ED554 Final link – Science and Technology (3rd Grade)

This is a lesson more thought out than one I tried last year. Toward the end of the year with my third grade students I desired to incorporate social studies (the national parks), science, and technology, but I thought I could have them tackle it is two lessons. This lesson plan is a little more reasonable, but I may still find that it may take some time. When we are discussing productivity, we need to be aware of the time it takes for our students. When students are researching topics they enjoy, they will desire to spend time, and we should not rush beyond a reasonable amount of time. I look forward to feedback. 


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July 17, 2013 · 12:57 am

Videos in the classroom (besides TED)

I came across a great suggestion through edudemic.com. It suggests to consider iWitness. 

“Get First-Person Perspectives – 

IWitness provides access to nearly 1,300 full life histories, testimonies of survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides for guided exploration. Students can watch testimonies and use them in individual or group multimedia projects; teachers can assign activities as classwork or homework, and can even custom-build their own lessons and activities. The testimonies are searchable by more than 9,000 keywords, enabling students to pinpoint exact moments of interest within each testimony, which averages two hours in length.”


Check it out: http://iwitness.usc.edu/SFI/

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Researching the Chesapeake Bay habitat using the internet

This is designed for third grade students to begin to understand the process it takes to decide if you will use a resource for your project. There are thousands of options and sources when it comes to researching using the internet and helping students to have the skills to determine the value and safety of a website. This video then provides a suggested website for the students to use for their habitat research project.


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July 16, 2013 · 10:55 pm

PLN encourages creativity in the classroom

At the beginning of my ED554 class we discussed the important reasons to develop a personal learning network. Through looking to increase my personal learning network digitally, I have forgotten to utilize my original personal learning network- my family. In my family I have several environmental engineers which have provided insight when I am teaching about polluted water tables, I have a doctor who encourages me to find ways to instruct the youth about the importance of taking care of our bodies ( and finding creative ways to teach hands-on activities about the body system), I have also discussed the education system with my family members whom are now parents, and I have a several educators in my family ranging from early childhood to higher education. I am grateful for all of their influence in shaping and continuing to broaden my perspective regarding educating our children.

One of my family members shared three TED videos with me to consider. One, Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover, was also suggested by my professor. The other two really made me appreciate having this family member in my Personal Learning Network because I know these really will have me consider how my lessons are created and I would not have otherwise come across these talks. I desire to hear students share like Logan LaPlante (https://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY) does of his positive response not only of lessons he enjoys but the learning opportunities are integrated with the real life applications. For example, Logan speaks of working in a shop where he saw the design and creativity through the process of making hats while also learning math skills for measurement of materials and what it takes to run a business.

Sir Ken Robinson’s first comment, in the talk “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity,” (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html) hit home with me on a personal level, he said everyone has an interest in education. He said if you are out at a party or in public and someone asks what you do and you respond, “I work in education,” and you see their face go white as they think about “why me.” To be honest that happens to me many times I share what I do because we all seem to get fired up about this topic from our own experiences in the past, and sometimes I am not prepared to help explain why they may not have had a wonderful experience. There is so much still to learn and figure out, and as Sir Ken Robinson said, “if we think about the fact it is education that is meant to take us into the future we can’t grasp.” He later continues that we are educated out of creativity. I actually have from time to time convinced myself that I need to leave behind my free spirit/ creative happiness if I am to success in the business world/ workforce. The several years in the workforce continued to shape this idea (Sir Ken says is happening in education). Now as a teacher I struggle with my desire to allow for the creative mind to explore in my classroom and the classroom management style of rigid structure. I realize these do not have to be corresponding, but at the moment for me, it was important in my classroom management style to have a consistent firm structure, but at the end of my second year I realize it may have at times affected the allowance of having the students pursue their excitement and passion (like I would have loved to do in my k-12 experiences) without me getting the feeling of anxiety that I must not be doing something right if you can hear laughter and excitement as you walk through the hall (luckily my class is off by itself). Basically I am saying that watching these TED Talks and having the personal learning network (family, friends, and digitally) helps encourage me to get to what I and the students desire – happiness and stimulation which is my ideal learning situation. One final antidote, during a recent science camp the kids and I were having a blast with a solar balloon and the string broke and it began flying higher and higher. The students were happy watching going beyond the trees, but they were stimulating because they were all asking each other what was allowing it to get so high, how far it will go, what happens if it gets a hole. All of those questions show the stimulation while having fun, a simple example, but I hope to be a teacher to have this naturally happen with with enjoyment in the classroom.


