My Future Classroom

23 11 2008

 

Tech Task 18 is asking us to explain what we would like to see our future classroom as.
I have been thinking about this, since my second year of University, and every time I look at it, my future classroom changes. As education students we are always asked about our future classrooms, and every time we are asked, we have to look at it in a different way.
Of course I think about the physical aspects of what my future classroom is going to look like, but I think the more important thing is how will I look, in my future classroom. What do I mean by this? I mean, how am I going to teach to my future students, what kind of teacher am I going to be, how am I going to respond to my students, and everything else that comes with all these questions.
After talking about technology in music, with a few other students in my program, we have come to the conclusion that technology is fairly easy to integrate into the music world; technology integration in music is easy, even if, as a teacher, I don’t want to change the music program completley.
What kind of teacher will I be?
That’s a big question, so a big answer is necessary. I will be the type of teacher who is understanding of my students. I will understand that the way in which the world works is changing, and I will be willing to change my teaching ways with the world. Because of this, I want to use technology in the best way I can. I would like to make use of class blogs, which will be used as journals; this would be different from normal music classes, and I realize that I could only do this if all of my students had access to a computer at home. I think it would be a great way to incoorporate technology into the classroom, and it would give students a place to ask questions and share their thoughts.
 
I would also like to use some programs like Google Earth to show students where composers have come from and where certain types of music has orginated. I know that the majority of students will know roughly where these places are, but to actually see the place on a map, would help students connect the name to the place.
 
If possible, in my future classroom, I would like to have access to a smartboard. Smartboards are a great tool in music as you can do things like compositions and save them, instead of writing it on a chalkboard and erasing it.
I want to be a teacher who is receptive to students, I want to be someone who my students can look to for guidance. I had an interview with Yvonne Redant, the music teacher at Martin Collegiate, and in a few short minutes I knew that, that was the teacher I want to be. All of her students were wishing her a good weekend, and she always has students who come to her for advice. I think that is the greatest sign of a good teacher (other than students having good grades).
All in all, I want to have a technologically advanced classroom and I want to be a teacher that is sympathetic and understanding towards my students. I want to be the teacher that other teachers see as having ‘the connection’ with students.
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Mentorship Goes Well!

22 11 2008

It’s now official, as I am writing it on my blog:

Online mentoring with Ms. Kerney’s grade 6 class has been interesting. I never thought that I would enjoy it as much as I have. Unfortunetely, I have been unable to really work with the class, outside of the class blog, even though I would have liked to.

I think it has been fantastic, the responses I have gotten back from the grade 6 class, and I am wishing that it wasn’t coming to the end of the Fall semester at the University. I hope that I will be able to keep at least some contact with the class, but I also understand if that is not possible.

For the most part I have only been commenting back and forth with students, and I have not done much commenting specifically on their blogs. Though, in this case, I am learning from the students, and about the students more than I would if I was commenting on their blogs.

I have been enjoying the ever-changing blog backgrounds and seeing what the students have come up with (other than the assingments they are given to write on their blogs). Just through checking up on how the blogs are changing (not with posts, but with backgrounds and avatars) I am finding out the personalities of the students. I think using something like this in my future classroom will be a great opportunity for myself as well as for my students and parents and friends and family members.

The other day, I was commenting back to the steady influx of comments I was recieving when I came upon one students guestbook that I thought was rather neat. This student had comments on their guestbook from family members; the one that I found the most interesting was the comment from her grandmother. I think it is great that something like a class blog can reach out to the older generation like that (the comment was about, how the grandmother had never done something like leaving a comment on a blog). That also proved another point of blogs, especially class blogs; blogging is something that will, undoubtedly, bring people together. People will begin to learn more about each other, and in a classroom wouldn’t this be an ideal? Of course there is always an issue of cyber-bullying, but if that begins to happen, teachers can easily set the class blogs so that they have to approve comments.

The students have left a number of comments for me, and almost always I have been online when the comments start to come in. I find it rather exciting to be responding back to their comments almost at the same time they are commenting on my blog. Unfortunetly, I have come to the conclusion that I am not that great at asking questions of people, so for the most part I have only be answering questions.

