My Fellow Bloggers

I have learned a ton this semester, especially on blogging.  So with that being said, my fellow bloggers have impacted me significantly.  To begin, my classmates and fellow bloggers have directed me in the proper “blogging” directions.  At the beginning of this semester I honestly had no clue how to blog, how to create a blog, or who my blogs would appeal to. Jessica Brogley pretty much walked me through the easy steps of “Read the topic and type whatever is on your mind about that topic”.  So when I started, I just started to type.. and type… and type.  After awhile, I realized that I have a ton of stuff to talk about relating to school, technology, sports, or culture.  I was even having fun with it *gasp*.  So I continued with it for awhile.  I got to a point, however, where I felt like I was just saying the same thing as everyone else.  That is where my biggest learning moment came.  Hannah Davidson and Anna Green’s post made me realize by just being myself on my blog will make my blogs unique (https://missdavidsonseducationalblog.wordpress.com/).  So since I started being myself on all my published blogs, not only have I gotten back to having fun and learning, but I also have been able to put my own creative spin on them.  The third blogger who showed me a ton this semester was Molly Delwiche (https://broadfieldscience.wordpress.com/).  We share the same major and her blog posts were great.  She always incorporated topics related to her major in every post.  I wish I would have seen her posts earlier so I too could incorporate more science related activities to my blogs! Overall, I learned a ton from my friends and fellow bloggers, which makes me excited to keep up with the blogs in the future!

 

Communication and Collaboration Tools

One of my favorite technologies in the classroom is Skype.  Skype is an online application where you can talk practically face to face to others anywhere in the world. Many young people use this to communicate with friends or family across the world. I know I had an account during my high school and junior high years! Now, you may be wondering how that is useful for schools?  So far all I have mentioned is that friends can talk and hang out using the app, and every teacher knows they do not want that to happen.  I use this app in my classroom by providing the students with guest speakers or if I fall ill, I can conduct the lesson through the computer via Skype.  Having guest speakers in class is an easy way for students to become interested in the topics being discussed.  I understand guest speakers regularly come into school to speak, but if they are far away or ill Skype will allow them to still be able to present.  Skype also helps with collaboration.  A future classroom plan of mine is to collaborate with another classroom from a school in a different district or state.  This requires a ton of work to set up, but I personally think it will be an awesome experience!

Skype is free for use for calls within the country, but does cost a monthly fee for international calls.  It is very easy to use as well! Go to https://www.skype.com/en/ and click on download.  After downloading to your computer, open the application.  From there, the user must create an account, username, and password.  Once the account is created, Skype takes you to a contacts page where you can add individuals based on email addresses and usernames. After the addition of contacts, Skype will give you a tutorial on how to call and message friends and peers on the application.

http://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/tlc/facstaff/skype.pdf more in depth tutorial

video tutorial below

Tools for Formative Assessments

One tool for formative assessments that I have been using a ton in recent lesson plans and unit plans are Kahoots.  Kahoots are really simple quizzes a professor can create for a classroom.  So with Kahoots, all you need to do is create a free account to start.  After that, you have a free reign to the amount of questions and the wordings of the questions.  All questions I have used are multiple choice with a timer determining how many “points” a student is rewarded for answering the question correctly within a period of time.  This can be used as a competition type activity for fun as well.  Most recently, I have used Kahoot for exit quizzes for extra  credit in participation.  Normally the Kahoot will be five multiple choice questions long, and the top 3 leaders in points will receive 2-3 extra credit participation points for their grade.  This is my way of maintaining the students want to succeed and take these seriously.  These quizzes cover either the content from that day or the content covering a few days.  The students are never required to write long answers or answer questions with short answers, just simply click on the correct answer.  These Kahoot can be taken on most technological devices.  Student now regularly bring a Smartphone, iPad or tablet, or even a laptop to school making the Kahoots easier to access.  Overall, it brings fun to the class room by creating competition, but also makes students retain knowledge from class as an exit quiz. My most recent Kahoot was covering Natural Selection and Evolution.  Also, below is a Kahoot tutorial for all to use!

 

The Surprise Guest Blogger

So as part of the Blogging challenge presented to myself, I have been asked to find a guest blogger to come and take my place for a segment.  My surprise guest is the lady who convinced me to be a teacher, my wonderful mother Stacey!

