #13

border to ALEX webpage

ALEX also known as the Alabama Learning Exchange is an extremely informative website for teachers, administrators, students and parents. Until this assignment, I was unaware that there was an initiative to incorporate technology into the classroom in Alabama. This website, allows for educators around the state to collaborate and share lesson plans, thoughts and initiatives within their classroom that are successful. I found numerous lesson plans, a tremendous number of links and the blog page to be very useful. There is even a personal work page in which you can customize and share your thoughts and ideas. It is a very well-organized website that will introduce you to advancements being made within the state to enhance the education process through the use of technology.

Within the website, it includes information for teaching ages k-12. It includes specific subjects and within those subjects, you can find related lesson plans and links to useful web sites. It will also give you information in regard to the standards that are required on each subject and each level. It appears to be a well developed website that would be useful to all teachers. It does appear also that it needs more contributors in each subject. Maybe it hasn't been promoted within the schools but i am sure as time goes on, it will continue to develop and progress to be an even better tool for teachers within the state of Alabama.

In addition to the course help, it has many links for professional development through Alexville. Although I could not access these sites, since they require registration and passwords, I think that these would be useful in our professional development as a teacher. The field of education is developing and changing at record pace and any information that would be available to help with your personal development and advancement is always a plus.

I found the Access Distance Learning Website to be equally impressive if not more so. In fact, even though this has been in existence since 2004, I had not heard of it before. Again, this could be because I am not yet an educator, and have just now returned to school to study this field but I would think that more promotion of these programs is in order. This is a tremendous program that has been recognized nationally for the strides it is making in the areas of improvements in test scores and graduation rates. I had no idea these initiatives had been established and think they are most definitely a move in the right direction for Alabama. The variety of classes is all inclusive on the high school level and according to their goals for the next 5 years, they hope to expand to the middle school level as well.

I think this is a great resource for students that are independent learners and are self motivated. It allows for a personalized plan in which they advance at their own pace and chose the enhanced courses that interest them. In today's technological world, I think this is a great option for our high school students. It allows them to have access to many subjects that they may not otherwise be exposed to within the walls of their school. It can only help to prepare the students for the ever changing world in which they are a part of!

I think that both sites should be a part of any teacher's PLN. Both allow access to knowledge that can be used within the classroom. Both are a great resource for subject specific data and professional development. I know I will refer to both as I further my education in hopes of becoming an educator in Mobile's school system.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

C4K - April Posts


I was assigned to view the blog page of Ms Thompson's 6/7 year students in Adelaide, Australia. Her blog contains a video for "Rocking Around the Clock" that the class performed. Charlotte T's blog was my assigned student. Her post was in reference to the performance.

Here is the comment that I left for her:

WOW! What a great performance!

My name is Lisa May and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile Alabama in the United States. I am studying to be a teacher and taking a course on technology and was asked to look at your blog page. I read your post about the performance and had to watch it! It looks like so much fun! I love that song, it just makes you want to smile and dance!

You are so lucky to have a teacher that is encouraging you to use technology in your education. Take advantage of it and learn all you can! I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. If you would like to visit my blog just click on the link. I would love for you to visit! Good luck with school and have fun on your trip to Hong Kong!


I was assigned to watch the talent show section of Mr. McClung's world. Aren't these students amazing! Take a look at his website,here he is doing some great things!

Below is the comment I left for the video- student performs a Weezer song:

Hi! My name is Lisa May and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I was assigned the video - 8th grader sings a Weezer song under the talent show heading. He is very talented on the guitar as well as his vocals! Talent shows always amaze me! I love watching them and am impressed by the talent and courage of the students that perform in front of their peers. I was always to shy and never really had any marketable talents to participate but definitely admired those who did!
I have enjoyed exploring your website and am very impressed by all the things you and your students are doing! I am very new to all of this technology and am continually amazed at all that is being done and the capabilities of the students! I look forward to the day that I have a classroom and can incorporate some of these things into my classroom!
My blog is not as extensive as your classes but I would love for you to visit and make any comments you can. I look forward to following your blog and to learning more great things!


Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog is exceptional! I have been clicking and reading and viewing for well over 2 hours now! I think that the organization is very easy to follow, even for a newcomer to technology like me. I really enjoyed the headers across the top that introduce her, the kids, how to comment, etc. These were extremely informative and helpful. As I was watching and reading, my 12 year old came into the room and he too was amazed that this was a 3rd grade blog. It sparked a great conversation about blogging and its usefulness in both the classroom and for the family. Their school does not use blogging but maybe I will suggest it to the teachers as a possibility for next year!

I really liked the links that she provided in the section about herself. I watched the presentation that she gave on Tech Talk Tuesday. This was an extremely informative video as well as an interesting link that I plan to add to my PLN. It is a site where educators from around the world can collaborate and share ideas about technology and teaching. I think this is so important because we should never stop learning and other teachers can be the best source for help! Here is the link - watch it if you get a chance!Teaching,Commenting and Encouraging Parent Participation

I also liked the video on how to leave a comment. This would be extremely helpful to anyone that is new to blogging. It really makes you think about the importance of what you say and how you say it!

The other thing that I really liked about her blog was the request for parental and family involvement. The questions that are asked in relation to each post really make you want to comment so you can add something to the class. I think these comments are probably as important as the actual blog because it will spark additional conversation within the classroom and the students are learning so much about different cultures, different backgrounds and how things have changed through the generations. And, in addition to all the excellent information that the students are being exposed to, they are learning about writing, grammar, spelling and punctuation! What a fun way to teach the basics of English class. Much more interesting than the way I learned it!

To sum it up, all I can say is that I wish more teachers were using classroom blogs like Mrs. Yollis. It is a tremendous educational tool for the students and the parents! I plan to have a class blog when I get into my own classroom!

C4K #10

I was assigned to comment on Adia's Babble Blog what an amazing 3rd grader! Her writing skills are tremendous! You can definitely see how blogging has had a positive impact. Her close attention to detail and description is exceptional! If I didn't know she was in the third grade, I would have thought her to be much older. The post I commented on was about her Girl Scout meeting in which they discussed Japanese culture. There were great pictures and very interesting facts. And the questions she posts at the end are perfect for inspiring comments. I hope that as teacher, I will be able to inspire my students as Ms. Yollis has to be such good writers and such good students!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Special Assignment Mr. McClung's World

After reviewing Mr. McClung's World, I was extremely impressed with his organization, forward thinking, teaching style and motivation. He seems to be willing to try educational techniques that are a little "outside the box" but I feel are effective in his classroom. I explored the tabs across the top, reading Mr. McClung's bio in which he seems to be a very interesting man. Both an exceptional educator and interesting person. It really appears that his students like him,enjoy his teaching style and are flourishing in this learning environment.

His rules are very explicit and straight forward. They are simple and easy to follow. Follow directions, stay in your seat, raise your hand for permission, make good choices and keep the teacher happy! I think as educators we sometimes think that things need to be complicated, that there needs to be long sets of instruction. But I think that what we will find, as Mr. McClung seems to have found, is that the simpler the better. Don't overwhelm them, just tell them what you expect! Children like boundaries so there needs to be guidelines but they have to have freedom to develop creativity and to learn.

Mr. McClung requires each of his students to have a day planner. I would assume that this is for them to learn organization skills that they will use not just in school but in real life. That is a lesson that we are never to young to learn and to use! If it is important write it down so that it doesn't get overlooked or forgotten. Being on time for assignments, meetings, projects, etc is extremely important and organization and time management contribute heavily to these. If the planner is used as it should be, and assignments are tracked, I am sure that they are done in a timely manner. His penalties for late homework are not unreasonable. They are similar to the penalties I incurred as a grade school and high school student. They do not seem too tough and the students in eighth grade are able to understand the consequences of bad decisions, including not doing work or assignments.

