Friday, November 15, 2013

Last Class Presentation!

 I hope everyone has had a great school year so far. We would like to wrap up the final meeting for your STI projects before Thanksgiving break, so we've set up some dates and times you can choose from to join a video Hangout with us.

  Monday, November 18th, 6:00
  Sunday, November 24th, 2:00

If none of these work for you, please let us know. The expectation would be you simply explain (and screenshare if applicable) your project with the group in the hangout. There is a limit of 9 people per session (plus the instructor) so we may have to add additional dates if needed.

If you have any questions, please ask.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Student Video!

I am super excited to share that this video shows one of my students using the Educate program! She was able to login, see that there was some learning targets that she needed (the yellow boxes), then go to a pathway that I had created and see what pieces of evidence she could complete to certify proficiency on this learning target. The video doesn't have sound, but she was navigating through the program with ease and is actually eager to complete the learning targets that she has not reached proficiency on yet. I've never had students asking me if they could do more math or move ahead faster, so although it has taken a lot of time and hard work to load all these resources into Educate, I'm thrilled to know that it's really is benefiting my students and their learning.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lindsay's Project- Student Perspective

Hi Everyone-- I made another movie that shows you how I am being transparent with my students and doing some reverse teaching. As I say in my video, Educate is all ready to go on my end, but it isn't launching for students and parents until Friday. I have been conferencing with all my learners and showing them the pathway and the resources as much as possible. They also have all these artifacts in paper form and are tracking their learning "old school". 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm having trouble uploading videos to my blog. I use the "insert a video" icon, then choose the file I want to upload (I make sure it's under 30 seconds). My computer thinks about uploading and attempts for a while, but then I'll get an error message. Any reason this would be happening, or any other tips for uploading a video? Thanks!

Friday, September 6, 2013

So what did you think of this book? Do you think we should use it again?

Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Was this worth it?  Do you have another recommendation?

*Don't forget to make sure you have commented on each chapter unless you were the initial poster...  and post your plan proposal & Setup.

Now you can focus on your Project.   Don't need a post until end of this month on what students are doing, how its going.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chapter 9: Basics of Web Design and HTML (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Critical Information Literacy
Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

At the beginning of this chapter, Marcovitz lists four reasons for people to have a basic understanding of HTML code even if we do not plan on using or teaching it. Reason #4 resonated with me the most. If I have even a basic understanding of how HTML code works (the behind the scene work of my everyday tools), I will be able to use the more simple tools more effectively. Who doesn't want to increase the effectiveness of their blog, wiki, or Moodle?

I thought this chapter had some good practical hints that I could take away and try out without much difficulty. For example, I really like the idea of adding “target=new” to the HTML so that the page opens in a new window or tab. Also the ability to make and edit a “webpage” from a word processing document. All the different ways to make the website appear the way you want it too (font, bolding, indentations, images, tables, etc.) are helpful tips but definitely make me want to use a “WYSIWYG” program that doesn't require me to remember/use all of these protocols and focus on the actual information I'm trying to present on my webpage.

In college, I was the communications director for a club that I was part of. I was responsible for re-doing our website. It sounded fun and exciting at first, but quickly became cumbersome and difficult to keep updated. I forget what program I used, but I definitely spent way to long with the formatting of the site that I barely had any helpful information, pictures, or links. After the week at the STI and the readings, I definitely felt that this chapter was informative but further proved the need for the “WYSIWYG” services. If my only job was to be a website designer/producer then I would definitely be more interested with HMTL, but as I said before I want to understand HTML coding enough to help me use the easier programs in a less frustrated, quicker, and effective way.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kayla's Project

Here is the link to my blog. I sent home a letter last night about the blog, so there is not much action yet.   One of my classroom jobs for my students is to reflect on what they learned that day and write it down. Then, at the end of the week, they will write (hand write for now) a "post" that will go on the blog. I also have "media" as a classroom job. This student will be in charge of taking pictures. I am hoping once I start posting students' photos and pieces of writing, more parents will check it out!

Let me know what you think! Suggestions are welcomed and appreciated! :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ilyse's Project Setup

Here is the link to my classroom blog. Currently it's pretty empty, but check back next week and we should have a few posts about the first days of school (we start on the 3rd). To upload pictures to this blog, I plan to use Picasa, just as Keith showed us during STI.

As for my tutorial math videos, I'm thinking of creating a Google Site to store them. I'm not sure if this is the best option, but I want to be able to organize the videos so they are easy enough to find and access.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lindsay's Project Setup

Part of my project proposal was to create a unit pathway in Educate (our course management system). Within this pathway, all the learning targets of the unit would be assigned as well as resources and assignments that went along with each learning target. I have made the pathway in Educate and tagged all the applicable learning targets. My next step is to gather/upload all the resources for each learning target (including capacity matrices/rubrics, homemade videos, assessments, evidence options, and additional tutorials). My video hopefully explains a little bit of what a Pathway is, how it works, and what it looks like. As I work more with the program, all the steps of my Pathway will be much more detailed, I promise!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chapter 8 - Digital Citizenship n a Dangerous World

What are the Dangers?

