About Me

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I am a student at the University of South Alabama, College of Education. My husband Brian and I have been married since 2004, and in 2010 welcomed our son Deigan. I also work full-time as the Marketing Specialist for a local Real Estate company.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Teaching and Learning, Randy Pausch Style...

quote by Randy Pausch
This memorial plaque with a quote from Dr. Randy Pausch was placed near the
Mad Tea Party attraction in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort
in his honor.  It reads, "Be good at something; it makes you valuable. Have
something to bring to the table,  because that will make you more welcome."
Dr. Randy Pausch was a valued professor at Carnegie-Mellon who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2008. Shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Pausch delivered his last lecture, appropriately titled "Randy Pausch's Last Lecture" to a house of more than 500 guests and fellow colleagues. In his lecture, Dr. Pausch gave an emotional recollection of his life growing up and shared his lifelong list of dreams.  To his credit, there where check marks next to each dream, albeit a modification or two. Throughout his lecture, it is clear that Dr. Pausch was extremely passionate about his profession. His unique Project Based Learning style provided a great way for him to relay that passion on to his students. He felt that Project Based Learning allowed his students to "Have fun while learning something hard", or if you will, a sort of "Edutainment."

Throughout his last lecture, Dr. Pausch spoke about the various collaborative projects he was fortunate to take part in. One of his more proud moments was his involvement with Disney Imagineering. After several failed attempts, he finally received the break he was looking for and began working directly with the Imagineers at Disney. I myself being fairly familiar with all things Disney understand the significance and honor of being an Imagineer. I feel that Dr. Pausch was making two points with this story, 1- Never give up on your dreams and 2- The importance to work collaboratively together and harmoniously with a group of like-minded individuals who all have the same goal. This thought process is easily relayed in our own classrooms. Teachers should encourage their students to follow their dreams and be diligent in perusing them. Teachers should also try to think outside the box and come up with fun PBL assignments that allow their students to work within a group. Group projects help to build strength and trust in others and allow the students minds to flow freely. All while learning something.

Dr. Pausch also mentions his experience with a pilot program he started at Carnegie-Mellon. In this class, the students were responsible for 4 VR (virtual reality) assignments. He didn't teach from books, but rather again with Project Based Learning assignments. Dr. Pausch goes on to mention how excited he was that on the first assignment, the entire class blew him away with their projects and how creative and advanced they all were. Delighted, yes! Perplexed, absolutely! He called on a colleague who basically told him that he needed to set the standard higher, that he started out too low. He was also encouraged to demand better from his students on the next project. This too is a lesson we can apply in our classrooms. We should constantly encourage our students to do their best and keep climbing the tree of knowledge and continue to learn. Also, at the end of each assignment, the students were asked to complete a survey that was relevant to their group members. This feedback is essential for students to reflect on their performances and make adjustments where they are needed.

One final point that Dr. Pausch made was the importance of parents, mentors and students working together. As the old saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child" well, it also takes a team of focused adults to help our children succeed. I feel that in the classroom, it is important to keep parents involved and informed. This allows some of the education responsibility to be given to them and in turn they are aware of what needs to happen, and will not allow their child to slack.

Dr. Randy Pausch's exhibited great resilience and determination throughout his life. His passion for education and teaching his students to follow their dreams and to never give up is what I consider to be the foundation of a successful student and positive attribute to future society. Dr. Pausch was focused, determined, methodical, thoughtful and above all successful. He truly was an inspiration.

BP Ten

Too Cute To Spook Halloween Writing and Show & Tell

In this Project Based Learning assignment, students will be placed in groups of three. Together they will choose 3 symbols of Halloween. The group will research their chosen symbols and write a one-page paper on each symbol and describe their origins, meanings and how each relate to Halloween. The group will then create a Google Presentation and include the information about the 3 symbols along with pictures. In addition to the paper and presentations, the group will be responsible to bring in 1 of the 3 chosen objects and create an illustration or dress in costume to represent the remaining 2 objects. On the final day, parents will be invited for the Too Cute To Spook Halloween Writing and Show & Tell presentations.

Too Cute To Spook Halloween Writing and Show & Tell - Lesson Plan
Created By: Hilliary Sanders

Project Fourteen

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Learning from each other...

learning is fun
Within the walls of a school, students should not be the only ones learning. In order to keep up with the ever evolving tools, programs and techniques used to teach students, teachers need to be in a constant state of learning themselves. Whether they are learning by browsing the web for new ideas, attending workshops or seminars, it doesn’t matter...as long as they are learning and growing! This is something that we as future educators need to keep in mind.