Filed under continued learning - videos/podcasts, Personal Learning Network

TED talks – education, using video

In this TED video, entitled “Salmon Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education,” we learn about the compelling and captivating reasons to flip the classroom. He begins with experts of several examples from a variety of subject matter. He shared that he began posting math tutorials beginning back in 2004, and has had positive response. A comment regarding one of his math videos states, “the first time I smiled doing a derivative.” That is quite powerful to hear comments like this because these tutorials clearly help people. He shared that some of his cousins needed help with math, and now they can watch the videos on their own time and not feel embarrassed to ask for help. He then said it dawned on him that with his content area, it is something that can last years to come. He joked that if Isaac Newton had developed these, then he would not have had to. This reminds me that if there are amazing videos already created then utilize these as part of our education process. I do want to be clear that we still need to learn and be creative regarding making these video tutorials, but if there is one already out there we can work as a community to reach our s students with what has been created. He created Khan Academy which will ask as many questions as needed until the concept is mastered. He had a good analogy that really hits home. He said what if we are teaching a student to ride a bike and they are successful 80% of the time (C student) and say, ok that will have to do, now use the unicycle. He said that is what happens with some of our students in the classrooms. If we get caught in the one size fits all lecture mode then there may be some students falling behind. The video tutorials provide opportunity for the students to watch at home on their time until they feel comfortable. I agree with this, but it is not they only fix, there are so many types of learners that we need to constantly be ready to explore what works for that student. The Khan Academy will free up time because you can truly see which students are in need of the assistance and which concepts. He focused on the data collected, you can see how long the student spent watching or reward hong the video, how many times the students did the exercise. I really like that he said that some students that many normally be labeled as struggling, but once they spend the time and master that concept they can confidently speed ahead. I think this could work because if the students are at their own pace, they students may not pay attention to who is where. I have been in classrooms where some of the truly gifted students begin getting bored to wait while other masters the topic given by the teacher. In this case these students can move forward as they feel comfortable then be come a peer tutor for a bit of time. Peer to peer education can be a very powerful tool, intellectually and socially. Though I thought I would focus on the flipped classroom potential with this video, but I see that it needs to be a well thought out plan as to how the teachers will identify the best use of time with the kids in the classroom. It can be a fine line between becoming more humanize classrooms or distant with the opportunity to plug in


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Resource found through podcast

The podcast I listened to was, The EdAdmin Minute 232: iPad Workflows. This was a short podcast but that does not mean it was not meaningful. At my school I am on the tech team and the school is purchasing iPads for the teachers to use and one of the key things that needs to be accomplished is to figure out how to effectively utilize the iPads for instruction. There will be some of the teachers that take on the ownership this summer to discover this information, but it will be up to my colleague and I to guide the staff with the great tools. A line used in the podcast was “if your school is moving to use ipads learn from those that have paved the way already.” I agree, though it seems overwhelming and a big job to take on, we cannot be afraid with there is a willing network of educators that shares their experiences. 

Feel free to comment with other great suggestions for the ipads. 

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June 25, 2013 · 11:24 pm

Flipped Classroom – tackling the idea for my classroom

As a science lab teacher, I have the benefit of experiencing a modified flipped classroom. I read two blogs relating to flipped classrooms. I read one called “The flipped classroom model: The full picture,” from the blog User Education (http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/the-flipped-classroom-model-a-full-picture/). This blog explained that being able to utilize class time for projects, experiments, and the like is the experience portion of the learning model. As a science lab teacher I get to allow the students to understand the concept of circuits through hands on experiments and actually testing if the lightbulb will light. Several of the grades I teach, we dive straight into the experiment portion of the class when they arrive. This is because their homeroom teacher teaches the science content they need. The blog helped me realize providing suggestions to the students of websites or things they can do at home for them to take ownership of the material is the next step. I did introduce the 4th and 5th grade students to a set of science music videos (with thanks to a fellow cohort member) that many then went home to listen to. This allowed them to carry their interest in that topic to another level. The difficult reality of me trying to implement a flipped classroom is that I am not core responsible for their studies, so the last two parts – the so what (how the students implement their knowledge) and the now what (presenting/ teaching to other classmates). I think it will be important to encourage and work with the homeroom teachers to try to support their potential flipped classroom format. I like this quote from the blog relating to the “so what” portion, “Learners reflect on their understanding of what was discovered during the previous phases.  It is a phase of deep reflection on what was experienced during the first phase and what was learned via the experts during the second phase.”  This reveals a critical thinker and allowing students to share a piece of who they are. 


The second blog I read regarding Flipped Classrooms was “The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con,” by Edutopia (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz).  This is a comprehensive look at what a flipped classroom is and isn’t. It was first important to see a myth dispelled, “For instance, they state that the flipped classroom is NOT “a synonym for online videos. When most people hear about the flipped class all they think about are the videos. It is the interaction and the meaningful learning activities that occur during the face-to-face time that is most important.” This quote is from an article written by Jonathan Bergmann, a pioneer of the flipped classroom. 

Mary Beth Hertz (author of this blog) explains that with this new fad out, many people are diving in before they really understand what it is about. I am worried I would be this person. I really need to take time this summer to really get a handle on it before diving in further. Some of the key positives is the individualized learning, since the students can move at their pace. This also allows students to catch up missed class time. I appreciate this, but another approach would be to empower students within the class to fully teach each other an item that was missed. When students teach each other, it really forces and shows that the student understood the information. She then enters into the reality that the flipped classroom may not work. I can relate to her worry of having students sit in front of a screen for so many hours each night. Lets say each of their subjects in HS did this, there would be a long task list which can seem overwhelming to the students and parents. In her conclusion she expresses that she learned that it is not necessarily about the videos but rather the type of instruction. She said to keep it about the student and what is best for their learning. 


I look forward to continue to learn what this will look like in my classroom, but ultimately it shows I need to continue to learn as a teacher about the ways to facilitate instruction. 



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