Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Post #5 Part 2

PLN Word Web

Final Summary of My PLN

Before EDM310, I did not realize the importance of having a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Now, I know how to expand my PLN and how resourceful it can be. Through my blog alone, I have been able to connect with so many of my EDM310 classmates. Because of our C4C assignments, we are able to help one another and connect through our blogs. The C4T and C4K assignments have also been very helpful in terms of building my PLN. By commenting on teacher/student blogs and sharing the link to my blog, I have been able to communicate with teachers and students all around the world. The more contacts you make, the better and more useful your PLN will be. Another way I have expanded my PLN is through Twitter. Through Twitter, I have connected with classmates and educators all around the world. Twitter is a great way to receive instant information and feedback. I definitely need to be more active on Twitter, but I see the potential it has for growing my PLN. As a future teacher, I think Twitter will be extremely beneficial. YouTube is another tool I have used in EDM310 to expand my PLN. YouTube has the ability to reach a wide range of people. By sharing my videos for EDM310 on YouTube and my blog, I have received lots of views and feedback. I hope my PLN continues to grow, and I'm glad we were able to learn about this great tool in EDM310.

C4T #4

Mrs. Sandi

Mrs. Sandi's Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes

Comment 1: "Poppies for Remembrance Day"
My final C4T is Mrs. Sandi, who is a Kindergarten teacher in Canada. The first post I commented on was titled "Poppies for Remembrance Day." Each year, Mrs. Sandi's students discuss why they wear poppies on Remembrance Day. She explains the significance of wearing poppies in honor of those who risk their lives so we can live in peace. Mrs. Sandi let her students make their own poppies by using red and black finger paint. In my comment, I introduced myself and explained the comments we do in EDM310. I also expressed how much I loved the poppy projects and the sweet lesson about Remembrance Day. At the end of my comment, I left the links to my blog and the class blog. Mrs. Sandi replied to my comment, and she explained how working with your hands helps you learn concepts as a young child. I will share Mrs. Sandi's photo of the poppies below.

Poppies for Remembrance Day

Comment 2: "Starry Night Sensory Tray"
For my second post, I left a comment on Mrs. Sandi's post titled "Starry Night Sensory Tray." She created a sensory tray for her students containing blue and purple decorative sand, glass gems, plastic jewels, turquoise prisms, yellow gems, and silver bead garlands. Mrs. Sandi and her class have been talking about Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting, and the sensory tray was a perfect representation of the painting. In my comment, I told Mrs. Sandi how much I love this activity. I also mentioned how simple, yet beautiful the sensory tray is. At the end of my comment, I thanked her for sharing. I will share Mrs. Sandi's photo of the sensory tray below.

Starry Night Sensory Tray

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14

Change the System

In Albert Klein's Teaching Can Be a Profession, he states that teaching should be professionalized and treated with more respect. I could not agree more with Klein, because I think teaching is a very underrated profession.

To professionalize teaching, the following problems must be addressed:
-Academic training for prospective teachers
-Approach to recruiting teachers
-How teachers are rewarded
-Job Security

The first problem, which Klein addresses, is the academic training for prospective teachers. In his article, Klein includes a recent report from the National Center on Teacher Quality. The report found that 23 states cannot claim a teaching education program that provides solid math preparation, and fewer than 20% of training programs can equip candidates in the basics of reading instruction. These statistics completely blew me away. Educators should be fully prepared and trained before they are allowed to educate young minds. Does this mean that teachers should know the answers to everything? No. Should teachers have better training to become more successful educators? Yes. So, how do we provide better academic training? The NCQT Teacher Prep Review suggests that we should discard our system of ratings and provide a system of rankings. This new system would raise the bar for academic standards among teachers and provide more, well-trained educators.

The second problem Klein addresses is the approach to teacher recruitment. Currently, anyone who receives a college degree in education is qualified to teach. In a Washington Post article, Sandra Feldman suggests that the U.S. should adopt the same approach as Singapore, Finland, and South Korea. In these three countries, the system is much more selective. Only the top third of each graduating class are recruited into the school system. Yes, it is a way to cut out "mediocre" teachers, but I think problems will arise with this system. I do believe those who work hard should be rewarded, and those who don't should not be given the same amount of credit. But, I don't necessarily think that there should be a cut off or percentage of students recruited. Whose right is it to determine how many people can be recruited? There might be a really bright student who barely missed the top third cut off range. I don't think it's a fair system. I agree that the process should be more selective, and the program should be held to a higher standard. I just think the selection process should be done differently. Rather than selecting a set percentage of students based on class rank, I think each student should be carefully evaluated.