One of the great ways for teachers to learn is by connecting with their peers and finding out what is working for them, and applying it to their own classroom, as they see fit. This week, we had the opportunity to watch 3 videos made by teachers. In their videos, they are detailing what they are doing in their classrooms and describing how it is working for them.

Here is a summary of what we learned...

First we watched a video by Brian Crosby Back to the Future. Brian discusses his fourth grade class and everything that they have accomplished throughout the year. He talks about projects involving the community and making sure that it is technology sufficient. Brian believes that there is no narrow curriculum at all. Curriculums should expand and not be such a basic idea. Imagination and creativity should make up the majority of the teaching

The students were given an assignment called "High Altitude Balloon Project". The students were to pretend that they were the actual balloon and had to talk about their experience of being shot off and fired up. As a balloon, you had to describe every detail about what happened from the second you were on air, until you were way up in the sky. Brian said that the students had a great time doing this, and learned from it. They remembered everything, and were able to learn from each project their teacher made them do. It is so important to be able to provide projects like this as a teacher. Especially with fourth grade, their attention span doesn't last very long. Providing activity projects such as the Balloon project, or the air pressure from a coke can project, are great ways for students to successfully learn.

Brian Crosby talks about the Language Intense and what all students get from being active and independent learners. The students are able to...

  • Read and Write to Learn Content

  • Write to Clarify and Share

  • Write to Tell a story; Creativity and Imagination

  • Feedback

  • Articulate Orally

  • Connect Globally

  • Authentic Audience

  • Remember Audience

  • Remember the science, high hopes art

Brian discussed a lot about how active learning is the key. Empowering students to become independent learners and learn on their own. He is a great motivator as well as an educator to really get his students involved in their learning. He makes it fun and memorable.

Brian Crosby decided by using these projects, it helped his students learn to be independent learners. Technology has made a huge leap in the education world. A girl in the fourth grade class was very sick. She was not able to physically be in the classroom, but she still got her education. We were so enthused to see that Mr. Crosby let this little girl still attend his fourth grade class, but not actually be there. It was a very touching and great thing to do for a child who cannot do everything other kids can do. To be able to still get her education through the use of technology really shows us, that anything is possible through successful learning.

In the next video, Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Andersen, a teacher from Bozeman, Montana shows us how by utilizing his PLN (Personal Learning Network) he was able to come up with a new technique to use in his AP Biology class. The “Blended Classroom” is the idea of utilizing more online and mobile resources with the 5 E’s of the “Learning Cycle”; engage, explore, expand, explain and evaluate. Combined together, Mr. Andersen refers to this as “QUIVERS” which is an acronym for,

QU- Question
I - Investigate and Inquire
V - Video (podcast)
E - Elaboration
R - Review
S - Summary Quiz

In his classroom, Mr. Andersen prefers PBL (Project Based Learning) plans, so this “blended classroom” works well for his students. His unique approach to teaching provides his students with an alternate way to learn that peaks their interest and promotes their eagerness to learn.

The last video we viewed featured Mark Church, the author of Making Things Visible. Church presented a new topic to his class and asked them to create a headline based on what they thought of it. After teaching the topic in depth, he asked the class to re-evaluate their headline and to see if their opinion changed.

We all agree that Church did a wonderful job engaging his students in the new lesson by allowing them to pre-teach themselves and grow throughout the lesson. Also, going back and seeing how much more you know is always exciting and for students, it is fun to see whose prediction of a particular topic was mother most similar to the true facts.

Authors: Hilliary Sanders, Lauren Patterson, and Claire Williams

BP Nine - Collaborative Assignment

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom...

Technology is an essential part of everyday life for many people, including today’s students. It’s time to start incorporating technology in the classrooms, so we can help our students become more comfortable with using technology and keep them interested in learning.

Here are some great tools that can be used in the classroom...


Wiggio is an amazing site to use when working on assignments and projects collaboratively in groups. The makers of Wiggio decided to develop this program because they became frustrated with sending emails back and forth trying to collaborate, and it became very difficult to have meetings that were convenient for everyone due to their busy schedules or illnesses that wouldn’t allow them to physically meet. Wiggio was the answer to these problems!

Wiggio is a virtual meeting site where you can create and maintain projects. Group members have the ability to create and share documents, and upload additional files. The site was designed to be easy and straightforward, even for someone who is not computer savvy. Wiggio provides everything that you need to work productively in your groups, without having difficult unnecessary features. Wiggio is a solution offered by Desire2Learn, a global leader in cloud-based (SaaS) learning solutions. Desire2Learn enables clients to deliver a seamless, personalized experience using technology that inspires users to connect, collaborate, and engage in ways that reflect their unique needs. Also because Wiggio is web-based, collaborating is extremely convenient.