  • Misinformation
  • Malinformation
  • Messed-up Information
  • Mostly useless information

The author talks about a balanced solutions....

I equate it to Drivers Ed.   We expect our students to learn how to drive... we do not only allow them to drive in a closed parking lot without anyone else around.   We don't let a student drive until a certain age and then we make them take a class and help them practice.   Even after that they have to drive on the "live" road with "live" traffic with experienced driver beside them.

This is how we need to do this for the internet.    You can't block everything.

The running joke at any school is that Facebook is blocked.... only for teachers but no student.

Scare Factors do not work.   I have found when I tell students that if they tell me when something comes up inappropriate that they will get into MORE trouble if they DON'T tell me then if they tell me.

I give them a place to practice in.   We also need to understand students that are at risk online are usually at risk offline.

Just as bullying, cheating, fighting and writing notes occurred before the internet it occurs after it regardless of the technology.

This is why we still need to teach proper behavior regardless of the technology.

I would also point out that this new generations live in this world.  We tend to think cyber presence has a higher value and consequences in a kids everyday world.   I recently saw this when my wife's niece announced on Facebook she was pregnant.   She had no concept that this wasn't the first place she should have gone (her parents, grandparents, and other family member had no idea) through other channels first.

All schools need a CIPA (AUP) policy does yours have it?

Do you Teach Digital Citizenship?
Does your school hide behind the "Filter"?

Does your school teach difference between a public and private internet presence?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chapter 7: Copyright and the Free Web

Chapter 7: Copyright and the Free Web

I really liked the section of this chapter title "Why Should I Care about Copyright?" Marcovitz makes you feel guilty about not caring about copyright laws and not setting a good example for our students as well as hooks you in with the financial implications of violating the laws. I guess, when I look for information or videos it is not something that comes to my mind, which means that I'm definitely not instilling this practice into my learner's research process. All of the different sites that he posted to get images from go way beyond my limited previous knowledge of Creative Commons. I think that posting all of these different resources as an anchor chart in your room or on your classroom (or the library's) blog would be an excellent way to educate and remind students about copyright laws.

I also took a school law course this summer, so I found the actual laws about time limits for copyrighted material and the 10% usage of text, multi-media, songs rule interesting. I said many times in that course that every school staff member should have to have taken a basic school law course as there is so many potential liabilities within schools. Which makes me wonder, why have I never heard about these rules before? Or, maybe I have but it was brushed over as unimportant? Either way, we do need to be setting good examples for our students and be transparent about where we get our materials as well as sharing this information with colleagues. I also liked that Marcovitz shared his personal story about how copyrighting text actually pushed him into formalizing his work into a book so that he could receive royalties from the sales. I think it's important to share with students why copyrighting exists and what you're doing to the actual owner/creator of the information if you are using it inappropriately.

As Marcovitz describes the three worlds of sharing and copyright issues at the beginning of the chapter, I was immediately reminded of our new digital management system, Educate. Part of my project for this course is to create a Pathway in Educate that is linked to all of our curriculum's learning targets. Another feature of Educate is what Marcovitz describes in the third world. As my district uses this program more, every lesson, activity, assessment, resource, etc. I link to a certain learning target has the ability to be seen by any Educate user in my district (if I choose to "publish" it). This worries a lot of the staff in my building, but I see it as a very powerful tool and idea generator. Just like anything I find in a book or online, I'm probably going to tweak it to fit me and my learners' needs, but think of all the potential (and access to un-copyrighted material!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chapter 6: Searching the Web

Marcovitz writes in the conclusion, "This involves helping our students learn how to formulate good questions, sort through the overabundance of results that are given, and find tools beyond Google that night yield better results." I think this quote is what Marcovitz wants us o take away from this chapter. It is good to keep in mind when finding answers and doing research with students.

I think I have mentioned before that the library at my school is being revamped for 21st century learning. It is now called the Learning Commons and will have more of a focus on researching skills and projects. Books are still an essential part of the library, but we are integrating more technology and other resources as well. The role of the librarian is changing, but only because they will need to understand and be willing to learn new technology. I agree with the text when it states' " Librarians are information specialists. They help connect people to the information they need." Librarians are needed. I think I am going to share this exert with my school, I think it will go right along with the changes we have been making.

Like other chapters, I really enjoyed all the information and suggestions Marcovitz offers about searching the web. Some websites and tricks I have heard of, but some I have not. I want to play around with Yippy. I have used KidsClick! and I really enjoyed they fact that I didn't need to worry about what my students were searching for. I also liked it because it offers different reading levels. One downside is the fact that it doesn't have information on everything.

