Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blog Post #14

box of tricks

For this weeks assignment we visited Jose Picardo's blog site and also watched his video called "Top Ten Tricks for using Technology in the Classroom".  I can't begin to describe the amount of information I received from this weeks assignment.

In his video, Jose mentions ten things every teacher should do in their classroom.

You can access this short video at:

Top Ten Tricks for using Technology in the Classroom

Jose suggest using such things as music, Youtube, Skype, podcast, blogs, Wikis, social networks, gadgets, etc.  He suggest that teachers should use what ever tools their students are using at home or in their free time. This is what students are most comfortable with and we should adapt these tools to teach our curriculum.

Jose is a very soft spoken gentleman.  He is also very kind and generous and shares much information at his website.

You can access his website at:

In the resources tab, he list over 200 websites and tools for teachers to use in their classrooms. I have saved that page to my reading list and I look forward to adding many of his recommendations to my PLN.  In fact, I've already added his website to my PLN.  He is definitely somebody to follow.....if you want to learn more about technology in the classroom.

He really has left a huge "Box of Tricks" for all of us!  Many thanks Jose!

C4T #4 Summary

Success Failure sign
Which path will you take?
I have been blogging with Tom Schimmer for my C4T #4.  He has been blogging recently about implementing ideas in the classroom.  He has given some wise tips for teachers to remember while implementing new ideas in their classrooms.

Some of Tom's key points for success are:

-You must have a fidelity to implement what you have set out to do.
-You need to adapt for context (adjust the plan for individual differences).
-Don't over plan and be ready to erase or change the plans! Another words, use a short pencil with a big eraser!
-Plan for a few, quick results!  We all want to see that our efforts are being rewarded!  We all want some immediate, positive feedback.

All in all, he made some really good points.  All teachers can use some good tips on how to steer our students towards success.   I really enjoyed blogging with Tom and he gave me a lot to think about.                                                          

C4K November Summary

dancing turkey
Lets talk turkey!

I am very thankful that I have had the pleasure of blogging with many nice and wonderful  students during the month of November!

For my first assignment, I visited with Mr. McClung's class on his special assignment "Three Things Thursday".  In this weekly segment, the class post and views CNN Student News on their classroom blog. I really enjoyed watching  this news from around the world which was geared specifically for school children.  The news segment ended with a "Hero of the Week".  The students got to see somebody doing something good for their local community.  I always love hearing some good news and I am sure the students get a  lot out of this special program.

Next, I blogged with Silas who was a sixth year student at Pt. England School in Auckland, NZ.  We commented about an Immersion Assembly  that he had attended.  It was an assembly about the solar system and his teacher Mr. Somerville played the "star" in the program.  Silas really enjoyed learning about the solar system from this play!

I also got to visit with Mrs. Yollis' 3rd Grade Class on their wonderful blog site.  They have received many different awards for their classroom blog and you will enjoy seeing these third graders using technology and learning so much in their modern day classroom.

You can access their classroom blog at:

I had the pleasure of blogging with one of Mrs. Yollis' former students named Miriam who is now in fourth grade.  I was actually assigned to blog with her twice this month and, on both occasions, Miriam had posted a recipe she had cooked at her home.  The first recipe was for a dish called piroshki.  It is a type of meat pie and she posted pictures of her progress.  She later made homemade cupcakes shaped like owls.  I really appreciated her pictures and her directions.  Miriam is an unbelievable blogger....she made everything sound and look so good!  I was actually hungry after visiting her blog!  I know one day that Miriam will be a wonderful writer and cook!

PLN Final Report

cat and dog
My PLN is better than your PLN......or else!

I would like to describe my PLN.  I have been developing it for about two months.

I would like to say that  this has been an ongoing learning process for me.  I first started off using Netvibes for my PLN, but I seemed to have had some trouble navigating around in it.  I decided to quit using Netvibes and started using Symbaloo.  I must be more of a visual learner because my PLN really took off after I started using Symbaloo.

I love having these visual tiles for all of my favorite sites.  I have over 30 different sites on my PLN.  I have all of my tiles arranged by similarities.  For instance, I have all of my news tiles together, all of my social media tiles together, all of my favorite blogs together, my favorite tools together, and my favorite teacher sites together.  I immediately go to my PLN every time I log onto the Internet.  I use my PLN as my main tool for navigating around on the Internet.  I love having all of my favorite places displayed for me all on one page.  I am having so much fun with my PLN and I am constantly adding "new tiles" all the time.   I am sure that I will have to make second page very soon!

I have never had a PLN before this, I would like to thank you Dr. Strange for introducing me to this wonderful tool!

P.S.  I am a very organized type of person and my PLN really helps me to make sense out of all this information on the Internet.  :)

Final Project #16/Social Media in the Classroom

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Post #13

To begin with, I was wondering if having a Blog Post #13 was going to put me in an "unlucky" situation!  But, then I saw that we had several choices for this weeks blog.  Thank you Dr. Strange....I like having choices!  As I pondered about which assignment I would tackle, I knew that I wanted to do something a little different than our usual assignments.  I was very intrigued by the assignment of going without any electronics for a day or two, but I knew I couldn't possibly do that assignment!  I have teenagers and I have to be able to call them or receive calls from them at all hours of the day and night.  Plus, I have already experienced the "misery" of being without electricity and electronics many, many times after all the hurricanes I have lived through beginning with Hurricane Frederick in 1979.  It is truly miserable to be without electronics and all the fine conveniences we have today!

So, I decided that left me with the option of reading a book.  I was going on a long car trip this weekend  back and forth to the Auburn homecoming game and this would be a wonderful way for me to pass the time! I decided to check out a book from the lab and I read "Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire" by Rafe Esquith during my car trip.

man's hair on fire
I've got a burning, burning love for teaching!