When reviewing Mr. McClung's World for the last assignment, I watched a video. I chose to look in April posts to find a post to review this time. I chose, Using Kagan Strategies – Circle the Sage post on 04/14. In this post he explains this technique of teaching. I think it is a good teaching strategy because it involves the students and lets them teach their peers. There is a video of the process in a future post as well on April 17. The students seem to have enjoyed it and it appeared to be a success. I think sometimes it is easier to learn something from a peer than it is to learn from the teacher. It somehow makes it more interesting and easier to remember when you hear it from someone else. I would be interested to see what Mr. McClung thought of the lesson and if he plans to continue using this style in his classroom.

Mr. McClung includes many useful links on his web page. The two I chose to explore wereDiscovery Education and The Scholastic Story Starter. Both are very educational and offer numerous resources for teachers, students and parents. I plan to list both on my personal PLN. They contain lesson plans, links to ideas for presenting subject matter, communication with other educators and great activities for the students. They are both applicable for all ages so which level you teach you will be able to find age appropriate material. The Scholastic site was highlighting the Story Teller page. It is a slot machine type game that gives suggestions for storytelling. It could be used to spark the imagination for individual stories or a collaborative group project. Either way, it would definitely ignite the creativity in the students to continue the story! I imagine these sites were included because of their usefulness and overall appeal to all involved in the education process. I know that I will use them when I have my classroom.

In regard to the host EduBlog, I did find the layout very useful. It seems to be well organized and easy to follow and find information. I really like the headers across the top. They help to navigate through the site more effectively. The only classroom blog that I have seen on Blogger is the EDM310 site and it seems to be just as easy to navigate. I have not found anything that would make me chose one over the other. They seem to be equal as far as I am concerned. In addition, I have not reviewed any other 8th grade blogs. Most that I have reviewed are of younger grades. So, Mr. McClung's blog is more advanced than some that I have reviewed but I suspect that is because his students are a little more advanced and warrant a more complex site. Overall, his site is one of the best that I have reviewed. He has so much information available through his posts, the student posts and the links. There isn't anything that he left out that I can see. I hope that when I have a classroom blog, it will be as comprehensive and as useful as his!

Blog Post #11

Ms. Cassidy's first graders were unbelievable! How great is it that they are being exposed to this amount of technology at such an early age? They are so inquisitive at that age and what better way to teach them than through a medium that that have only seen as entertainment before. All children love to see themselves on video so why not use it in the classroom to reiterate lessons that are being taught. The students take pride in what they are doing which sparks them to want to learn more and do more. And, isn't that our job as educators, to spark their interest to learn and to ignite that passion for education within our students?

Ms. Cassidy has found many techniques for the use of technology in her classroom. Just in that short video, use see students learning math, english and reading. When they can publish what they know through videos or blogs that are going to be seen by the entire world, it not only teaches them the facts but develops their self-confidence, their ability to work with others, their writing skills, and the list goes on and on. What could possibly be negative about it? I really like what she is doing and I hope that in the future, we see this as a standard in all classrooms!

I also liked her comments in the Skype interview about the safety of the children and internet use. I thought the idea of sending home a letter for permission on the first day of school was a great idea. It immediately lets the parents know what their children will be doing and that their safety is the number one priority. I also like the statement that she made that our job as educators is to teach them how to use the internet. Sure there are negative things out there but I would think that it is not a common circumstance that the children go looking for it. I am sure there is some curiosity but our job is to teach them to be responsible internet citizens as she stated. I think that is probably one of the best lessons that we can teach them!