What I take away from this chapter is helping our students how to find the information they need, whether it would be best to find in a book or on the web.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chapter 5: Web 2.0

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

I think this quote from the end of the chapter is pretty important: "You want to get wedded to your learning outcomes and goals, not the tools. If a tool makes it easier for your students to learn, use it. If it doesn't use something else...In other words, think about your goals, not your tools. Then look for tools that help you achieve your goals" (p. 108).  Throughout the chapter, there were lots of great tools introduced and explained. However, you can't just use a tool for the sake of saying you used it. It has to fit in with the curriculum, it has to fit in with the objectives. 

Once again, it was said to start small, even create small things on your own, before diving in deep with your class. This year I plan to work on blogging in my classroom, starting small of course. I plan to do some journaling, using kidblog (I was introduced to this during an afternoon session of STI) and blogger for my classroom blog to post about our learning each day (my transparency). There are ways to use blogging to access higher order thinking skills, but for now I will start with this platform and let it grow from there. Both of these things, journaling and keeping a timeline of events, are things I already do in my classroom, now I'm just finding technology to expand/enhance these aspects. 

As I was reading, I remembered some of the tools from STI. There were also tons more listed that I'm eager to check out. It's "scary" just how fast Web 2.0 is expanding, but it's exciting because of all the cool tools that are right at our fingertips as well. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chapter 4: Telecollaborative Projects

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

"The power of telecollaborative project is to transcend the natural barriers of being confined in space to learn in ways that we can't by sitting in our own classrooms." (p.54)

Some of our students know nothing more about life than what they experience in their small community - they don't get out of Maine sometimes. They can hear us tell them how things (weather, opinions, culture) are in other places of the country/work, but seeing it is different than hearing it. Luckily for us, we have the world at our fingertips. Telecollabortive projects, as the quote at the top states, allows us to "travel" outside of our classroom walls to have more authentic learning experiences. This can be an extremely powerful tool.

As I was reading about the types of projects (interpersonal, information, work and experiences, audience for writers, and strategies), I found myself thinking about how I could try to fit these into the fifth grade curriculum. Almost once a year someone in our school receives a letter as part of "the great mail race". It might be interesting to do this online, using email rather than snail-mail. There is a teacher in Brewer whose class Skypes with a 3rd grade class in every state. It's a great experience for these students in Brewer to talk to students their age in other parts of the country! I think of my students who sometimes have never been to the Bangor Mall because their family doesn't have a car! And when asked to name another state, they don't know the difference between Canada, Brewer, and New York. 

I also appreciated the "Pitfalls" section of this chapter. Often ideas are discussed and I'm cautiously eager to jump right into something. The pitfalls gave me some reassurance that these projects don't work all the time and they aren't appropriate for everyone. I'd like to try them out at some point, but right now I think I have enough on my plate. Perhaps down the road I'll get my feet wet and give it a try. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chapter 3- Wikipedia

Chapter 3: The Overhyped Dangers of Wikipedia (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Critical Information Literacy
Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)
"A first step in critical information literacy is to understand that any given source is fallible" (Kindle location 1000 of 4336). 

I loved the title of this chapter. So many times I have heard my students say that they cannot use Wikipedia as a source for research and information. When I question them on why, they just say that they had a teacher somewhere along their schooling that told them to never use it. Who tells that to kids anyways and actually expects that they will heed your advice? Just because a student does cite Wikipedia as a resource, doesn't mean that that's not where they started their research. I agree with Marcovitz that the dangers of using Wikipedia are over told to students instead of telling/teaching them how to use Wikipedia appropriately. 

I liked that he compared the use of Wikipedia to the use of Encyclopedia Britannica, they are both a great starting point for when you don't have any background information and sometimes a good source of other relevant links/resources.   

The ideas that Andy Carvin suggested for verify the content of Wikipedia is a great idea and having student approved pages as well as the other exercises suggested about researching the content of Wikipedia pages and verifying/editing the information. What a great way to get the students involved with the information and teach them research skills. This would be a great follow up activity to the website quality checks described in Chapter 2. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chapter 2: Digital Connections in the Classroom

Chapter 2 Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Critical Information Literacy
Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

“Critical information literacy is not about neat and tidy outcomes or simple checklist. It is about preparing our students with the mental tools to be able to tackle the real and messy web.” (Marcovitz, iPad page 66)

When Marcovitz mentioned an article he wrote called “I Read It on the Computer: It Must Be True”, I first thought of the State Farm commercial where the girl that says “they can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true.” Pretty funny commercial because most people know there are a lot of websites that are not accurate. Just like the fake websites Marcovitz mentions, there are many websites with bad information, some that are easy to spot and some that are not easy at all. The author also writes that you would think students would easily pick up on the fake websites, but many of them don’t.  We need to help students think critically about the information they are given and the authors’ intent.