First, I would like to say that I am so glad that I read this book!  It is one of the best books I've read in a long time and I read lots of books.  In the very beginning, I wasn't all that excited about reading a book about teaching.  However, my attitude quickly changed and I found myself thoroughly entertained and my car trip just flew by in no time at all! Upon completion of this book, I had this feeling that this is truly a book that all teachers and future teachers should have to read.  I also believe that principals should give this book to teachers who have gone stale and make them read it.  While we are at it... I believe all leaders, specialist, board members, legislators, etc.  anybody that has a hand in education ought to be required to read this book also! School systems and classrooms all over America would be much better off if they did!

I will try to summarize this book for my blog assignment, but I must recommend to anybody reading my blog to just go on ahead and read this book.  You will be glad that you did!  This story is based on real life experiences that happen in Room 56.  The classroom is located in a bad area of Los Angeles, California.  The students are fifth graders and they are taught by Rafe Esquith.  This book was not written to brag about what a wonderful teacher is doing out west in California, but was written rather as a guide, a plea, a challenge to all teachers every where to "teach like their hair's on fire"!

Throughout his book, Rafe mentions many great techniques to help students become educated and well rounded members of our society.  As teachers, we are the role model on how to be a good citizen.  We have to earn and gain our students trust.  Then, and only then, we can begin teaching our students to have a personal code of behavior and to follow it (the Atticus Finch Level of "To Kill a Mocking Bird").  No longer should they do something or not do something based on fear, reward, or to please someone else.  Each student has to develop and stretch farther than that and come up their own personal code of behavior that is a very real part of their own individual soul.  In Rafe's opinion, this personal code of behavior is just as important a skill to teach as math, science, etc.

Rafe goes on to give his methods and successes for teaching everything from reading to music to P.E.  For example, reading should only be taught with joy, passion and excitement. Rafe even lists some of his favorite works, books, movies and plays.  All of his favorites also teach some sort of moral or life lesson.  He also  gives some great examples of how to take the boredom out of social studies.  He recommends using hands on activities with students like using to teach geography.  He also suggest investing in the Marcy Cook method of teaching children math in a very "meaningful and useful" way.  You can get more information at  Science should always be taught in a lab, not out of a book...and on and on and on.  He even gives instruction on how to teach the best game ever!

The children also learn economics using a hands on approach.  The students in Room 56 are all given several classroom jobs the first day of school.  Each of these jobs receives some type of payment and the children receive a monthly paycheck for their accumulated work.  The children deposit this money with their banker.  Then, they use their money to rent their seat in the classroom.  They even use ledger sheets, checks, and fake money.  Rafe teaches them to save their money and to delay gratification....skills that they need for real life.  He also teaches them to problem solve by using a method.  First, understand the problem and then choose an appropriate strategy.  You are know ready to solve the problem and then analyze your answer.  They go over this in great detail throughout the year and they use real life situations and problems.

Rafe also does a great job of  building character in his students.  During the Christmas season, the class gets together on December 24 to feed, entertain, and clothe five hundred homeless people.  He has students who are now in high school and college who will still come back to help with this annual event.  He even gets the parents involved and they all try to do so much for the community.  In Rafe's own words, he says "I am proud of my students for many reasons.  I love to celebrate with them when they get accepted to college, etc...but, when it is all said and done, I am most proud of their service to others".

I would not be able to summarize this book without mentioning that Rafe has a special name for Rm 56.  He calls his students the "Hobart Shakespeareans".  He uses Shakespeare throughout the year to teach many valuable lessons to his fifth graders.  Every year, they also have a Shakespeare production performed by the kids.  They spend the whole year preparing for it and it includes speaking roles, music, dance, and an intermission complete with food and drink!  Rafe believes the production teaches the students about language, music, teamwork, risk, discipline, hard work and self-discovery.

This book made me laugh, it made me smile, it made me feel warm, and it made me cry.  I got to read about a teacher who goes the extra mile every day he goes to work.  Rafe stays after school most days and is involved with the students even on the weekends.  He takes them on special trips and he even attends their high school and college graduations.  His job never ends and he tirelessly works as hard as he can to reach each and every one of his students and he tries to make a real difference in all of their lives.

I have always heard that teaching is a profession, but I had a different feeling after reading this book.  Teaching is really more like a business.  Each room is a different company or business.  Each teacher is the business owner.  There are always unpleasant things to be done in each business. It might be paying the bills or mopping the floor, or filing papers, or dealing with an unsatisfied customer.  In the classroom some of the unpleasant things might be giving standardized test, teaching with textbooks, dealing with demanding personnel, not having adequate supplies, etc.

But heres the rub....for the business (classroom) to do really well, the businessman (teacher) has to do his very best.  If he doesn't, then his business will fail and he will eventually have to close it or go out of business.  But the really good businessman will always go the extra mile to make sure that everything is running smoothly.  He will make changes where ever he sees necessary.  He is always ready to move forward or change for the benefit of his company.  He will work nights and weekends if necessary.  He will give his best work and adequate time for his company.

We teachers need to move away from the idea that we are professionals.  We need to start looking at ourselves as professional "business owners" and our job is to keep our business going this year and every year.  We have to go the extra mile, we have to try our hardest, we have to reach our students, we have to bring out the best in them... no matter what it takes.  We have to succeed, they have to succeed, our classroom has to succeed.....or its finished.  It is essential that we have that commitment and that drive of a successful business owner.  I saw that in Rafe and he really is teaching like his hair, his heart, his body,  his soul and everything is on fire!  He is doing whatever it takes and he is running a very, very successful company in Rm 56 and everyone is better for it!  Its a win-win situation and his company is definitely in the green!

