Embrace Electronics!

Reading can be a very difficult thing for teachers to get their students interested in. It is really hard to try to get a student to open an actual book rather than using their cell phone for texting or other things that is unrelated to school. This day in age teachers are constantly at battle with their students to stay off of their electronics because they are not paying attention in the classroom.

In the beginning years of the cell phone, tablets, and laptops I can understand why a teacher wants a class ban on those technologies, but now I see no reason for it. It is important for teachers to know that technology is only growing and not going away. It will continue to grow and students will continue to bring it to school and use it during school. Teachers need to jump aboard and embrace the technology.
After reading about podcasts I cannot wait until I have my own classroom so I can include these in the classroom. Students can learn through listening and be able to use their electronic devices to access different podcasts and videos that can help their learning.

I agree that there needs to be rules and only certain situations that the electronic devises can be used, but I feel there is excitement when students can use them for learning. If we as teachers already have them excited by the way they are about to their, then they will put more effort in learning than they would if they were just reading a book or having a book read to them by a teacher.

Another way to get students interested is being able to get students to learn how to create their own digital story. I feel this is a great idea because students can watch or listen to other classmates’ digital stories. The beginning process of teaching the students about digital storytelling will be the hardest part, but after they understand I feel that they will all show their creativity right away. The main focus of digital storytelling is not only about being able to get students interested in learning, it is also about letting students show their creativity.

As a student I did not have much creativity and I feel that it was due to the lack of acceptance for creativity in my school. I want students who feel that way to be able to find their creativity in my classroom. I want them to embrace their creativity and love who they are and the ideas they get.

Below are some websites that helped me better understand digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling

Story Center

Podcast

One Good Thing

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Digital Storytelling

            My favorite thing to do when I have free time is to watch YouTube videos. I mainly stick with the prank videos and video blogging videos but there are a few times where I have come across a different type of video. These videos are using art and creativity to tell a story a long with a person actually telling the story. I had no idea what they were, but I always found them interesting and I would spend time looking just for those type of videos.

            I am surprised to learn that these types of videos are part of the DS106 adventure. They are known as digital storytelling. The website we were asked to look at goes into great detail about digital storytelling and how it is taking over the Internet. I love to think that people are getting involved in technology in this way. It is important to embrace technology rather than deny it and that is exactly what people are doing. They are embracing it completely!

            As I continue to research about DS106 I am learning that videos are not the only thing that can be considered digital storytelling. A writer can tell a story and insert photos throughout the writing to give more of a visual look at what the writer is trying to tell with their story. I think this is really awesome, because the writer can help the reader have a better understanding of what he or she is trying to get the writer to see in his or her head.

            All of this great information has me thinking about the ways I can use this in my classroom. To me, there are a lot of students who hate reading and teachers are constantly trying different ways to get them interested in reading. Being able to incorporate pictures and even showing videos it can spark an interest in reading for students. I think it is really important to try everything possible to make reading a fun priority for each student. I will first start off by showing videos and certain readings to my students as a class rather than individually. This way we all can talk about it and share how we feel about it. Then I can have them find their own stories later on that interest them more. I just want everyone to love reading because it is really important.

            If you want to learn just as much as I know about DS106 check out this website!

Diet THEN Exercise!

Throughout college I have been taught the importance of eating healthy and exercising daily. I did not take my professors seriously until I started gaining weight and now I am kicking myself for not listening to them.

I did a lot of research throughout this past week and I have found that dieting is the most important thing you can do in order to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight. In order to get things started I needed to find a diet that would work best for me. I found that the Keto Diet is something I am interested in. The Keto Diet is a diet that focuses on protein and cuts out all sweets and carbs. You may be thinking that this sounds easy, but it is not for a person who is used to drinking a soda daily along with any other sweets that come my way. So I figured out the diet I wanted to follow and my next step was determining what kind of exercise I wanted to do.

Photo CC By: Jacqueline

            I am no interested in becoming a body builder by any means, but I want to be healthy enough that my body is functioning the way it should be at the age I am. If you have researched workouts before, then you will know that there is no such thing as a program you can find that fits you, UNLESS you plan to pay some money for it. I have paid big bucks for certain programs before and it got me nowhere so I decided to choose some workouts that looked fun to me. My exercising for the first week involves a lot of jogging around town. I chose this because I can bring my dogs with me. Of course I plan to go either in the morning or evening due to the hot weather, but I will be bonding with my dogs and working out at the same time. Along with jogging I will be doing ab workouts daily.

So how did this week go? It was not pleasant by any means. I really struggled to stay away from sugar and I did satisfy my craving once or twice… But I feel that I have a little more knowledge about what I am doing and what I need to be doing. I plan to continue this plan for one more week before changing anything up. I have a goal to have absolutely no sugar and to run a little further than I have been this week. I will keep you updated with more information!

My PLN Is Running My Life!

I have determined what I will base my personal learning network and now the hard part starts. I have to be able to keep my PLN active with good information and followers that are also sharing good information. I need to make sure that each person I follow is always updating his or her twitter and blogs with good information about elementary education. If they fail to do so it is my job to “weed” those people out.

In order to keep my own followers I need to continually research different things that I believe are interesting and helpful for other elementary teachers. It is a give and take situation. I want to research enough information that I am able to post up to 4 different articles or websites on twitter each week. With each article I will post a blog. The blog will be a way for people to read my opinion on the website a long with what I will be using it for as a teacher.