As teachers, it is important to model and provide experiences to analyze and think deeply about the information on the Internet. There is many times where we need to use the Internet to find a small piece of information, fact retrieval, just like I did to find out what company made that commercial I mentioned. We need to teach beyond that skill. I appreciate that Marcovitz says that teaching how to be a critical user will not happen with a few lessons, instead we should help students build on their skills throughout their schooling. My school is evolving our Library to a place called Learning Commons. When students go to the “library” for their special, there will not be as much emphasis on books, but how to find information and researching skills using books and the internet. I am hoping through this we are able to give students experiences in being a critical user.

The resources and lesson ideas Marcovitz gives provides me with some resources and ideas to help strengthen my students’ evaluative skills. Has anyone had any experience in using any of these resources? Do you have a lesson that you are thinking about using with your students to promote being a critical user? 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chapter 1 Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Reading the introduction and Chapter One.

Internet Basics.  

Basically explained history of internet from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and basics of HTML language.
Listing of Browers and how to read URLs endings.

Metcalfe's law that the networks usefulness is related to the number of people who use it.   More people mean more useful.  Although you can get to the law of diminishing returns.   If you are thirsty a glass of water is great, but every glass after the first is less desired until not wanted at all.    We have all done the Google search and got millions of hits.  It would take years to go through them all; however, if you are to specific you get so few results they are useless.

I found this chapter very basic info.   How about you?

Friday, August 2, 2013

So... now done the first book... what did you think of it?

Would you recommend I use it next year?    Did it fit the concept we were watching?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

3-D Printer Clip

I was watching Big Bang Theory tonight and this was in the episode!

Project Proposal

Here is my project proposal. Any ideas/feedback is greatly accepted!

Chapter 8= The End!!

I thought it was very fitting that Crawford decided to write his final chapter about the value and importance of being intrinsically motivated as well as the benefits that failure can have on a person (and their drive).

Motivation is something that I think all teachers struggle with (especially as the students you work with get older). We are all much more motivated to complete and achieve at "leisure" activities that something that we are forced to do. Think of our students for example, they have no problem persevering or paying attention through a video game or producing quality work on their dirt bikes or snowmobiles.When students are interested and invested in what they're doing for more than an extrinsic reward, their achievement level soars. Unfortunately, we continue to cut programming in schools that allow learners to have these experiences and don't insist that classroom teachers pick up the slack for this loss. As Aristotle is quoted on page 198, "all human beings by nature desire to know". Think of how excited kindergarten students are for school. What experiences do learners have that make this love of learning disappear and more importantly what can we do to bring it back? If you want an interesting read on motivation (it is not an educational text), Daniel Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us will make you ponder.

I have said on many occasions that I think failure is one of the most important components of the learning process. I specifically liked how Crawford spun this section to discuss the importance of our top students failing. It is definitely not something that they are accustomed to, which means when they do fail for the first time it's going to be a very difficult blow to their ego and self-esteem. We need to allow all students to fail and get back up in a safe environment. Honestly, if everything is always easy to our learners, then we probably are not doing all we can to challenge them. My best friend was our high school valedictorian and went on to Bowdoin then completed her graduate program from University of North Carolina to be a genetic counselor. Last summer, she had an internship through Yale. She has never had to work incredibly hard and has always succeeded. She called me the second week of her internship saying how miserable it was and how much more difficult it was than she anticipated. The other people she was working with didn't respect her opinions because she was just an intern and she was doing menial tasks. She had never experienced not being the smartest person in the room and she didn't know how to handle it, plus she had no support group around her to help her overcome this difficult placement. Although this situation probably would've happened either way, had she experienced failure/not immediate success prior to this internship, she would've been in a much better position to overcome it and probably wouldn't have wanted to quit the entire 12 weeks. I think we're doing a failure to our students if they never have to work through difficult times until they're 26 years old.

Also, I had to add that on page 181 Crawford states that "The teacher who is really a teacher loves children, and wants to figure out how to make them smarter". I don't really like this statement at all. Crawford has made many insightful observations throughout this book and shown his personal belief on the value of gaining deeper knowledge and experiences. He is not one for brevity, but this comment is just that and not does not go with most of the other things he said in the book. Sorry for the rant, it just irked me.

PLEASE POST YOUR PROPOSAL HERE! so we can comment and help

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chapter 7 Thinking as Doing

Sorry it's late! 