So, if you want to know how to be a great teacher...
do yourself a favor.... and read this book!
Then, go out and teach like your hair is on fire!

P.S.  By the way, Blog Assignment #13 didn't turn out to be unlucky after all.  In fact, I feel extremely lucky for having had the opportunity to read this book and learn from Rafe.

Project #15/Smartboard Part 2

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Special Metaphor Assignment/Additional Post #1

metaphor cartoon

Well, according to Dr. Strange, it looks like most of our class should just go on and  flush Blog Post # 10 down the toilet!  Speaking for myself, I guess I missed the point because I really had my head in the clouds!

It looks like we really were beginning to grate on Dr. Strange's nerves.  We really made him boiling mad that most of us completely missed the metaphor of Tom Johnson's  "Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home".

I do hate to leave all of this on a sour note, so I need to say.....
Dr. Strange...
Please forgive me for not hitting the nail on the head with this assignment!   And, while your at it, go on and forgive the whole bunch!  We are such little babe chicks and we have a lot of growing to do!

So, I plead you to take a chill pill and lighten up!  Don't feel blue anymore.  You have definitely given all of us something to chew on and , hopefully, we all now see the light!  You have brought us out of the darkness...there is no gray any more.

I want to leave on a high note...
and let you know that I completely understand metaphors now and how much fun it is to use them to make a point.  I also understand how important it is to spread the word to my students!  I don't want them to be a bunch of Plane Janes and the use of metaphors can make their life and their writing so very colorful!  They can have the whole world at their fingertips if they just use metaphors.

Thank you so much for really making me see the light!  You are my Savior!

Your biggest fan,

Kathy Zoghby

P.S.  I hope you don't think this is a suck up.....I was just doing my assignment!  I really hope I was on the right page this time!!??!!??
Over and out......

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog Post #12 My Blog Assignment for EDM310

A few weeks ago I was blogging with my C4T.  The teacher I was  blogging with was Doug Peterson and I stumbled upon one of his post that really interested me.  He mentioned a web application called Flipsnack.  I have decided to make Flipsnack my EDM310 Blog Post #12 Assignment.

So, here goes:

Thoroughly review the following blog post by Doug Peterson on the application Flipsnack:

Doug off the record

Make sure that you view Doug's October Blog that he made into a Flipsnack book.  You can access it below:

View this teacher website for pros and cons of using Flipsnack in the classroom.

Comments on FlipSnack

Download the Flipsnack application and add it to your PLN by clicking below at:


Thoroughly investigate the site, so you have a clear understanding of this application.

Create a Flipsnack version of your blog or any other documents that you would like to turn into book form. To create a book of your blog, I offer these suggestions from Doug:

               I could export my blog (say the month of October) from WordPress as an XML
                    file;      (This may be different for blogger).

                    I could upload that file to Blogbooker to create a PDF file of my blog;
                    I could then upload that to Flipsnack and create a flippable version of my blog.

 Post your new Flipsnack book in this weeks blog.

Create a book for children with Flipsnack and share it with the classroom you are blogging with this month.  Share the Flipsnack application site with your C4K.  Also, post your children's book in this weeks blog.

Think of the many different ways you could use this application in your future classroom with your students.  Write two or more paragraphs of how you plan to use Flipsnack in your classroom by following the requirements of   Writing a Quality Blog Post .

Now I get to do this assignment, so here we go again:

First, I would like to discuss how I would use Flipsnack in the classroom.  I think it is a wonderful tool and I believe that children love seeing their work in book form.  I think it is also very easy to share.

I can see using this application to share students art work and their stories.  You can also make a book about the different projects you collaborate on throughout the year.  A book can be made about each unit of study whether it be Fall, Thanksgiving, Mardi Gras, Farm Animals, Dinosaurs, an Alphabet Book, a Number Book, etc.  You could make a book from your class blog for each month or each season.

I think the parents would also enjoy viewing all of the books throughout the year and the books would also be very easy to share with other Internet classrooms.  I think Flipsnack is a very good way to showcase and finalize any project or unit of study!

One of the negatives about this application is that it could wind up costing a lot of money if you make a ton of books.  You would have to see if you could get some type of classroom or teacher discount to make it worth it!

My Flipsnack Blog Book:

My Blog Book

Another possibility would be to try using
It is a social network that also lets you create books.  The books aren't as fancy as Flipsnack, but its free!

Here's my Scribd Book:

Katherine Zoghby's EDM310 Class Blog

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Final Project Progress Report

finish line
I can almost see the finish line!

I am working with Justin Cometti and Latisha Williams for our Final Project for EDM310.  We have decided our project will instruct teachers on how to use social media in the classroom.  We will give three different approaches to using social media with students.  Justin will demonstrate and discuss how to use Wikis, Latisha will demonstrate and discuss how to use Twitter, and I will demonstrate and discuss how to use EdModo.  We are currently researching our individual topics.  We will get together after the Thanksgiving holiday to collaborate and finalize our project.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

C4K#10 Mrs. Yollis' 3rd Grade-California

We were instructed to go to Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog.  We were to explore the blog, click on all links and tabs, and review all of their material.  We were specifically asked to note how she involves her students, her parents, and other classrooms from around the world.

classroom kids
Mrs. Yollis' Class
You can access the site at the address below:

Well, just in case you were wondering, it took well over an hour to view all of her blog.  It was unbelievable and I am sure her classes have been blogging for a long time!  In fact, if you want to learn how to blog, just go to her site.  She definitely is one of those teachers who has ridden the technology wave and moved her classroom right on along into the high tech world during her 25 years of teaching!

award plaque                                         

                      In fact,
                      she has one many awards over the years...
                      like the one I have added here!