I hope that when EDM310 is over, I will continue to learn about technology and it's potential uses in education. I hope to use blogs, videos, etc. once I have my own classroom. I have seen through Ms. Cassidy's interview and video that the students are never too young to begin using technology. They will improve their writing skills, communication skills and resourcefulness. And, it is all taught to them in such a way that it is fun and exciting! I know that whenever things are changing such as the way we teach, there will be some resistance. I think that Ms. Cassidy has the best approach by doing what she is doing in her classroom, and finding support where she can and understanding that there are varying views out there. As she stated technology is here to stay so why not start using it! I know that technology is ever changing and I hope that I can have the dedication and support to continually learn so that I will be able to prepare my students for their place in the world!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog Post #12

I came across this video on Youtube - Do You Teach or Do You Educate? I think a blog assignment in relation to this movie could be beneficial to all education majors.

The blog assignment would read something like this:

Watch the video, Do You Teach or Do You Educate. Think about why you became an education major. Write two paragraphs stating how you intend to educate rather than just teach.

If this would have been one of our assignments, my blog would have been:

How true is this video! We are called to be educators not just teachers! Our job is to lead the students and to engage them in such a way that we spark their creativity and we guide them to be the best that they can be. All students learn in different ways and if all we are doing is drilling them with facts and forcing our opinion upon them, will they be able to think for themselves when they "grow up"? Will they be able to take what they have learned in my classroom and apply it to real life? Will they know how to use the vast amount of information that is available to them through technology and the internet?

These are just a few of the challenges that we encounter as educators! I look forward to the challenge and hope to have a classroom that is enlightening, nurturing, engaging and successful in influencing the students to always want to learn more. I hope to inspire them to be forever students and to be willing to experiment with new things and to know that every experience is a learning experience. Some lessons will work, others will not but I hope to be an educator that is continually learning and inspiring my students to do the same!

I love the quote from Socrates, "Education is the kindling of a flame - not the filling of a vessel." What a statement and what a responsibility we have as educators! I look forward to the challenge and the responsibility!

Progress Report on Final Project

Thanks to Meghan Simmons, our group has an amazing idea for our final project. We will be meeting this Wednesday to "hash out" the details! If all works as planned, it will be a very useful wiki for educators to use to find funding for incorporating technology into their classroom! I look forward to working on it and developing the idea further!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog Post #10

In Morgan Bayda's Blog - An Open Letter to Educators, she presents some very interesting ideas and valid complaints. It is hard to sit through hours of lectures and to decipher that which is important and what needs to be retained for the "test". I have experienced both forms of education now. My previous experiences, before EDM310, consisted only of lectures and memorization. I was okay with it and graduated with my degree because that was all that was available or so I thought! Now that I have been exposed to a more collaborative form of education where there is conversation and creativity involved, I see how much greater things can be! How much more information is actually retained for future use and application when the student participates in the learning process. Any one can memorize a fact and spout it out for a test but can they really apply the process or use the lesson in the future. Have they really learned anything? In today's world, we as teachers need to focus on fostering the creativity and the application of facts not so much the facts. Sure, there has to be a balance and we want our students to "know" certain things but isn't it more important for them to know how to find the facts and use the facts rather than just memorize the facts? I think our challenge as teachers is to find the balance between the old form of education and the new form of education. It is to incorporate technology and be willing to adapt and change as the world continues to adapt and change.

In Dan Brown's video, he too raises some interesting ideas about knowledge and it's cost. Information is free on the internet to those that have access to the internet. So there is still some value to information. I agree that the way we educate must change and I think that it is coming but I don't think dropping out of school is the answer. There does need to be reform and we don't want our students so just conform as they have in the past but quitting won't change it either. Change is a slow process but it is happening! Participating and earning a degree to be able to teach and help with the change would seem to be a more productive way of challenging the system. Don't quit on the system, work within it, challenge it's boundaries and improve it so future generations don't encounter the same frustrations and limitations!

Below is the comment I left for Morgan:

Hi Morgan!