“The current educational regime is based on a certain view about what kind of knowledge is important: ‘knowing that’ versus ‘knowing how’. This corresponds roughly to universal knowledge versus individual experience.”
We need to teach students how not that in order for them to gain the most knowledge. They need to know how to troubleshoot when the technology “isn’t doing what it is suppose to be doing.” I like Crawford’s example of computing a square root on a calculator, and not being about to recognize if the calculator computed it correctly or not.

“If thinking is bound up with action, then the task of getting an adequate grasp on the world, intellectually, depends on our doing stuff in it.” I know that I learn more if I actually do something rather than just being told or shown.

Overall, this chapter reminded me how important “doing” is in education. Providing these experiences will truly help our students. The more real life, hands on experiences we can give our students, the better, It also brought up the point of flexible thinking. If we refer/rely to the manual, engine light, and calculator as always having the correct information and not use our knowledge, we may be steered in the wrong direction. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chapter 6: The Contradictions of the Cubicle

(Sorry it's a day late!)

I think there were lots of interesting ideas brought up in this chapter...

#1: Quantity vs. Quality: When Crawford was talking about his job writing abstracts for articles, he discussed the need to meet the growing quota and sacrificing the quality of the abstracts. To his boss, the quantity was more important than the quality (something that you don't stress to students). Due to the demands of his job, Crawford had to turn off his brain, in a sense, to not think too deeply about the articles he was reading. His ultimate goal was to finish reading 28 articles a day and writing abstracts for each of them; not to take his time and give the credit to the author that was due to him/her. Relating this to school, it once again reminds me of the demanding curriculum we are faced with yearly, specifically in math. My math program require me to get through 10 chapters of material, test on each chapter (with a goal of 85% or better for each student), and also give a midyear and end of year assessment. In order to teach everything that needs to be taught, a new concept is covered each day regardless of who may have missed the previous concept. This curriculum is a "mile wide and an inch deep". We are constantly throwing new concepts at the kids when they haven't mastered the basics.

#2: The importance of a CREW. This really struck a chord with me because I spend lots of time in my classroom, as many teachers do, working on building the "classroom community/family." In order to make things run smoothly and be successful, we need to work together as a team (well I guess a crew). As a crew we need to embrace what everyone brings to the table and use those skills in the most effective way. When these things happen, success is easier to reach.

#3: I have a diploma, now what? With the push to go to college and get a degree (and then a Masters degree), people are graduating with diplomas...and LOTS OF DEBT. Graduating and getting the diploma are great accomplishments, but when you can't find a job that uses the degree, it's 4 years of work for "nothing". Also, thinking back to my undergrad degree, I spent a lot of money on courses that didn't really do much for me. What was valuable in college was getting into the classroom, learning from veteran teachers, and testing things out on my own. Luckily, I was able to get a job right out of college, a job that utilized my teaching degree. But I know plenty of people who have graduated with various degrees and aren't using them (not to say they don't have jobs or aren't making money, they just aren't using the expensive piece of paper they worked 4+ years for).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chapter 5- The Further Education of a Gearhead: From Amateur to Professional

First of all, I like the title of this chapter. I think that it suggests that learning is a process and you don't just become a "professional" overnight. The title also correlates with a theme that I found throughout the chapter: failure.

Most people view the "failure" as a bad thing. I think that we sometimes forget it is an inherent part of the learning process. As Keith told us when we made skateboards, as much as it kills him, he lets students mess up because he knows if they do, they won't make the same mistake again. We shouldn't be penalizing students for their mistakes in learning, but helping them move forward from them. I think that with failure comes perseverance. As Crawford explained in this chapter, he struggled with fixing the 1983 Honda motorcycle, none of his prior knowledge or experiences appeared to help him at first and he needed to go through his unique (and maybe filled with too many expletives for a classroom) process of overcoming barriers in order to proceed. But, he did not give up. Luckily, he had plenty of time to see the project through from start to finish so the fact that he failed at the beginning didn't mean that he wasn't going to be able to finish the job. Failure is an important part of learning and we should be giving our learners enough time to fail, persevere/push through it, and then succeed.

I also thought that it was interesting that Crawford felt his dingy and disorganized warehouse was much more conducive to inquiry and experimentation than his fancy think tank office. We spend a lot of time working on making sure our rooms are safe and comfortable for all our learners to succeed. Obviously safety is of the utmost importance in any learning experience, but this comment made me wonder what I could do to make my classroom inspire learners and foster creativity and experimentation. Maybe it's a change in the psychical set up, maybe a change in the climate of the learning environment, maybe a little bit of both?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chapter 4: Shop Class as Soulcraft

Hello All-

I am posting chapter 4 early because I have a hectic few days and I don't want to forget. I hope that this doesn't mess anyone up...