Not only is she a great teacher and blogger, but she is very talented in all types of technology.  She has her masters degree in "Integrating Technology in the Classroom".  Mrs. Yollis loves to travel with her husband  in her free time.

I will have to say that Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog is the most extensive classroom blog I have ever seen.  It really is mind boggling and it is like a professional website.  It really makes me feel like such a baby when it comes to technology and I don't know if I will ever be able to do all of that.  She must have a lot of classroom volunteers!!??!!!

Mrs. Yollis also includes many valuable resources for her readers by adding many links and tabs.  In fact, I have downloaded two of her sites to my PLN for future teacher references and resources.  She really does like to engage her students, her parents, and her visitors on her blog site.  There are so many things any visitor can learn here!  You can learn about California, Australia, Georgia, how to take digital pictures, hear a joke of the day, watch a movie about westward expansion, etc.  And, of course, enjoy tons and tons of blogging and comments!  She really has done an outstanding job and she makes her site so very visitor friendly!

I truly believe what she wrote on her blog:
"I love being a teacher and a life long learner"!

                     Honestly, I think the world needs more teachers just like her!

Internet Safety for Classroom Students/Skype Interview

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Post #11

baby on computer
Type on..........

This week we got to watch a video and view a  Skype session with a 1st grade class in Moose Jaw, Canada.  Kathy Cassidy is the teacher of this high-tech first grade classroom.
first grade sign

We watched a wonderful video of all the neat things Ms. Cassidy is doing with her first graders.  We actually saw them using Smart boards, lap tops, videos, Skype, and Nintendo DS.  The first graders were blogging, going to web pages, using Wikis, skyping with other classrooms, and collaborating together on technical projects. WOW!

Check it out at:

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class

We then got to watch a Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy and Dr. Strange's EDM310 class.  She discussed how she began using technology in her classroom.  She got her start ten years ago when five computers were donated to her classroom.  She began using resources from the Internet for her new computer center.  Ms. Cassidy's class began blogging  five years later and began making videos about two years ago.  It has been a process and she attributes her success to a very supportive technical coordinator.

She begins each school year by going over all the safety rules--- the children are not allowed to post their full name or give out any personal information.  The kids, as well as the parents, love seeing their work online and the children are improving their writing, audio, video, and technical skills.  The kids also like having an audience for their work and they especially enjoy the comments.  Her students usually blog at least once a week and have really learned so much from collaborating and working with others.

baby on computer

Ms. Cassidy believes that technology is here to stay and, as teachers, we should embrace it and find ways to incorporate it into our classrooms.  Technology is a part of the children's world in their homes and it should also be a part of their education.  Each teacher can slowly and easily introduce technology into their curriculum.  With the world ever changing, we need to do our part to keep our classrooms current!

Ms. Cassidy did a wonderful job of showing that technology can even be used in the early elementary classroom.  I really needed to see that because I felt that a lot of EDM310 is geared towards using technology with the upper elementary and high school students.  I really agree with Ms. Cassidy that we need to embrace technology because it isn't going away.  I believe that technology doesn't have to replace education, but that it is something that we can slowly infuse into education and it can complement our curriculum.  Teachers can grow and learn and, at their own pace, comfortably introduce new technologies into their classrooms.

I think one thing that scares many teachers is that they can sometimes feel that all of this technology is so overwhelming.  They have to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and as long as they are moving forward....they are making progress!  Ms. Cassidy's calm and easy delivery of incorporating technology into her curriculum is a wonderful example of what we should all be doing!  If we have the resources available to us...we should move forward!

baby on computer
Never lose the wonder.....

If you are interested in learning how to set up  your own classroom blog like Ms. Cassidy, you might want to check out this tutorial:

Friday, November 4, 2011

C4K October Summary

Halloween cat and pumpkin

For the month of October, I got to blog with some very special students!

I got to wish a very "Happy Birthday" to Isaac from Room 6 Pt. England School in New Zealand.  He had posted a picture of a birthday cake and a video of his thoughts on his special day!  He did a very good job for a seven year old!  I was really amazed by the work those young kids are doing on their blog site "Little Voices, Little Scholars"!

My next assignment was to blog with Dartarian from Room 10 at Pt. England School in New Zealand.  He was learning about Paris and he drew a picture of himself in front of the famous "Arc de Triomphe".  We blogged about the history of that special site and how many famous people have passed under it's arches.  I told him that he looked the best!

I also blogged with yet another class at Pt. England School.  I visited with Room 17 and learned all about the bittern.  It is a coastal bird that is indigenous to that area and is now extinct.  They did a wonderful Google Presentation about the bird.  I learned what they ate, how big they grew, and how many eggs they laid.  I also got to thank them for getting the word out and how important it is for each of us to do our part to protect our native animals!

Lastly, I blogged with a student named Gabriel.  He was given many writing assignments.  I really liked his writing and description of the cabin in the woods.  He also talked about cyber bullying!  I told him that I really liked that he had learned to report improper behavior and to never give out his blog password to anyone.
School students

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Post #10

Fire Extinguisher

Our first assignment for this week’s blog was to watch a video called “Do You Teach or Do You Educate?”.  It was created by a college student named Joshua Bloom.  You can access this video below:


For a three minute video, it really had so much to say!  He starts off the video with a shot of a classroom, then a desk, and then a fire extinguisher.  Joshua then gives the definition of teaching from the dictionary.  It seemed to be very simple and exact and it had a lot of limitations! 

Then, he went on to describe what it means to educate.  He used such words as illuminate, empower, enlighten, inspire, etc.  An educator gives intellectual, social, and moral instruction…he is an experienced and trusted advisor who shows the way.  He is truly a mentor and the goal of real education is to build intelligence and character in our students.  As the video ends, he takes you back to the classroom and the fire extinguisher and slowly fades away from the scene. 