Hello everyone, I am Patrick’s mother, Stacey Swanson.  I am a teacher and Vice Principal at Infant Jesus of Prague in Chicago, Illinois.  I have taught now for 23 years for grades K-2.  My son has asked me to be his guest blogger for the day and discuss why I wanted to be a teacher.  So with that being said, my love for teaching came in high school.  I enjoyed being involved with many different groups that integrated children and younger individuals with older peers.  From tutoring to baby sitting, I loved children. After high school, I attended Indiana State University where I majored in elementary education.  The courses solidified my interest in teaching.  I received my degree and soon after moved to Chicago.  I received my first job offering at IJP in 1993 as a kindergarten teacher.  At first, being new to a larger city, I was slightly uncomfortable and nervous.  However, the students I was able to work with made my transition that much easier.  After the first quarter of the 1993 school year, I was comfortable in my surroundings and was beginning to love my new school.  Two years later I had my first child, Patrick, in the summer of 1995 which did not affect my occupation directly. I continued to teach until January of 1999, where I had my daughter, Reilly.  I stepped away from teaching for 4 years following her birth.  Towards the end of those four years I realized that I loved teaching too much to stay away.  That following year, I took a second grade job back at IJP.  My love for helping educate the young of America was a driving factor to getting me back into teaching.   Since then I have been at the same school teaching Kindergarten through second!  I believe my love for teaching has directly correlated to Patrick’s inspiration to be a teacher.  He is a hard worker who enjoys seeing the positives come out of people!  I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him!

Thank you for letting blog with you guys for the day! Have a nice week! -Stacey Swanson

SAMR

Recently I have learned about the educational technology model, SAMR. SAMR was created by Reuben Puentedura.  His idea for this model was to infuse teaching, technology, and learning together. The goal of this model was change learning experiences so that students can achieve higher levels of academic success in the classroom. Kathy Schrock states that SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything website provides a great in-depth look to what all goes into Puentedura’s SAMR. Here is a link to that website (http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html).  She goes from a broad topic of just the basics, like what SAMR actually stands for, to the deeper look into what goes into each section and how each section affect the learner. The next resource that I seem useful are short instructional videos from the internet.  There are thousands of informational videos for you to look at, and I am going to supply you with a few different links for videos that talk about the topic. Those links are

These videos give those who comprehend more through visualization a better grasp of SAMR.

The last resource I found useful in understanding and using SAMR was Pinterest.  I personally do not have Pinterest account, but while looking through the SAMR activities I noticed how many useful ideas they have.  The posts on Pinterest are either a blog about SAMR, a model created by someone else, or even a project or assignment revolving around SAMR.  This resource is by far the most fun because of all the different ideas published by minds across the world.

Hmmmm, A Flipped Classroom?

So flipped classrooms have been becoming more and more common in the college world, and many questions have been raised about it.  I, personally, have tons questions about it.  I experiences a flipped classroom during my math summer course at the local community college near my hometown, and wow.. was it hard.  The professor made the class much harder than needed.  The idea of a flipped classroom, the way I understood, was that students are given class time to work on questions, group work, or homework while the professor helps by answering questions and working through step by step.  In this class we did not have that. Instead, during class, we would do tons of very easy questions that were not graded nor did we need a professors help to understand.  Outside of class is where we would watch the videos on the lessons provided by the professor and do homework.  However, our videos were very short and somewhat useless, while our homework was extremely time consuming and challenging.  The online homework provided it’s own grading system and all students would struggle to receive good grades on it.  This became very frustrating very fast. Now I understand that all classes are different, and that I might have just taken the wrong professor for the given subject, but it began to make me question the flipped classroom.  Based on my experience, there are some significant red flags all over in terms of how students learn. Flipped classroom can have a positive impact as well.  Students can learn the lesson on their own, and then seek help on parts they do not comprehend during class.  For some students, they learn best that way and they succeed in the class, but there are students who can not learn that way and this presents a problem. This can also present a problem for teachers. With students struggling with the was they understand the topic, their grades will slip.  After being around teachers long enough, I know that when an entire class struggles that it puts significant stress on that teacher.  There are numerous cons that can come from this negative impact that teachers should be concerned about. With that being said, I want to question why so many teachers are going to the flipped classroom. Why is it better or more productive than a regular classroom schedule and environment?  How will someone properly issue the notes and lessons to their students in a way that will work better than being face to face communication? These are some of the main questions I have, especially since I, personally, learn better during face to face communication. This post was written with my own personal experiences and opinions, but I do believe there are successful flipped classrooms.  If you have anymore questions or wish to delve deeper into the flipped classroom atmosphere, below are links to different articles and websites.

