Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last C4T

Each week we are assigned a different teachers blog to comment on, but this week was a little bit different. We were provided a list of teachers blogs, and we had to choose one. I chose David Wees and was very intrigued by some of his recent posts.

The first post that I commented on was titled 20 Things Every Teacher Should Do. This post was very interesting because it gave me as a future educator an idea of what teaching is really like. The most important thing from this list in my opinion was "to believe that all of their students can achieve success". This is important to me because I know how hard it can be to do something when you do not have the proper support. As teachers we will still be learners and needing to improve, and having a list like this of helpful things to keep in mind could be very beneficial.

The second post was called I was not born to teach. This title alone jumped out to me very much. In this post David explained how he was not born to do things like teaching, using technology, and being a mathmetician. However, these talents that he has improved on have developed from hard work and experience. In his post he says: "When we see someone who seems to do something well, we have the tendency to assume that they have special talent, rather than they had a set of experiences that prepared them to be successful". This was important to me because it gave me a new perspective. It allowed me to think differently about how hard those around us work to be good at the things they are doing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Post #5 Part 2

I mentioned before that a PLN is a Personal Learning Network. This is a network of teachers whom you can call upon when you need advice or assistance in your teaching career. A lot of these teachers will be able to give you different project ideas that have worked for them and maybe you can include in your classroom. At the beginning of this EDM 310 Class I started following many of the EDM staff members on Twitter. Twitter seems to have been my most important tool that I have used for my PLN. Since the beginning of this semester I have completed some field experience for my other classes, and have been able to add those teachers as part of my PLN. Different interactions with people whether it is through social media or real life interactions, they are all opportunities to build your PLN. I am still very early on in building my PLN, but I feel like it will continue to grow and be a helpful tool in my teaching career.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

C4K November

Amelia's Blog Post
This post was describing what happened over her holiday break. She did not say which holiday break it was. She said that she had a slumber party where they made movies and danced to songs like "23". I could relate to her because everyone always enjoys having a break every now and then. Unfortunately her teacher had commented and said that Amelia had transferred schools.

Abby's Blog Post
This blog post was about a project where the students had to write their future reflections. Abby chose to write her reflection as seen through her friends sunglasses. They were the only students in the class that chose this project, and they chose it because she said it was interesting to them. I told her that it was always good to do choose something that is different and interesting. This reflected that she really did care about this project, and that her teacher had done a good job of getting the students engaged and interested.

Grace's Blog Post
In this post Grace told her readers about how they were finishing up their quarter and she was relieved. In her post she named a few of the vocabulary terms that she had learned this year, and even used some of them in a sentence. This showed me that her teacher had done a good job of making sure the students understood the meaning and were even able to remember them throughout the quarter. I told her to keep up the good work!


Blog Post #14

Joel Klein was asked: If you could wave a wand and change one thing, what would it be?
Mr. Klein gave a list of things he would change, but if he had to choose one it would be "to professionalize teaching, making it like other well-respected professions, such as law and medicine". To make this change he pointed out a few flaws to the education system as well as some possible solutions.
1. Pick from the best
The problem he sees here is that students aspiring to become teachers are not being trained properly. The students who have been trained and recieved their degrees are being hired just because they have a degree, not necessarily because they are the most qulaified. Finally, the teachers who are working are not being rewarded properly.
The solution for him would be to give proper training to aspiring teachers, recruit from the top third of each graudating class, and to not base teacher distinctions on seniority but on performance.

I agree that their is a problem in the qualifications of teachers. I think that the best way to fix this problem is to start at the source. Every teacher learns how to teach in training obviously. So, if the training process was altered to a more appropriate standard then the teachers going into the workforce would be more qualified. If the students in training are more qualified with higher standards before graduation then there will be no need for weeding us out with recruiting from the top third.

I agree that teachers are not being rewarded properly. I think that seniority does mean something and needs to be recognized, but I also think that performance needs to be recognized as well. It is hard to say how to appropriately reward either side without having experienced it before, but I think that it is something that needs to be changed.

2. Seniority Distraction
The problems again begin with seniority and performance not being adequately addressed and professionalizing teaching. The solution for seniority would be removing incompetent teachers regardless of seniority. To create a proffesional learning place it would involve "Everything from education-school admissions, to course work, to
compensation and other employment rules, to self-policing would have to be realigned to this core principle".

I do not agree that seniority is a problem. Maybe this is because I have not been a teacher before, but the teachers that I have had who have "seniority" have always been some of my "better" teachers. I think any teacher that is lacking in performance should be addressed, but I just have not seen teachers with seniority having a problem in their performance. As far as teachers who have less experience, everyone has to start somewhere. Less experience may mean that the teacher is less effective, but it does not mean that this teacher will not become more effective with experience. Mr. Klein said: "high-quality, experienced teachers end up at schools in middle-class communities, while poor kids get lots of inexperienced teachers". I think that every student regardless of social class deserves to have the same opportunities. So, maybe this can go back to the training qualifications of students aspiring to being teachers being altered to meet higher standards.

3. Radical Change
The problem again is how to remove incompetent teachers. The solution was suggested by Albert Shanker and he suggested for teachers to have a board that will have standards and mechanisms for removing incompetent teachers, and to have opportunities for being promoted based off of specialty exams.

I agree again with Mr. Klein that there is a problem. If a teacher is incompetent and not doing their job adequately that the removal process needs to happen. I do not think that the removal process needs to be easy, and it needs to be a very thorough process but not an impossible one. I think having opportunities to be promoted by specialty exams is a very good idea. I think being promoted is always a good incentive and it will encourage teachers to work harder.

In conclusion I think that this article described some very important issues occuring in the education system that need to be addressed. However, in any profession there is always going to be flaws in the systems. The most important thing to me is making teaching a well respected proffesion. I think that teachers lay the foundations in life and it needs to be respected as an important career.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Project #12 Part B

Blog Post #13

What can we learn from other students?

Throughout this class we have discussed how important the use of technology is becoming for teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans. We have heard from other teachers what they have used in their classrooms, but what about students? The internet is a huge place and the list of technology is endless.

I want to know what technology is out there. It can be what my peers are using as tools to help get through college, or it could be what we plan to use in our classrooms once we start our teaching careers.

1. Research and find 3 tools that can be used in the classroom. It can be an educational app, a search engine, educational website, etc.
2. I want a summary of each of your findings
3. Give me a link to where you found your information

The first item I want to discuss is a Free application that is called Bookabi. This app can be downloaded from your students IPad and is very educational. It is geered more towards the elementary school age students. This app helps students to summarize and tell retell the book that they are reading. The app has already downloaded images, as well as the opportunity to add text to go along with these images.

Second, is the app called iBooks. This app can be downloaded from any ipad or apple product. It gives you access to millions of free books that you can read on your ipad. This way you do not have to worry about purchasing the books for all of your students. They can all read along on their ipads that are provided in the classroom.

Third is something very similar to what we have been working with in our classrooms at South Alabama. It is an Epson Projector. This projector works very similar to the smartboard in that it is an interactive board. The teacher can manipulate things projected onto the screen, and the students can interact with the board as well.