For a quick summary of what I am trying to say:

I have made a number of comments, as I comment back to every comment made anywhere on my blog. Most of the comments are done directly on the students’ blogs, but there are a few comments back to them on my blog. I have had a fantastic experience working with Ms. Kerney’s grade 6 class, and it will be something I will remember for many years.

This experience has been another step up the mountain of learning. I will continue to climb and learn everything I can, and join the networks necessary to help me preform as a teacher once I am out in the field. I am well past my first step up the mountain, and I will continue to climb as the days go by. This is not even close to the end of my learning of how to be a teacher; that day will never come. I always want to be open to knowledge, open to new information, and I want to always have that willingness to change. I know that a number of ‘older teachers’ have lost that willingness and openness, but I am truly hoping that I will not become one of them.

This experience has given me a number of ideas on how to interact with classroom blogs, and I am hoping that I will be able to use a class blog in my future classroom. I think they are a wonderful oppotunity for students, teachers, and family, and they are a very much worthwhile project.





PodCast Reviews

22 11 2008

Tech Task #17

The first podcast I listened to and decided to write about was a podcast by the Tenacious Teacher. The particular podcast I listened to was titled “3 Tips for Making Lesson Plans Work For You”. The following are her three tips, with some explanatory notes, which she gave. These are directly taken from the podcast, as there was no need to change them.

Tip #1:

“Personalize your lesson plan to your needs. Figure out what you need help remembering when you’re in front of your class, and make sure you include that information in your lesson plan. Make sure you write down what will help you be a better teacher.”

Tip #2

“Let your lesson plan enhance your teaching style.” Don’t worry about the rigidity of lesson plans if you value flexibility in your classroom. Use your lesson plan as a reference point, not as law.

Tip #3

“Use past lesson plans to reinforce concepts.” Great for review, and great to go back and see what worked. “Your lesson plans act as a list of fun, successful activities to choose from when you’re in a creative lull.”

I was looking through all of the educational podcast and then I saw the group of podcasts from Tenacious Teacher; this intrigued me, so I went looking. I know I will at some point, listen to the majority of her podcasts as there is some great practicalinformation in them, I’m sure. I found her three tips on lesson plans, quite relieving actually; we have been constantly taught (in EPS classes and curriculum classes) exactly what must be on lesson plans, this, is not the truth. This truth is very relieving because, I always found a ‘standard’ lesson plan to be fairly constricting, so it is good to hear otherwise.

I also listened to a number of podcasts by Mighty Mommy. I did this for a bunch of different reasons:

1) I have a whole lot of new 2nd cousins roaming around, and the information is always good to have

2) The information will most likely come in handy in the future

3) A lot of the information I found is transferable to the classroom

As I said, I listened to a number of different podcasts from this mother and I will list them here:

Homework Hassles – talks about how to deal with a child who doesn’t like to do their homework, and may not tell you (the parent in this case) if they even have homework. Mighty Mommy goes through how to set up a ‘homework space’ and to give positive things for doing homework (tv or game time for example)

Save Your Voice and Your Sanity- talks about not yelling because yelling tends to only get you angrier and the kids won’t really pay attention to you anyways.

But, He’s Always Good at Home- talks about dealing with aggressive children, when they are away from home (at school, daycare, or any other place that is away from parents).

Fun and Sillies- talks about how, sometimes it’s good to “let kids be kids”. It’s not about the mess all the time, it is about letting them be kids. She also talks about “getting the sillies out”, which will help to burn off some energy and is always a great bonding time.

I Swear- talks about what to do about kids swearing. At first, she says to ignore it; if it becomes too bad to ignore is when she says to talk about why they are swearing. She also talks about saying that swearing is unacceptable and discuss why swearing is unacceptable. One thing I really caught onto was, telling kids what the word they are using REALLY means, this may lead to the kid being too uncomfortable with the real meaning to continue using the word.

Little Helpers- talks about how to get work done without having to put the kids in front of the TV. Mighty Mommy talks about different jobs kids can do, as well as how to encourage them to help.