Wiggio would be a great way tool for students to use in the classroom. Students will learn how to collaborate, and learn how to do it on the computer. I think using this also in EDM310 would be very beneficial. Instead of having to meet in the lab every week, we could use Wiggio from the comfort of our homes.

Authors: Lauren Patterson, Hilliary Sanders and Claire Williams


As an educator, it is our responsibility to find new and fun way to engage our students; especially if you are teaching the higher grades in elementary schools. Most fourth through sixth grade students have very active “tech” lives outside of the classroom. These students are browsing the web, texting or using Skype to communicate with their friends and playing video games. They are bored with the typical classroom where the teacher presents their lesson, passes out worksheets for the students to complete, then administers tests to judge the students understanding. So what can we do to relate to this generation of students? One way is by utilizing new technologies in the classroom such as Socrative, which is a great tool for quizzing and testing students.

Socrative is a free web-based platform that can be accessed on any PC, iPad, iPod or Smartphone device with internet connection. Teachers have the flexibility to create either a custom True or False, multiple choice, short answer quiz or a quick quiz question announced out loud. The teachers can also group the students together and have a “Space Race” between the groups. Space Race is a fun way to engage the students, assess their understanding and help build communication skills through collaboration with other students. Immediate feedback will be sent to the teacher to so that the results can be recorded. There is also an “Exit Ticket” feature that allows the students time at the end of the day to reflect on what they have learned.

Another great aspect of Socrative is that the students are not required to sign-up for an account to participate. Each time a quiz is being administered, the teacher will be assigned a “Room Number” for the students to join. Also because Socrative is a web-based program, other than an internet ready device, no other equipment is needed.

Socrative is a great way to facilitate discussions and assess student learning. This easy and fun student response system is sure to grab the attention of your students and keep them interested and excited about learning.

Author: Hilliary Sanders


With all the extra paperwork, meetings, and workshops teachers have to juggle, any resource that helps them manage their time and still be an effective teacher is alright in my book. Edmodo is a safe social learning platform for teachers, students, and parents. Through Edmodo, teachers can post additional lessons, assignments, and quizzes for their class. They can also grade the assignments through Edmodo.

For the students, it is a great way to communicate with your classmates about assignments, or even just to share photos for fun. One upside is that students get the perks of "social media" but it is monitored by the classroom teacher. In addition, Edmodo is mobile phone friendly. Students can not only access Edmodo from iPads, smartphones, and tablets but they can receive notifications about updates that their teacher posts to the site. Parents also have the opportunity to access their child's classroom information through Edmodo. This is one innovative way to keep parents involved.

Edmodo is considered the Facebook of education and we all know how often users check in just to see what's going on. Edmodo practically can function in that same manner for students, parents and teachers. From getting clarification on an assignment, collaborating with fellow classmates, to checking grades, Edmodo should definitely be implemented in classrooms to keep everyone in the loop.

Author: Lauren Patterson


Popplet is a big pinboard you can put Popples onto. It takes graphic organizers into the digital age by allowing users to not only organize words, but they can link to pictures, YouTube videos and Google maps. Students remain engaged while organizing their content. Students and teachers can also collaborate on a Popplet by inventing other Popplet users to work on their projects.

Popplet is a great thing for students and teachers to have. This tool allows you to look up certain materials or items and get feedback on each subject. You can also post your own stuff on your own Popplet. It is very similar to Facebook and Twitter. I researched and Mrs.Pazos class is using Popplet for an assignment on world cultures. Each student must explore and explain the rights and duties of citizens. Popplet is a great tool to use for assignments such as these, because it involves students mentally and physically. The advantages of Popplet is that students can sign up without emails, and collaborate together. The disadvantage is that students can only make 5 total Popplets with one free account.

Popplet is a very useful and beneficial tool, and I think all students should give it a shot. As a future educator I will be using Popplet in my classroom. It is a very fun and easy tool for students to use. Collaborating is very important for students to get used too, because you work as a team with any job you get.

Author: Claire Williams

BP Eight - Collaborative Assignment

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Thoughts on the "Live the Conversation" Blog by Becky Georend...

Becky Georend is a 6th grade, Development and Communications teacher from Waukee, Iowa. She is also the author of the "Live the Conversation" Blog. I recently had the opportunity to read a few posts from her blog and here are my thoughts...

Turning it over to them - Success in the making!