 

https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf “7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms”

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz “Pros And Cons of a Flipped Classroom”

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/flipping-the-classroom/ “Flipping the Classroom”

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The Google System

All throughout high school and my first two years of college, I have been a Microsoft Office guy.  I was very comfortable with it, and I knew how to use most of the program proficiently.  This always helped with projects, majors papers, and other tasks I had to do in the past.  Microsoft Office is a great and reliable program that is capable of a lot of things. BUT, this semester I was lucky enough to learn about the Google programs, and I haven’t looked back since.  My Google trial was shaky at first, I was a little lost and somewhat confused as to how each program works.  But, through some practice and random searches, I gained some more knowledge.  Google provides a plethora of options, more than Microsoft Office, to work with.  Honestly, I believe it was somewhat intimidating to see all the options right away.  So far this semester, I have used Google Docs and Google Sheets, which are the Word and PowerPoint versions of Google, and I have been extremely impressed with the simplicity of sharing your documents to others. Also, I have been working with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Sheets, and Google Drive.  With Gmail, like any other email service, you are capable of receiving emails and other documents.  The cool part about Gmail is that you automatically have a handful of other things at your services.  One of the big features I noticed was the YouTube account.  I love YouTube, I love listening to music on there and finding other videos that I enjoy.  So, for me, this was huge.  My own automatic subscription to YouTube just by signing into my Gmail account.  My next program was Google Calendar.  The calendar program was another massive hit for me.  Like many college students, I am not the most organized individual in the world.  However, having a calendar that I can bring everywhere just by looking at my phone was important.  I currently have all major projects, meetings, tests and quizzes, important dates, and my football weekly schedule saved into my calendar. It is so vitally important to me now, I would have never imagined to be this organized in my life. The next programs all run together, somewhat.  Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Drive are probably the most vital to a college student at this moment, in my opinion.  These three act as the major components of Microsoft Office, which are Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.  However, Google’s version are a little easier to use, and a lot easier to save and retrieve.  Docs, Sheets, and Slides are all work similarly to Microsoft’s version, so I wont delve into that. But Google saves your work every 5 seconds automatically, and I think that is awesome.  Again, as a college student, you forget things, and nothing ruins your day like exiting out of a finished document without saving.  Google eliminates that option and saves it for you. It is Great!  The next two are social media, and I am still get grasp of them.  Those two are Google+ and Google Hangouts.  I have used Google+ and primarily use it for ideas within the classroom.  This I have found useful by seeing what other educators have thought of for certain topics specific to my content area.  Google Hangouts is a chat like group message where you can speak with others on similar topics, and I think that this program will also be huge when it comes to expressing topics about teaching and educating.  The last topic I mentioned was Google Drive.  Drive is what stores all of the program I had mentioned earlier.  It is confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, the Google system is so incredibly useful.  I have tried it this semester, and I have definitely jumped on the Google Bandwagon!!

The Beginning

My first blog is dedicated to the “why?” and how I can explain my opinions and promote my goals with others across the internet.  The first topic of discussion is my goals.  My goals for this semester are relatively simple, but definitely challenging.  While balancing 18 credits, football off-season workouts, a large leadership role within the football program, and a social life, I plan on receiving over a 3.7 GPA this semester, academically.  Socially, I plan to still keep close with friends and build team chemistry on the football team.  With my senior season on the horizon, my work ethic in both the classroom and field have sky rocketed.  However, these short term goals directly affect my long term goals.  After graduation from UW-Platteville, my goals are to receive a graduate assistant at a large university in the south, hopefully in Texas, working with their football programs.  While attending the school as a graduate assistant, I will continue my academics in both biology and education.  My post-educational goals in terms of education is being able to teach at the secondary level in any science based class (biology, chemistry, botany, etc.).  The reason I have started this blog is to talk about and discuss with others some educational ideas from across the country.  This blog is one of my ways of connecting with other educators.  I want to be a teacher because I want to provide the youth of today the proper knowledge and learning abilities to succeed in the world of tomorrow.  Too many children and young adults are not provided with proper schooling and it is a direct correlation to how they carry out their lives.