Chapter 4: Shop Class as Soulcraft

“The Education of a Gearhead”

“Different kinds of work attract different human types, and we are lucky if we find work that is fitting.” (Pg. 72)
Isn’t this so true? I am sure you have looked at different occupations and said, “There is no way I could do that!” meanwhile, there are people that find that occupation very fitting. There are people out there that are working jobs that are not fitting for them, but they stick with it. This reminds me of the advice that you should “do what you love”.  Students should explore different kinds of work to see if they can find the work that fits them. Offering many different experiences to them in school, such as tech. ed., computer repair and programing, auto repair, culinary, etc., can help them with this process.

“…the pertinent question for him may be not what IQ he has, but whether he is, for example, careful or commanding.” (Pg. 73) This quote stood out to me because it reminded me of a book called “How Children Succeed.”  It is very distantly related, but I am going to relate it anyways. Paul Tough discovers through his research that succeeding has little to do with scores on a test, or IQ (for the most part), or what academic classes you’re involved in, or how far ahead you are compared to your peers. Being successful has a lot to do with being persistent, curious, and having character.

This chapter includes a lot of narrative stories from the author about his own experiences. The big idea I got out of his stories what how he needed to be persistent, look at all the details, and how he was motivated by his public role. He learned a lot from others, and from trial and error. He has a lot of pride in his work, and that translates into the quality in his work. This is exactly what we want from our students. In order for that to happen, the task needs to have purpose (a purpose hat students recognize) and should be share with more than just the student and the teacher. This reminds me of being transparent in the classroom. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chapter 3: Shop Class As Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford

"To Be Master of One's Own Stuff"

A couple of things came to mind as I was reading this chapter.

#1 The "Idiot Light": Lots of things in life have been simplified, maybe even over-simplified (at least to the common person). Not only do we have "service needed" and "check engine" lights in our cars, but we now have cars that will park themselves, brake if an object is in the blind spot, and start without a key in the ignition. While these are wonderful amenities for people, they take away all of the hands on skills. One of my family's close friends is the owner of Bangor Radiator. He commonly comments on how much more complicated it is to work on cars, even simply changing the oil, because of how complex cars have become.

#2 "The Problem of Technology": Going along with my first point, technology has made things easy for people, especially the children in our classrooms who have grown up with this incredible tool. Technology is incredibly beneficial, don't get me wrong, but it has also made some of the younger generation lazy (for lack of a better word). I remember during my first year of teaching, I was doing a vocabulary lesson with my LA class. Part of the activity required students to look up synonyms/antonyms for the word "cronies". As always, students used the online Miriam-Webster Dictionary. When students looked up the word, they were able to find the definition and synonyms, but it did not list any antonyms. Rather than take 2 seconds to think about an antonym for "friend", students quickly whined that there were no antonyms.

Technology can give you almost anything with the click of the button, or now the voice command, but many people use it without ever thinking how it works.  Thinking back to STI at the end of June, one of the things I remember hearing in an afternoon session is that one of the most useful skills we can teach our students is about coding. Technology isn't going away, so why not teach them how computers, cell phones, iPods, etc. work. Teach them how to fix problems, rather than relying on Best Buy or Apple, or even spending money to replace the device. If technology is going to run our lives, we should learn how to run it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chapter 2 - Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matt Crawford

The Separation of Thinking from Doing....

Isn't this what virtual world is?  In essence I maintain 2 classrooms the real and the virtual.   I would point I am not advocating the extinction of either.  Each has a place....   as educators there is fear (especially among union members) of the teacher being replaced.  However,  I hope you found in your experience in my strand the virtual does not replace my teaching but allows me to enhance it, shape it, modify it, and isolate it for each student.  It gives the most valuable commodity of all in education... more time with my students.

The degradation of blue collar work or the alienation of the worker is what is happening is our current education systems.   Students currently work from test to test without clarification of what does that number mean?  NECAPPS, MEA, Fontus and Phinell... the test go on and on.   They are all abstract to the child.   The student because separated from the work and out come.  They don't know how the engine worked, but that it got them to school and back.  If it breaks they pay some one what ever they ask not knowing if they are being lied to or not.

Henry Ford realize "eventually it was learned the only way to get them to work harder was to play along with their imagination"

Haven't we all found this in our classes?  think of the most successful assignment, activity or lesson?
What made it work?  was it the test format? the typical lecture?  or some variation on a hands on activity.   Simple task to prove this point.  Stop think of your favorite teacher and the favorite thing you learned from them?  What did it do?