I couldn’t help but feel that he was asking the viewer…

“Are you going to extinguish the flames of your students or are you going to ignite the fire?”

 It was truly a very deep video and really makes you think.  My biggest goal as a teacher is to encourage my students to be lifelong learners.  I want to educate and not just teach a bunch of facts.  I want to put a fire in the belly of my students, so they don’t ever want to quit learning!

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”.

apple and pencil

Our second assignment was to read and comment on the article written by Tom Johnson called “Don’t Let Them Take Pencils Home”.   You can access the article below:

The article was written in conversation form and was about two teachers discussing about whether it was a good idea for students to take pencils and paper home.  One teacher was arguing that studies show that students who take home pencils are more likely to do poorly on standardized test.  Therefore, at all cost, students should not be allowed to take pencils home.

Tom Johnson was much more in favor of letting students take pencils home.  It was apparent that he felt that all learning is not always measurable.  Every time a student has a pencil in his hand, he has an opportunity to learn whether he is writing a paper or playing hangman.  We are all learning everyday with all of our five senses and we don’t need to be concerned about the latest study or the newest trend in education.  There is so much more to learning!
I couldn’t help but think that this article had a much bigger overall message. Teaching, in general, should not be limited or over scrutinized.  We can truly never really know how much each student is learning and, therefore, we need to just offer our students many unique and exciting ways to explore and learn.  Most importantly, as teachers, we need to make sure that we are engaging our students and that they are having fun as they learn! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung reflects on teaching...

I just hate being a new born teacher!

I have just finished reading Mr. McClung’s reflection on his first year of teaching.  Nobody likes to be the “new kid” on the block and the first year of any job is always hard.  However, there is nothing like the first year of teaching!  You have to please yourself, maybe your family, your students, your student’s parents, your coworkers, and your bosses. 

Mr. McClung does a good job of blogging about all of his trials and errors from his first year of teaching and what he has learned.  He learned how to be flexible and reasonable, while keeping a positive attitude.  He also learned many communication skills like listening to your students and “reading the crowd”.  One of the most important things that he learned was to never be afraid to use technology in the classroom and never, never quit learning as a teacher!

I have already experience nine years of teaching and there is one thing I would add to the list:

Always be able to laugh at yourself!

twin babies
The second year is double the fun!

I then had the pleasure of reading about his second year of teaching.  Of course, he started the year off teaching a new grade, in a larger school, and responsible for several new subjects!   He was basically back to square one! 

He did seem to be much more mature and he really dug in deeper on evaluating his second year of teaching.  He suggested finding another experienced teacher to help you and he labeled his “my school mom”.   He learned to check his ego at the door and not to be a control freak!  He also got his first taste of not always getting along with the administration!  Welcome to the real world!  As teachers just coming out of college we are given all of these wonderful, creative, inspiring ideas on how to be great teachers.  Then, when we go to apply them in our new classroom….we end up hitting a brick wall (called the principals and administration)!  Oh, well…He now knows that it’s not a good idea to sweat all the small stuff!  He has also learned to dole out more of the work to his students.  

Mr. McClung knows he still has a long way to go, but he realizes that his biggest goal from now on is to not become professionally stagnant.  Truly, that should be every teacher’s biggest goal!

C4T #3 Summary

I have been assigned to blog with Doug Peterson at his blog site:

doug, off the record

He is an instructor of faculty of education at the University of Windsor.  He also has a long list of other accomplishments and achievements throughout the years.  He is very proficient in computer technology and computer science.  He contributes often to many different educational organizations in Ontario.

crazy computer

I first commented with him about his blog "Websites that should make you go Hhmmmm....".  He had listed several Internet sites that sounded very questionable. He made fun of such sites as:  Buy Dehydrated Water; The Uncyclopedia; California Velcro Crop; Free Online Pregnancy Test; etc.  He is very clever and funny but he still makes a good point that we need to really make sure that we are going to reputable sites.

Secondly, I went to his most current blog post in which he recommended an application called "Flipsnack".  You can download it for free and you can use it to make virtual books.  He had taken his blog post for the year 2011 and made it into a book.  You can literally see his whole year of post in "book form" and you can actually flip the pages.  It was so cool!  He sure does blog a lot because he had a really big book!

I told him that I am definitely downloading that application and that I would recommend it to my classmates on my blog.  I can see it being a great tool to use in the elementary classroom also!  You can access the application below:


Happy Journaling!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post #8

baby dreaming
Dream on....

This week we viewed a video on Youtube called "This is How We Dream" by Dr. Richard Miller. The video was about how writing has changed due to new technology. No longer is writing just something to be done in MicroSoft Word, but it can now be done digitally. Images, film, and sound can be weaved into any document written today. We can also research anything we would want to write about immediately from our computer, without ever having to go to the library! In fact, people are composing with the web itself!

I found it interesting that Dr. Miller mentioned that a written article or paper in the past took about two years for it to get out and circulate in his field. However, today a written article can reach millions of people in just a few days. It really is impossible to understand and get a grasp on how quickly the world is changing around us.

As teachers, we need to inspire our students and collaborate with them. We need to be more in tune to teaching creativity and curiosity. The future of teaching is all about ideas, and not about teaching facts. When we teach children ideas, then we can inspire dreams!

We also viewed Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12.

She had her own idea for a new EDM310 assignment and shared it on her blog. I must say that I thought it was brilliant and it kind of brought all the ideas of the Edm310 class together in one nice little package. She suggested that our assignment would be for each of us to make our own "Youtube Playlist". We should have a minimum of ten videos that describe our teaching philosophy, ways to motivate our students, tips for classroom management, topics related to our particular field of study, current trends in education, etc.