The next few problems Klein addresses go hand in hand. To professionalize teaching, there must be a change in the way teachers are rewarded, seniority, and job security. Klein says that teachers are "interchangeable." Because of this, he explains that the only fair way to make distinctions is by basing everything off of seniority. This creates a problem, because time does not measure performance quality. For instance, a teacher who has been in the system for ten years is not necessarily a better teacher than someone who has only been in the system for five. It simply means they have more experience. Klein made a very true statement when he said, "Job security and seniority dictate the way our schools operate." Job security is a huge problem in the teaching profession. Teachers are laid off based on the amount of time he/she has been in the school system, rather than their performance level. At the same time, there's really no incentive to increase performance, which is a serious problem. Teachers are given the same pay, regardless of how great of a teacher he/she might be. This article discusses the teaching salary, and it also explains why teachers should be paid differently. All of these problems make it practically impossible to get rid of an incompetent teacher. Once you are tenured, your job is basically set in stone. Albert Shanker, one of the most influential teachers-union leaders, explains that a radical change has to take place in order for these problems to be solved.

I think Klein pointed out some great issues in his article. I completely agree that all of these problems need to be addressed in order to better the teaching profession. After reading this article, I see why so many people think becoming a teacher is so "easy." I don't think educators are given enough credit, and I am hopeful that this will change one day. Great teachers should receive the recognition they deserve.

C4K Summary for November


C4K #8: Breena
Breena was my first C4K assignment for the month of November. She attends Brampton School, and she is in Mr. Wigmore's class. Breena's post was titled "The Cursed Sculpture." She wrote a story about her and her friend, Chloe. It was about a sculpture she saw when she was eating smores with her friend by a fire. I commented and introduced myself. I explained how we comment in EDM310. I told her that I enjoyed reading her story, and encouraged her to keep up the good work with her blog posts. At the end of my comment, I left the links to my blog and the class blog.

C4K #9: Amaya C.
Amaya is a student in Mrs. Mena's 5th grade class. She lives in Chula Vista, CA. Amaya's blog post was about Compare and Contrast. In her post, she compared and contrasted herself with her mom. She shared many of their similarities and differences. In my comment, I introduced myself and explained how we leave comments in EDM310. I told Amaya how great her post was. I also told her a few similarities and differences between my mom and me. I encouraged her to keep up the good work and wished her good luck with the rest of her school year. At the end of my comment, I left the links to my blog and the class blog.

C4K #10: Veteran's Day Holiday- No C4K this week!

C4K #11: Emily
Emily was my final C4K for the month of November. She attends Kingsland Middle School in Kingsland, MN, and she is in Mrs. DeBuhr's 6th grade class. I commented on her 1st Quarter Review blog post. In her post, she talked about the many different things she has already learned this year. For example, she listed vocabulary words and National Days, such as Teddy Bear Day, National Dessert Day, and Elephant Appreciation Day. She also wrote a little story using a vocabulary word in her post. She discussed one of her goals, which is to read 40 books by the end of the year. At the end of her post, she asked the reader to leave a comment about his/her own goals. In my comment, I told her one of my goals and encouraged her to keep up the good work with her reading goal. I also introduced myself and discussed EDM310. I wrote about how I enjoyed her story, and I also mentioned how much she already seems to know after just one quarter. At the end of my comment, I left Emily the links to my blog and the class blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post #13


What educational apps are available to us as teachers? In EDM310, we have thoroughly discussed the benefits of iPads in the classroom. Find at least five educational apps for the grade you desire to teach, and summarize them in your blog post. Answer the question in a post that adheres to the standards found in the ACCRS and in Writing A Quality Blog Post.

My Post


My dream job is to teach Kindergarten. I think Kindergarten is a great age, because they are so eager to learn. Assuming I will have iPad access in my classroom, I hope to have a center set up where my students can play and learn from different apps. Thanks to Top Ten Kindergarten Apps for Little Learners and this blog post, I have discovered many new apps available for Kindergarten students. I will summarize my favorites below.

1) Sight Words List- Learn to Read Flash Cards and Games
I will definitely be using this app in my classroom. It allows you to create your own word list for flashcards, and it also provides pre-made, age appropriate lists. In Kindergarten, children are learning to read and focus on sight words. With this app, students would be able to improve their reading skills at their own pace.

2) Word Wagon
This is another app that will improve reading skills. It is a game where animated animals reinforce spelling words visually and verbally. It deals with phonics and combining different letters to make new sounds. I had never heard of this app before, but I think Kindergarteners would love it. It's a fun game for them to play, and they learn something along the way!

3) Teach Me: Kindergarten
Teach Me: Kindergarten is a fun app specifically designed for Kindergarteners. The purpose is to enhance early math and spelling skills. This app offers age appropriate learning activities, where the kids can earn "rewards" for correct answers. I researched this app, and it has great reviews. I think this would be a great app for my Kindergarteners to use.

4) Grow Your Garden
Grow Your Garden is an adorable app where students can work on their mental addition and subtraction skills. In order for your garden to grow, you must correctly answer different addition and subtraction problems. When a plant receives enough water, it moves to a virtual garden to keep track of the child's progress. I think this app would be a very fun and engaging way for students to learn math.

5) Toca Store
Toca Store is an interactive game that teaches children about spending money. Students are able to put their playful imaginations to the test and create their own virtual store. Through this app, they are able to be creative and work on their math skills at the same time.