So as we read this chapter it took us through the demise of the blue and white collar leading us to the "creative economy" and the virtual economy.   Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple really actually produce very little as a real object.   Apple for example actually loses money on their iPods, iPads and iTouches.... they make millions from their content (apps, itunes)  Zing is one of the biggest gaming companies and never sells a console or game there.  (they are the makers of Facebook games like Farmville)

So....what advice would you give your student?   Go to college?  Get a trade? do both? go tech? go hands on?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Remember to get rid of blogger menu bar on your blogs

Here are some setting points.... the last video shows you how to take away the bar on a newly created blog.  
  • Making Blog

  • Posting Pictures to Blog Post

  • Changing Blog Settings

  • Editing page

This is the code.... you past
#navbar-iframe {


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mr. CEU's Intro/Ch.1 Discussion Starter

Two points from what I read stood out for me personally. The first was how the author moved from his office job and started working as a motorcycle mechanic. My interests correspond with his, as I've considered looking into becoming an Electrician and also into tinkering in Small Engine repair on the side, just coming home from school, heading to the garage and problem solving that machine. But I lack the skill or courage to so, especially with a family relying on me for supper. And at 40? But, I never felt so relaxed as during the Summers when I was landscaping, designing and sculpting people's overgrown yards. I tried to start it up here, but the demand for it seems limited in this area.

The other point I found interesting was how more and more schools are looking to push kids into college and phasing out industrial arts. I went to high school in a affluent suburb of Portland and that's exactly how it was. The only students who were ever encouraged to look into the trades or craft fields were those students who didn't do as well in academic classes. That's too bad because as I said above, had I ever been introduced to a trade, I likely would have gone in that direction. But, because the pressure from the community was to push as many students as possible into college, we were discouraged from those options. And this was back in the late 80's.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy 4th! Take some time

To my strand take some time off! You had a lot of info during this last week.

Enjoy some time off!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mr. CEU's Proposal Link

I created my proposal on my google docs and when I went to copy and paste it to this blog, it wouldn't. So, here is the link you can click in order to view my proposal.

Lindsay's Plan

I would like to create a Pathway in Educate for a math unit that has the capacity matrix, tasks, assessment options, video tutorials (made by me), and a list of extra resources all available in one place. A pathway in Educate is a way to show the entire scope of a unit at the beginning and allow learners to personalize their learning progression based on the given learning targets. Teachers, advisors, parents, and students can login at any point and see what learning targets have already reached proficiency and what is the next task. Students can also submit their pieces of evidence electronically so that they are linked and archived to specific learning targets, automatically creating a digital portfolio.
Transparency is acheived through my Pathway because learners and parents will be able to see how every component of a unit helps us achieve the end goal. Learners will also be able to gain independence through reverse teaching by utilizing the resources within the pathway. I will create my own videos/screen-casts that introduce/re-teach material for learners and be available at all times along with other resources I have found (as well as other students have found and student created exemplars). Students will also be able to make informative decisions when it comes to voice and choice because they will be able to see how their choices effect their individual learning progression. Learners will be able to make daily and long-term goals based on the pathway and learning targets.
Parents and learners will be able to login to Educate and see our pathway. Other teachers who have access to Educate will have access to our pathway (I also have access to the public pathways for more resources). Educate is a closed system, so only school districts that have purchased the program have access to the database.
Project Plan for Keith's Strand

Last year I had a "picture timeline" on one of the big bulletin boards in the classroom. This was a great feature because it documented the different activities we did all year. After seeing the ITSVMS blogs, I would like to try to turn the "picture timeline" into a classroom blog. When it is up and running (hopefully) I envision a different student each day (on a rotation) writing a post at the end of the day about something that stuck with them that day. I would also like to have the camera out daily(?) so that each day could have pictures and/or video to accompany it (including student work).

Reverse Teaching
Idea 1: Accelerated Math
This year is going to be my first year of teaching an accelerated math class. I like the idea of using these kids as resources for other students (I have been teaching a Title 1 math class for the last 2 years). I also like David's idea of having students watch Khan Academy, then trying to work through the material, with me as a last resort. 

Idea 2: Career Unit
A project that I do with my 5th graders is a career project. I've done this at the end of the year for the past 2 years, but this year I'm planning on doing it in the beginning of the year. Part of their project is to create a presentation. This year I had all the students follow me step-by-step as I created an example on the Promethean Board. This worked well, but I was definitely holding kids back as I pulled the slower ones along. If I created videos of how to put together the presentation, kids could work at their own pace. I could do this using Quicktime screencast or have a kid record me as I'm doing it. 

*I hope these ideas are on the right track!

Project Plan for Keith's Strand

Plan Project

I am going to start a blog for my students, parents, and even the community to go to. I plan on posting pictures/videos each week to show what my students are learning and to show their work. I also want to import google calendars to keep parents informed/reminded of field trips, units of study, homework, and school calendar. There will be a place for different links/documents for parents and students to access, such as blank reading logs, our schedule, and lesson hints/help.  I want my students to post what they have learned each week. I would rotate them every week to create a post. I also want students to take pictures during the week of their learning to put on the blog. 

Reverse Teaching

I would like to record lessons of me teaching as well as students teaching. This can be used as a way to teach a lesson to the class, a reteaching tool, a way to access my instruction when there is a sub, and for students/parents to access from home. Students will hopefully be involved in the recording. 