She actually created the assignment in her blog because she had so many video sites for us to visit as she described the whole thing. We got to witness first hand her teaching philosophy as we clicked on each new link!

So.....I'm game! I'm ready!

We also got to view two more creations by former EDM310 students.
We watched "The Chipper Series"

and "EDM310 for Dummies"
both by Jamie Lynn Miller.

There was some wild and crazy acting going on as you watched a procrastinator at work in "The Chipper Series". There was also some wild frustration coming out in "EDM310 for Dummies". These were two cute videos making fun of keeping up with school work and being able to understand all this new technology. I will say...I would like to really, really buy that book called "EDM310 for Dummies"! I need all the help I can get!

Lastly, we viewed a video called "Learn to Change, Change to Learn"!

This was a really good video about how learning needs to change in our school system.  In the video, they mentioned that the U.S. Department of Commerce did a study recently in the industry of IT intensiveness and measured 55 different industry sectors.  Sadly, education came in dead last.....they were even behind coal mining!  What a shame!  However, I am not surprised!  

The school systems don't have the money to have all the high tech equipment to compete with the private sector.....same old story!  Now that computers are more affordable, the schools are finally getting them and they are trying very hard to play catch up.  Most teachers are way behind also and they certainly don't know how to incorporate technology into the curriculum.  I feel it will take a good, long while for education to get back in the game.

The video also mentioned that all of these students today have very rich environments with social networking, media, electronics, gaming, etc.  However, when they come to school, they have a poor environment that has none of these things.  We really need to "have a death of education" for there to be a "dawn of learning".

Sad, but true..............

Project #11 Short Movie "The Very Busy Spider"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My First PLN Report

Personal Learning Network

I have downloaded Netvibes and have downloaded many other favorites.  I now have Safari, Facebook, Twitter, Tweet Deck, Utube, Picasa, Skype, Drop Box, Delicious, Google Earth, Audacity, FireFox, Timetoast, Blog sites, educational sites, etc.  I have also been saving a lot of my favorite places in my bookmarks and my reading list.  I plan on coming up to the lab this week to get help in gathering all of these different sites and favorites and placing them in Netvibes.  I do see this as a powerful tool and I am all about organization!  I do feel that I have learned a lot in this class and I have been to so many sites that I had never seen before.  I am also doing so many things I have never done before.  However, all of this is so jumbled up! I do need some way of organizing it and having it all make sense.   I think Netvibes (and my PLN) will help put all of this information I have been gathering all in one neat organized place.  I will also enjoy adding more sites to my PLN in the future.

I think once I really get a handle on my PLN.....everything else will just fall into place!

Blog Post #7 "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"

Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch    1960-2008

This week for our blog assignment we viewed Randy Pausch's Last Lecture that was posted on Utube.  He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from cancer in 2008.  This last lecture before he died was called "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams".  I really enjoyed his last lecture and I believe that all teachers would benefit from viewing it.  However, it was over an hour in length and I can't possibly mention everything that he covered.  I will try to hit upon a few key points and some of my favorites.

Randy's lecture was broken up into basically three topics:

He talked first about his childhood dreams. Some of his childhood dreams were to experience zero gravity, to play in the NFL, become Captain Kirk, be an author in World Book Encyclopedia, win lots of  big stuffed animals at the fair, and work as an imagineer at Disney World.  He surprisingly managed to do all of these things except play in the NFL and become Captain Kirk.  However, he did play high school football and he did get to meet and work with William Shatner.  He mentioned that his family made him into the man that he is today and everything he has achieved was accomplished by learning the fundamentals and working hard.  There will always be brick walls that come up and get in the way, but these walls can prove to us how badly we really want something.  So many things....we can learn indirectly.  In fact, he summed it up best when he said "Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted".

Randy then talked about enabling others to achieve their childhood dreams. We all need help in achieving our goals and we can learn so much from others, such as teachers, professors, parents, colleagues, friends and mentors.  We can even learn from students!  Randy gave so freely of his time as a professor and he really had fun and motivated his students.  Throughout his lecture, you could see that his style of teaching was more project based, with intense learning, fun experiences, and even field trips!  They did such fun projects such as working for Disney, creating virtual worlds, starting the Dream Fulfillment Factory curriculum, and developing Alice (a self taught computer programming course).  All of his students in his masters program were guaranteed employment upon graduation by several big companies from all over the world.  Randy and his students were learning and developing new technologies as they went and they were way ahead of their time.  So many of the programs he started are still going on today, but they are even better and more advanced!

Lastly, he talked about all the lessons that he had learned along the way. He reminded us to have fun learning and never lose our wonder.  We should be there to help others along the way and we should remain loyal.  Most importantly, we should work hard and never give up.  I certainly agree with his teaching philosophy...we need to focus on our students and teach them to be good at something because it makes them more valuable. We always need to find the best in our students and prepare them for the world by being earnest, telling them the truth, giving feedback, and listening.  We should never bail out on our students and we should never be afraid to apologize.  I think he summed it up best when he mentioned that the most important thing we can do for our students is to teach them to be Tiggers and not Eeyores.  Another words, if we are to be life long learners, then we shouldn't be complaining along the way!  We should just do better!

After listening to this lecture, I did come away with an overall philosophy about teaching in the 21st century.  I plan to provide a learning environment that is interesting and motivating to my students.  I plan to support my students in any way that I can.  I will always try to remember the huge impact I can have on their dreams and I will try to give them the tools they they will never give up!


Randy Pausch and kids                          By the's the twist!
                          Randy's lecture wasn't for you or for me....
                                       It was for his kids!

Summary of Teacher Blog Post #3 and #4

Japanese building

I had the pleasure of blogging with an eighth grade teacher from Liberty, Missouri named Eric Langhorst. He is a social studies teacher who had the privilege of visiting Japan this past summer on some sort of special fellowship program. He was voted Teacher of the Year in Missouri during the 2007-2008 school year.