At this point in time I know these different people just as followers, but it is important I become friends with them. I do not have to share personal information, but it would be a good idea to share background that I have regarding elementary education. I would not want any of my followers to think of me as a spammer on the website.

One challenge that concerns me is being able to find information that has not been shared with everyone yet. I want to be able to find something new and exciting to discuss without stepping on someone’s toes. This will require a lot of research and research takes time. As of right now I have 4 jobs and it is a lot of work to keep up with the Internet. You may not believe it, but there are times when I will go all day without checking my social media. It is really difficult, but it is all about becoming an adult and learning how to manage your time.

I know building a PLN will not be easy, but I know I can do it and I know I can do a good job while doing it. I want to be able to start a conversation on the Internet that may not ever end. I want people to search specifically for me because they know I will be sharing good information on elementary education. I have goals that I plan to reach.

Educational PLN

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Photo CC By: Mark Kens

            This class just keeps getting better and better! I have always wanted to be a part of a group of educators that share different information with each other and are able to relate to each other in general. A PLN is a perfect way for me to do exactly that!

            I did not realize it right away, but I have already gotten a great start to my own personal PLN. It is said that Twitter is the backbone to every PLN and I just recently made a new account that I plan to use for education purposes only. So I am basically on the right track to beginning a successful PLN started!

            The next step is looking for people I plan to follow. I want to find people who share information about elementary education because that is my focus. I would love to read about different class management techniques and teaching techniques for those with learning disabilities. There is no better way to learn something than from someone who has experience with the information they are sharing.

            So far this seems so easy right? Wrong. It takes a lot of work and dedication to make sure your PLN stays updated and thriving. It is not something you can sometimes look at and then forget for a while. There are people relying on you to share information that they can use in their classrooms or to further their education. It is the type of thing that you either need to commit to completely or do not get started with.

            I am excited that it is a requirement for this class because I will be able to get my PLN started this summer before I go into student teaching in the fall. Not only will I be looking for bloggers and people who tweet, I want to search for websites that send out emails with great information. I can use these emails to pass on to my fellow educators and be able to really get my PLN going.

            Over the next couple weeks I plan to spend 20 minutes a day collaborating and interacting with my followers that are part of my PLN. I hope to be a part of their blogging and tweets, rather than just one or the other. I want to be able to get everything out of this experience and use it to my advantage to be the best teacher I can be.

            Here is a tweet that I found and definitely helped me out better understand how to start a PLN.

Passion For Learning In School

I never thought to think about the difference between school and learning. After reading George Couro’s blog post I found there are a lot of differences between the two. It makes me really sad to think that each are in the school system and one is thought of in a negative way while the other is positive. I think it is the responsibility of the teachers, administration and the community to make the word school more positive. It should go hand in hand with learning to enhance what the child is learning every day at school.

While I was in school we never talked about the word “learning.” Everything we did at school was all part of the schedule and anytime we asked why we were learning about something we were told it was the states decision. This was confusing to me and I stopped asking the question and just did what was asked of me. Learning should not be that way at all. Students should understand that learning is important for them as individuals and they learn in order to make their futures positive and successful. I wish I had a school that would tell me that rather than things about the state.

Nigel Coutts wrote an article that talked about passion based learning and he shared a lot of good information. He made it clear that his school was thrown into passion based learning without knowing exactly what to do. It look him years to perfect it in his classroom and that take a lot of time and patience. I think it is important for schools to understand change cannot happen in one day; it takes a lot of time to make change happen. I know that as a future teacher I need to do everything I can in order to make change happen, but that means have patience during the process.

Tina Barseghian went into more detail about how passion can be incorporated into the school systems. She explains that it is not an easy task and it takes time for it to work. Every teacher, administrator and parent should be on board in order for it to work. Students need to also understand why this type of learning will be beneficial to them.

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Photo CC By: Ken WhyTock

            These are all great reads if you plan to make learning a priority for your students in your classroom. I hope that each school will incorporate passion-based learning and be patient with the program.

 

DANGEROUS!

I chose to watch the TEDTalk called, “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do” by Gever Tulley. I chose to watch this video because I wanted to know the meaning behind letting a child do something that is dangerous. At first I was a little taken back by how forward Tulley was about letting a child do these 5 dangerous things, but after some explaining I warmed up to the idea quickly.

Apparently, its dangerous...

Photo CC By: Brian Westcott

            You may or may not believe that in this day in age the younger children are growing in a sheltered world. They live in a world where they are not forced to take the trash out in fear that they may be kidnapped or are not asked to do the dishes because they may ingest soap, which could potentially harm them. To me, this sounds like nonsense and makes me cringe to think parents would even think this way. That poor child is going to grow up fearing the world and that cannot be the best life to live.

The 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do are play with fire, know how to use a pocketknife, throw a spear, deconstruct appliances, and break the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Those are some weird things you should allow your child to do right? I thought so too until I put the video into more thought.

The point of the speech by Tulley is not to tell you that your kids need to exactly those 5 dangerous things, but that you need to allow your children to set themselves up for failure at times in their lives. Kids need to experiment danger in order to learn for themselves the correct way to handle it. Being independent is not a bad thing and if the child leads a sheltered life they will never know how to be independent and happy at the same time.

This all relates to me because I want to teach those children that should be exposed to danger. It is my job to talk about what to do when faced with the danger and teach them how to handle the situation. It is also my job to teach the children that things happen and sometimes we are left in situations that are not always positive, but we should stay positive and get through it the best we can even if we do fail. Failing is all part of life and without failing no one can really succeed.