“Too much social, not enough learning” is a common problem that many teachers deal with, including Mrs. Georend. To help solve the problem, she came up with a way to make the class accountable for their own actions. Here’s what she did:

  • First, she had the class help to identify the main areas of struggle – care and respect towards others, tasks and voice level.

  • Next, the class participated in creating a rubric to score their behaviors.

  • They then identified 3 key times in the day when students struggled the most.

  • And finally, two students were chosen daily to assess the class during the “struggle” times and report their assessments to the class.

sometimes the struggle, is what makes success even sweeter
And the end of the first week, Mrs. Georend compiled the data to have a starting point so the class could determine their goal. The class scored 65/144 which was below 50%. They decided that 50% would be their goal for the next week. And at the end of that week, the scores showed that the classroom behavior had improved to 78/144 - 54%!

Mrs. Georend admits there are still areas of struggle, however, the classes behavior overall has improved. With students assessing each other, they receive an honest reflection about their behavior. When faced with judgment by their peers, students typically behave better. Turning the responsibility over to the students makes them accountable for their own actions and a sense of responsibility also helps to build valuable self-esteem.

“Flipping the responsibility” is a great way to get students involved and tackles classroom behavior issues at the same time. I particularly like the idea of letting the class set their own goal. That way, they have no one but themselves to blame for not reaching the goal. I really like this idea and it is definitely something I would like to someday incorporate in my own classroom.

My Comment:
What a great idea! I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama, College of Education" and I plan to use a similar technique in my classroom. Such a cool way to get the students involved and held accountable for their actions.

The Checklist

In college, rubrics are an educational standard in many classes. At times, rubrics can be tricky, even for a college student; so I can imagine the confusing and frustration younger students may feel. For her 6th grade students, Mrs. Georend came up with a great way to eliminate those fears by creating various checklists for her students to use with writing assignments. In her blog, "The Checklist" Mrs. Georend describes how she held "mini-sessions" with her students and referenced mentor text to assist them in creating the checklists.

self assessment checklist
For their first writing assignment, which was a Personal Narrative, Mrs. Georend used the checklist instead of a rubric to assess her student’s pieces. Unfortunately, the checklist didn't help to produce the quality writing she had hoped for. So for their next writing assignment, a book and movie review, Mrs. Georend decided to make the checklist a "self-assessment checklist" and allow the students to use the checklist and assess their pieces prior to turning in their final drafts. BINGO...it worked, their writing quality was much better! An additional thought that she noted was that even though the students had the ability to fix their errors, some were in too much of a rush, and didn't take the time to fix it. We need to encourage our students to take the time, and turn in their best work possible. As invested as Mrs. Georend is to her students, I'm sure she did just that!

Yet another great idea by Mrs. Georend! She is obviously a teacher who genuinely cares about her students and wants to see them succeed. She does a great job at finding ways to engage her students and keep them involved. It is refreshing to see a teacher willing to write in a public forum, and admit they have found a flaw in their ideas and readily corrects it, like Mrs. Georend does. We can all learn from each other’s mistakes. It's all about learning, growing and moving forward.

My Comment:
It's always good when we can come up with an idea that will help to keep the students engaged and excited about learning. Rubrics can sometimes be overwhelming and the ease of the checklist helps to eliminate any confusion.

Project Five C4T-2 Summary

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome to the "Little-Bit-of-Everything" Post....

project based learning
Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

After listening to Anthony Capps conversations, in his Project Based Learning Videos Part 1 and Part 2, it is clear that Project Based Learning is the key to successful teaching and fun learning. He talked about several projects that he did with his class that really gets you thinking. Doing these projects showed each student what they have achieved, but also what they’ve learned. One of the projects, the students had to write letters to Congressman, Joe Bonner. They wanted to give their opinions as to how they felt about women being allowed to fight in combat. The kids were so excited to do this project. Some students had family members in the military, so they each could connect in a special way. This project made the students feel involved and accomplished. The projects Anthony chooses for his 3rd grade class are great projects that we could use as teachers. The students have fun, they want to learn, and they go home feeling achieved and happy. Project Based Learning is a learning and planning experience. It takes a lot of work but, in the end, you come out successful. Not all projects are perfect, but you as a person feel successful. You can always improve to become better.

learning cycle
In another video, Anthony also discussed iCurio, and how much he uses it in his classroom. It allows students to safely search websites pulled from online. Whether it is pictures, audio, video etc., iCurio allows teachers and students to store content they find valuable. Students using iCurio will get used to making folders and completing assignments online. This is also a great way to keep the students organized. iCurio is kid friendly, and having this in classrooms will be a great use. Students will learn how to be technology sufficient and gain knowledge each day. Anthony did yet another video about Discovery Education, which is another website that he uses with his students. Discover Education deals with science and social studies. Students used this when discovering many things, such as plants and people in history. As a teacher you are bringing these texts to life, and making the students feel like they are in the book. Students see it and watch it in progress, and most kids would rather be watchers compared to reading and writing.