I enjoyed visiting your blog and reading your thoughts on education! I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Having been to school, earning my first degree over 20 years ago, and returning to school this semester, it is unbelievable how things have changed. My first degree was earned under the memorization of facts and professor lectures but this semester has really opened my eyes to a new way of learning! I have truly enjoyed all the technology that I have been exposed to and am impressed by the things that are happening in our schools. Although it may not be widespread yet, I think it is coming! As new teachers graduate and implement that which they have learned, it will change the face of education! We as teachers must be willing to continually learn and change so that our students are not struggling to stay awake in class. We must keep them engaged and interested so that their creativity is sparked and their enthusiasm developed for greatness!

While reading the articleDon't Let Them Take The Pencils Home, it made me think about how is easy it must be as a teacher to get wrapped up in the results of our teaching through the use of test scores. Unfortunately, our society and our education system want to put a measurement on everything and when the numbers are not what they want or expect, they want to find someone or something to blame. Like blaming the use of pencils to play with as the reason for low test scores! How crazy does that sound? Maybe as many of the students said in their comments about the article, as educators, we need to focus on the solution not the problem. Maybe we need to ask why the students aren't performing, I would guess that it has more to do with the style of teaching than the use of pencils to play hangman. I realize that a positive environment has an impact on education and that parental support is extremely important but if those things are not there, what can we as educators do to break that cycle. What kind of impact can we have on our students so that they grow to be concerned parents that foster the importance of education in their children. If we engage these students by their involvement in their education and show them the possibilities that are available to them through technology and creativity, we can change their world and thus the world around us. We must keep our eye on the big picture and not get bogged own with the details that can discourage us and make us lose sight of the ultimate goal, well educated productive, creative, contributing members of society!

Below is the comment that I left on the Mr. Spencer's blog page:

Hi! My name is Lisa May and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I read your blog as part of our weekly assignment. I found it very interesting! I will be following it in the future. I liked the storytelling style. When reading the conversation, it is so easy to see the sarcasm and the ridiculousness of the situation. Could "pencils" really have an impact on test scores? Who cares what they are writing/playing with them at least they are using them! Our job as educators should be to foster such a level of creativity and learning that it carries over into the after school life. I know we can't be involved in every aspect of our students lives but if we show them hope, concern and genuine possibility of an amazing future through creativity and education, we have done our job! The test scores are not the only measurement of our success as teachers!

C4T #2

Lucacept - Intercepting the Web

My name is Lisa May and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. I was assigned your blog to review for my comments for teachers assignment this month. I love looking at these blogs and seeing the many interesting things that the teachers are doing and the tools they are using in their classrooms!

That video was amazing! It is hard to believe how gullible that people can be! We are often moving so fast through life that we don’t take the time to actually “see” the things that are going on around us. It would be interesting to have talked to some of those people that received the kings autograph. Do you think they ever realized that it was an actor? Do you think that they will think and question the next “exhibit” they see? I bet if the visitors to the museum that day had been children, they would have questioned it. Children aren’t as afraid as adults to ask questions. They are very inquisitive whereas adults often just take it as truth and move on. This is just another reminder that we need to slow down, “see” the world around us and learn from it!

As an aspiring teacher, I would invite you to visit my blog and make any suggestions or comments. Any insights I can get from those that are using technology in their classrooms would be greatly appreciated!

Comment #2

The most recent post on my assigned teacher blog was about April Fool's! What a fun day! Check out this video on the "new" email from Google!

Here is the comment I left in regard to her blog:

Hi, My name is Lisa May and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I enjoyed reading about and watching your April 1st post. Isn’t April’s Fools a fun day! Google does have some great videos and pranks! I wonder how many people tried the “new email” out before realizing it was a joke? We live in such a fast pace world, I think sometimes we don’t really “see” what we are watching – which in turn can really make us look like a fool! Thanks for the post and the laugh! We all need to take the time to laugh!
My blog is a work in progress but I invite you to visit and comment! I look forward to reading about your thoughts on the conference you are attending this weekend!