These were all great podcasts and I got a lot of great information from them! I can imagine I will be listening to the majority (or maybe even all of) Mighty Mommy’s podcasts in the near future. Mighty Mommy can also be found on www.QuickAndDirtyTips.com .





We Need to Be Selfish

15 11 2008

 

I know what you’re thinking; we need to be selfish, what? Haven’t we always been taught to give more than we receive? It’s true, we have. That ‘philosophy’ is wrong.

I was talking to a friend of mine today, we are both very similar people. We both constantly give people more of ourselves than what we really have and never leave much (if anything) for ourselves. Today we were both having slight rants and we were discussing some issues we were both having. All of a sudden my friend typed onto the screen (we were on msn) “It’s good to be selfish, we need to be selfish”. I thought about that for a bit; what in the world is he talking about? is what I kept thinking.

Then it occured to me, he is RIGHT. People in general, due need to be somewhat selfish. Life is NOT all about giving. In order to give, we must all receive. Because, if all we do is give and give and give… there is nothing left. Look at it this way (you don’t actually have to do this, just think it through):

Open a box, or a bag, of candy.

Ask yourself this question, do you want to share (give) your candy to a lot of people or just a few?

Your answer will tell you how big your box or bag is.

Let’s go with a small bag, it holds 5 candies (for ease in this explanation).

You give one candy to your mother and one to your father.

You then decide that you would like to give a candy to one of your friends, so you go to meet that friend.

When you meet up with that friend, one other friendof yours is there.

So, you have to give two candies away

(because you wouldn’t want to be mean and only give a candy to one friend).

Then you decide to walk home. On your way home you meet a child.

The child is crying because they just fell off their bike and hurt themselves.

Without hesitating you give your last candy to the child.

The child and your two friends, and your parents are all happy.

But, you realize, now you don’t get a candy. What happens if no one gives you a candy?

You gave other people candy, those people who needed that candy from you perhaps.

Now, you don’t get any candy because you didn’t get any in return.

Now, turn the candy into your emotional threshold. What happens? There is nothing left for you (just like the candy). When something happens in your life (perhaps stress from school, relationship issues, or something else) there is nowhere for you to put those emotions because you have given all that room away to other people. If the candy thing didn’t really work for you (which it may not have, it was just the first thing that I could think of) try the same or similar story using something else.

The point of this, is the fact that we, as people NEED to be selfish. Not selfish to the point of hoarding everything and keeping everything for ourselves. We all need to live as a give AND take community. If someone wants to offer us something, we can’t just simply take and never give anything back. For some of us (some of you reading this may be part of the ‘us’) we are always the givers and we never get anything back (we may or may not expect it).

Again, truth be told…. we have all been lied to all these years. We NEED to be selfish.

I would appreciate your feedback on this.





K-12 Online Conference Reviews

12 11 2008
The first presentation that I listened to/watched was a presentation entitled “At-Risk Students in Our Virtual High School”, which was made by Katie Logan on October 30, 2006.

“Katie Logan is the technology director for the Wyoming e-Academy of Virtual Education. The Academy is located in rural Wyoming on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and serves mainly Native American students from the reservation as well as some other students from other high schools across the state.”

from http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=60

The presentation focuses on the difficulties/issues/obstacles/successes and failures of the online school.

I found this presentation fairly interesting actually, as I did not realize a school like this exsisted. I can imagine that (in the area that she is in) this is a somewhat difficult task to accomplish. Actually, it probably is considering the amount of obstacles that she does list. Because the school is in an ‘at-risk’ area, the faculty has had to make a number of changes to the ‘normal’ school system. For instance, attendance is not mandatory; as long as the students log in once (even for only one minute) every 10 days, then they will not be ‘kicked out of school’. I find it interesting that this online school is in fact on a reservation (to be honest I’m not sure why I find that so interesting though). That being said, obviously the majority (90%) of the students are in fact Native-American (or First Nations, or Indian, or whichever we would like to go with).