He definitely is a great teacher because I learned so much about Japan from his blog. He did a great job of describing the cities, the transportation, and the cuisine. He even attended a baseball game. He took a lot of video of his trip and posted them on his blog. It was very interesting to get an outsider's (and a teacher's) view of Japan. He went into such detail about his trip that he even described how much better the vending machines were in Japan!

You can view Eric's trip at:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September CFK (Comments for Kids)

classroom kids

Our class has had the privilege of commenting with several different students and classrooms around the world on their classroom blogs.  I must say that our  CFK  #1 assignment was the first time that I have ever communicated with a classroom student over the Internet.

 I blogged with a student in Iowa and she had posted a beautiful wordle and written a poem all about herself.  Then, I went all the way to the United Kingdom and I blogged with a student about her  day trip to Alton Towers Theme Park.  I found out that Alton Towers is very similar to our "Disney World".  Next, I got to blog with a more "local" classroom.  I blogged with the St. Elmo Explorers about all the new ipads their classrooms had received from a special grant from Ms. Lucy Buffett.  You could see how excited all the students were with their new ipads and I was so surprised at how much they had already learned.  They had also done so much work with their classroom blog in such a short time!  Lastly, I blogged with Josh from New Zealand about places he would love to visit.  I also got to vote on a "new" flag for New Zealand.

All of the kids are really having fun and they are so creative with their blog sites.  You can really see learning taking place through this new technology.   It is very exciting that I get to be a part of this!

The Hang Out's Burp Back Education Podcast--Project #8

Should we teach students so they can perform well on test or is there something more to great teaching? Watch this and you decide:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Post #6

This week we viewed a video online called "The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler. 

 You can view it at:


The “cartoon style” video demonstrated how students are learning today.  Students today are learning on line through the method of connectivism.  Connectivism is a theory that learning can occur through social networking using many diverse connections and ties. 

The video explained how a student could learn about a particular subject matter by using many different internet tools.  The tools suggested were:                                             

PLN’s;  Google scholar;  social bookmarking sites;  blogs;  reader tubes to manage blogs updates;  Skype;  posted videos;  voice threads;  wiki;  etc.

 The teacher’s job is to offer support and guidance to the students.  The teacher shows the students how to build a network and how to communicate effectively.  The teacher also trains the students to differentiate between good information and propaganda.  She helps them with resources and web searches and shows the students how to organize their information.

I found the video to be very helpful and informative.  I can see that this could definitely be the “new way” of learning in the classroom.  This method is a great tool for learning, but I feel it is only appropriate for the older students.  I have not really seen anything that I feel is geared towards the younger grades.  Hopefully, in this class, we will get an opportunity to see some “technology at work” with younger students.

Personal Learning Network

Secondly, we viewed a seventh grade student’s personal learning environment (PLE).   I was very impressed to see her PLE.  She had many different sites to help her learn.  She also had everything very organized.  She mentioned several times that she has to manage her time wisely in this student centered learning environment. 

I can definitely learn a lot from this student as I compare her PLE to my PLN.  I do need to do a better job of organizing my PLN.  I also need to make my PLN more meaningful to me.  I need to add more things that I am interested in, so that I will continue to use my PLN when I am through taking this class!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blog Post #5

The first assignment this week was to read a post by Dr. Scott McLeod called:
Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please

Dr. McLeod is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership.  He works at the University of Kentucky and is a national leader and expert in K-12 school technology.  He is listed as the nations  "Top 20 People to Watch" in the field of education.

In this article, he did a little "spoof" on not letting your kids or students get on the Internet.  He poked some  fun at all the reasons people use to keep kids off the Internet, instead of people realizing all the good reasons why kids should be on the Internet.   He really made an excellent point and the benefits far outweigh the negatives.  Basically, the students who have access to technology are much better off and much more prepared to work in today's world.

Our second assignment was to watch a video posted to Utube by a high school student named Travis Allen.
You can view it at:

The iSchool Initiative

I was really impressed by this young persons presentation on how to save money and resources by using iPads  and iPhones in the classroom.  He suggest using iSchool apps such as:
email- for communication between school and home; world wiki; USA Presidents; Star Walk-for astrology; formulae-for math and science formulas; recorder; notes; calculator; calendar; books and libraries on line; and even iHomework.

Classrooms would no longer need to spend money on paper, pencils, copiers, books, calculators, etc.  He even came up with how much money the schools would save if they just went green with iPads.  He is now in college and working as hard as ever to bring technology into the classroom.
You can even join his cause at
iSchoolInitiative or iSchooladvocate

We also got to view:

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

I really enjoyed watching this video of  "Lux Aurumque" being performed by over 185 vocalist.  What was really unique about this performance was that it was all done virtually.  None of the 185 performers had ever met or practiced before and they all came together to make this video via the internet and posted it on Utube. It is absolutely amazing and beautiful.  I was really blown away and I had no idea that this kind of production could be done!  I must say....I am learning a lot from this class.

Lastly, we viewed the following video by Kevin Roberts:

Teaching in the 21st Century

It is very hard to sum up this nine minute video because there was so much covered in it, but I will try to touch on a few points.  Basically, the author was pointing out that in todays world teachers are no longer the main source of information.  Teachers don't need to be teaching facts or content, they need to be teaching students the skills and the tools for finding information.  They also need to be teaching students how to problem solve.

Mr. Roberts really went into detail about the difference between the entertainment aspect of  technology versus the engagement aspect of technology.  Teachers really need to focus on engaging their students in the learning process and we need to take advantage of the internet and all the resources available.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summary of Teacher Blog Post #1 & #2


For my first teacher blog assignment, I was to view and comment on a teacher named Elvira Deyamport. She teaches in the gifted program at her school and teaches an enrichment program in Spanish.