Project Plan for Keith's Strand

Project Plan for Keith's Strand

Plan Project
How am I going to be transparent?
Web presence...
Show your work and student work
What do you want to show to parents, admin, community, and the world
Just a website doesn't cut it!!

Reverse Teaching
How will students be involved
Asynchronous - ?
Google Hangout / Skype /

Blog Posts / Dates
Project Proposal (July 31)
Project Setup (August 28)
What will students do... (September)
Implementation / What did you do? (October) 
Outcome (November)
Feedback (November 30)

1.) 7/8
2.) 7/11
3.) 7/15
4.) 7/18
5.) 7/22
6.) 7/25
7.) 7/29
8.) 8/1

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)
1.) 8/5
2.) 8/8
3.) 8/12
4.) 8/15
5.) 8/19
6.) 8/22
7.) 8/26
8.) 8/29
9.) 9/02

Project Plan for Keith's Strand

Plan Project
How am I going to be transparent?
Web presence...
Show your work and student work
What do you want to show to parents, admin, community, and the world
Just a website doesn't cut it!!

Reverse Teaching
How will students be involved
Asynchronous - ?
Google Hangout / Skype /

Blog Posts / Dates
Project Proposal (July 31)
Project Setup (August 28)
What will students do... (September)
Implementation / What did you do? (October) 
Outcome (November - before Thanksgiving)
Feedback (November 30)

1.) 7/8 David
2.) 7/11 Keith
3.) 7/15 Ilyse
4.) 7/18 Kayla
5.) 7/22 Lindsay
6.) 7/25 Ilyse
7.) 7/29 Kayla
8.) 8/1 Lindsay

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)
1.) 8/5 Keith
2.) 8/8 Kayla
3.) 8/12 Lindsay
4.) 8/15 Ilyse
5.) 8/19 Ilyse
6.) 8/22 Kayla
7.) 8/26 Lindsay
8.) 8/29 Keith
9.) 9/02 Everyone

Thursday, June 27, 2013

STI Day 4 - 3d Printer

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today, we experienced what 8th graders do in Mr. Kelley's class.

We started by exploring what SketchUp has to offer. We all worked at our own pace and viewed the interactive tutorials at our own pace. The screen-cast video above is of me completing the "Drawing 2" tutorial. This allowed us to play around, experiment with different tools, and make mistakes without needing to keep up with the instructor or sitting around bored. I am interested in the possibilities that SketchUp could have in the classroom, especially when we are working on Geometry learning targets.

We then worked on prototyping, which took us through the process of creating something digital and then transforming it into a real object with the wood carver or the 3D printer. This was a really engaging morning because we were creating something for an authentic audience. I can definitely see how this would hook learners in and teach them the value of re-working their work until they reach a certain level of quality.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

STI Day 3 - Testing Lego Robots....

Today we learned about "Scratch". It is a program that allows you to create your own game. You need to use codes to make sprites move and make sounds on a set stage. You can also play games other people have created. It is available online, as well as our MLTI laptops. Along with learning about "Scratch", we also learned how to take a screen capture video on QuickTime Player. This is how I was able to make the video below to show you what we did on scratch today!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today we made SKATEBOARDS! We learned the process which included sanding the deck, measuring and drilling the holes for the trucks, applying and cutting the grip tape, putting on the trucks, and finally adding the wheels. Although the whole process was exciting, the best part was painting the decks to our liking. Overall, a great day 2 of STI!

STI Day 2 - Skateboards

Friday, June 21, 2013

Strand Meeting - Setup and Overview

Through the Looking Glass
We will learn about the concept of a transparent classroom by using reverse teaching techniques through hands on activities.  We will start doing what my 5th grade students do by building cars without directions while taking pictures/video for our blogs.

Reverse Teaching
After completion of Tuesdays homework we will learn how to use online tools to show our classroom work and the creation of a hands on projects.  We will build a skateboard for the Skateistan program.

Asynchronous Grouping
We will learn how to create groups using online tools so students have students in groups not in the same class.  We will do this through robotics and online communication tools.

We will learn how to allow students to use online tutorial tools at self paced speed.  We will build 3d prototypes in a virtual world.  We will use a CNC router system to take something we have made in the virtual world and have a machine create it in the real one.

We will bring all this together understanding how to fight off the "God Complex" and start designing our own hands on transparent classrooms that we reverse teach in.

*We will also learn how to communicate with each other through a blog which we will us to provide feedback on our reading assignments


1. First, please make sure you have a Google Account (free) made which will give you access to free online document sharing. (explained below)

2. Once you have created your account please create a blog for this strand.

3. Now you can look at Google Reader (well use this with our classmates to connect later on)