Again, I found this presentation to be fairly interesting and, I am probably going to add her blog to my Google Reader, so that I can find out more.

 

 

The second presentation I watched was entitled “If All My Classes Did This”, it was presented by Wendy Wolfe on October 19th, 2007.

This presentation focused on cartoon creation for the classroom (ToonDoo and Read, Write, Think) as well as Gliffy, Zoho and GCast.

 

I found ToonDoo rather exciting actually. I don’t know if I would use it in my future classroom, but you never know. ToonDoo (unlike Read, Write, Think) allows you to publish the cartoon to the web.

Gliffy is also a great program. You can use pictures and text (in any language). In Gliffy, you can do different things, like create floor plans and flow charts. Gliffy also allows for collaboration (like Google Docs).

Zoho, also seems like a great program, especially for those who do not have  a powerpoint program. It does not, however, allow for sounds or animation (like a regular powerpoint program) but, it is completely web based and therefore there is no need to carry around a jumpdrive with your presentation.

 GCast, is a podcasting site that would most likely come in handy in any circumstance. It would be great for making presentations both in class and out of class for both students and teachers.

I learnt a lot by watching this podcast, and I will most likely begin to use at least a few of these tools, in the near future.

 

The third presentation I viewed is entitled “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?”, it was presented by H Songhai on October 24, 2008.

I think it was a great presentation, very well planned and presented. The presentation focused on what  H Songhai does in his (paperless of more than three years) classroom. Also, he talks about a trip (to look at Universities) that he (along with some co-workers) and 13 students went on; he talks about how at the end of the trip none of them had even taken a picture and therefore had nothing to say “I was here”, even though the majority of them had a number of different pieces of technology.

I find it neat that he has had a paperless classroom for more than three years now. His class uses blogs and Wikis, among other things. He also encourages his students to take pictures of notes, rather than writing them down. Personally, I don’t think I would go to quite that extent.

 

All in all, I think I have learned a lot from these three presentations, and I may just go back and view some more of them. Just from the few podcasts that I have seen, I am already looking forward to viewing podcasts from the next conference.

 





Re: Final Project Update #1

12 11 2008

I have sent e-mails out to everyone who commented on my previous post, and was interested in filling out the survey for me. If you left me a comment, I e-mailed you the same day you commented. So, if you have not received an e-mail from me, then please comment on this post and I will get another e-mail sent out to you.

Thank you to all of you for responding (and so quickly to), and a big thank you to those of you who passed along the survey to other teachers in your network.

 

assessor.co.douglas.nv.us/images/thank-you.jpg

assessor.co.douglas.nv.us/images/thank-you.jpg





Final Project Update #1

9 11 2008

So, I figured I would take some time to blog about my final project.

I am very interested to see how classroom teachers of all subject areas are incorporating technology into their  classrooms. Obviously there are teachers who use class websites and blogs which is great, but I want to know waht else teachers are using in the ‘real world’. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to talk about how we want to use technology in our future classrooms but it is even better if we can actually learn what current teachers (old and new) are doing in their classrooms. I am interested in finding out about teachers who have to deal with a very small budget (or no budget) as well as teachers who have a massive budget.

I have e-mailed out a survey to a number of contacts that have a very large network of teachers that they have access to but unfortunetely I am not seeing any return out of this. I gave people a number of ways of contacting me, and I understand that teachers are busy this time of year (and especially at the beginning of the year when I first sent out the survey) but I was still expecting some sort of response.

I am not completely empty handed though as I have recieved some feed back through a forum I joined (specifically for teachers). Most of the answers were very minimal and simplistic but I did get one that was very in depth (and believe me I appreciate it) that really set my mind thinking. Even though I am not completely empty handed I definetely don’t have a fistful of information. I have five responses, and am still hoping that some of the other people that have been contacted will respond.

If anyone is an educator (it doesn’t matter what level) and would like to respond to my questions please let me know and I will send out the survey to you (it is very short and does not take very long). As well, if anyone has any teachers that they believe would not mind answering questions I will gladly pass along the survey to you if you wouldn’t mind passing it along to them.