The first time we blogged with each other, I commented on a site that she had developed for teachers of gifted students. The name of the site is The Gifted Teachers Exchange Wiki.  It is a great site for teachers to collaborate and share resources. Teachers are encouraged to upload content and contribute to the resource library. I thought it was such a great idea and very important for teachers to have a special place to share ideas on how to best meet the needs of the gifted students.  I told her I would recommend her site.  She told me that they have a huge following on Skype and she thanked me for spreading the word.

I also viewed her blog post about  "Math Skype Buddies".  The students played a place value number game with another class via Skype.  Each student was given a job.  They even made a video of the game being played by the two classes and posted it with their blog.  I really enjoyed watching the video and you could really see the idea in action and you could tell that the students were really learning and enjoying themselves.  I thanked her for sharing the fun learning game and the video.  She also shared a link for some ideas for math games.
Mega-Fun Math Games: 70 Quick and Easy Games to Build Math Skills by Dr. Michael Schiro and Anna Walker 
She told me that the class really had fun and they looked forward to playing more learning games via Skype throughout the school year.

Project #6 My Sentence Video

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Post #4

If a dog can do it...anybody can do it!

I have just been viewing and reading several blogs about podcasting.  I am so glad to have this assignment because I have a podcast project due very soon for my EDM310 class.  I have never heard or seen a podcast, so I found these assignments very helpful!

First, I viewed:
Eagle Nest Radio & Class Blog   This site showed many examples of classroom children using podcasts.  The kids were quite good at podcasting.  You could tell how much they were improving with every podcast.  You could also see how much information they were learning about the subject matter of each particular podcast.  The children were also able to use their creative abilities.  It was very interesting to see podcasts in action and it truly is a positive learning tool.

Next, I viewed:
Judy Scharf Podcast Collection    This site went into detail about how to create and use podcasts in the classroom.  It was kind of like a tutorial and I found it to be very helpful for the classroom teacher.  There were also many links that were available for further assistance.  I know I will be referring back to this site often while I am working with my group on our podcast.

Lastly, I viewed this site by Joe Dale:
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom  This video described the benefits of using podcasts in the classroom.  Mr. Dale gave many examples of how helpful podcasts are for the students, as well as, for the teachers.  For instance, students can listen to classroom podcast and get information and assignments when they are sick at home.  Podcasts are also a great tool for parents to keep up with their children and what they are learning in the classroom.  Podcasts are always available and they can go with you anywhere.  Plus, podcasts are relatively inexpensive and easy to make and can be a fun and  interesting activity to do with your students. 

So, if it is this easy.......then..... maybe..... I can even do it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog Post #3

A Star for a Student

We had another wonderful week of learning about technology and how to incorporate it in the classroom.

A.  We began by reading some material and watching a video on peer editing.  When students are working in collaboration, they should feel free to offer advice to other students on their work.  I learned that there are three steps to peer editing.  First, you should always offer positive compliments on what you liked and what they did well.  Next, you should offer suggestions by giving them ideas on how they can make their writing better.  You can also give suggestions on their organization, their topic, and their details.  Lastly, you should give necessary corrections on spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.

Not only should you encourage students to do peer editing on assignments, but I also feel that teachers are obligated to edit other teachers where ever they see a problem or mistake.  Teachers, as well as vice-presidents, are not perfect!  We need to feel free to gently correct them, especially, before they send something out to the classroom parents.

B.  We also read an article called It’s Not about the Technology.  The author made some very interesting points.  My favorite point that she noted was that technology is useless without good teaching.  We need to keep up with the current trends, research and tools. We have to be able to learn and show the students how to use all of these new materials and tools in our classrooms.  Both the teacher and the student need to learn how to work smarter by using critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration.

After reading this article, it was clear to me that teachers today need to be more of a facilitator to their students.  We are not just to fill them up with information and instructions.  We also need to be able to figure things out with the students.  Technology is moving so fast that it is impossible for teachers to know everything.  The teacher just needs to be willing and try.

C.   We were then instructed to go to "Fischbowl", a 2007 award winning blog post by Karl Fisch.

The link is

He made some really good points about teachers and technology.  First, no school should hire a teacher unless they have some basic level of technological capability.  The head teachers, the principals, and the school inspectors should all be held accountable if their teachers aren't technically literate.  Furthermore, schools and universities who are not preparing students to use technology should loose their license and be forced to give full refunds.

Basically, Karl Fisch summed it all up when he said

"If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write".  

This is definitely a bold statement, but if you really think about it.....he's right.  Technology is not going away, so if you can't beat them......join them!

D.  Probably my favorite assignment this week was viewing Gary Hayes Social Media Count.  It can be viewed at

It is so amazing to watch how much technology and social media is being used as the seconds and minutes tick away.  I had no idea that the numbers were so large.  It really is kind of hard to wrap your mind around those kind of numbers.  

This counter shows the public that people today are definitely using the internet and doing a lot of social networking.  As teachers, we need to take advantage of these resources.  We need to realize that young people love spending time on these social networks and we need to find ways to use them to motivate and teach our students.

E.  Lastly, we watched a video called "A Vision of Students Today". 
 It can be viewed at

This was a very interesting video about modern college students and how they spend their time any given school day.  They can definitely multi-task and they spend a total of 9 1/2 hours on media, music, and cell phones each and every day.  Thats more time than they spend in class or studying.  Thats more time than they spend eating and thats more time than they spend working.  Its even more than the 7 hours they sleep at night.  

This is a new generation and the schools need to take another look at the education system.  We need to make our schools more in tune with the technical learners we have today.