The videos we watched were very helpful, and gave many good tips to our future teaching. We believe that everything he talked about will really help us in our own classrooms. Project Based Learning, iCurio and Discovery Education are great ways to benefit kid’s lives and make sure each child gets the attention they deserve. With Project Based Learning students have a better chance of becoming successful, as well as better learners and observers.

Authors: Lauren Patterson, Hilliary Sanders and Claire Williams

teachers are learners too
The "Anthony - Strange" List of Tips for Teachers

Anthony Capps is a former student of Dr. Strange in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. Anthony is now a 3rd grade teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary School. The duo discusses several important aspects of being an educator in the "Anthony-Strange list of Tips for Teachers" video.

Before we move to the list, I think it's important to mention that Anthony Capps is not your ordinary elementary school teacher. In Capps' classroom, he is using technology to assist his students with many of their assignments. He incorporates the use of iCurio and Discovery Education in his Project Based Learning lessons. His style of teaching accomplishes many things including keeping the students engaged by using tools they find interesting and fun while growing their ability to collaborate successfully. His teaching style is the new 21st century classroom! As mentioned earlier, Dr. Strange is an Educational Media Instructor at the University of South Alabama. His vast knowledge of the wide array of tech tools and programs for the classroom is invaluable. These two are definitely on top (and ahead) of the game. For these reason, any advice offered from these gentlemen should be taken, and applied in your own classroom.

Now, the list…

Be a constant learner yourself
Part of being an educator is to not only teach lessons, and classroom standards, but also to be a positive role model for your students and others around you. If we are interested in learning, they will notice and hopefully be interested themselves. It is clear that the methods of teaching are evolving, and we must keep up. We must continue to learn new techniques and programs and come up with our own new ideas on how to incorporate it all in the classroom.

Teaching never ends, It is hard work...But very rewarding
Anything worthwhile, is worth the time. We all want our students to learn and succeed so they can be productive and valuable members of society. In order to help them succeed, we must take steps to make ourselves valuable. One way to do that is by seeing teaching as not only a job, but as a hobby. By doing this, we spend much of our personal time working on our “craft” and growing our techniques and ideas for the classroom. Our efforts will pay off when we see that our students are growing and learning.

Be Flexible...The unexpected will happen!
The idea behind this tip is to to be flexible by having a back-up plan. Things may not always go as planned, and you do not want to be caught off guard. So when creating your lesson plans, make sure you think of everything. This would be especially true if you plan to use computers, iPads and such as learning tools in the classroom. Say the school lost power and/or internet connection, what would you do? It’s never a bad idea to have an alternate plan, just in case.

Start with a Goal
I’m sure every teacher starts the school year with boosting themselves up, and giving themselves a pep talk about how this year is going to be the best and every student is going to do well and pass on to the next grade level. This should be every teacher’s goal. But how do you guarantee this happens? Kids like to have fun, so make learning fun for them. Find new unique ways to keep the students engaged, and eager to learn. For instance, using podcast is a easy and simple way for students to listen to a lesson, and yet it seems fun to them. It somewhat relates to back to their second tip, on how we are to make teaching more fun for ourselves. If you are having fun, it doesn’t feel like you are learning.

Engage 100% of your Students, 100% of the Time, in 100% of Their Projects
It is important to keep students interested in learning. This can be accomplished by making learning fun to them. One way to do this is by using programs such as iCurio and Discovery Education. These sites are safe for use in the classrooms and offer new, unique ways for the students to learn. In particular, Discovery Education offer interactive books, which makes reading fun. You can also engage your students by challenging them to find fun and interesting facts about another country by using iCurio. Students typically thrive on order and routine, so it is very important to be consistent. Try to always incorporate these types of learning tools in every assignment. Remember, if you are having fun, it doesn't feel like you are working and learning. So make it fun!>

Reflect, Revise and Share your work with an audience
Their last tip is probably the most important one of all. Being a teacher takes a lot of time, and we must also have it in our minds to do our best and produce the best learning environment for our students. We take the time to create great lesson plans, and decorate the perfect classroom, so it shouldn’t be difficult to take the time to step back and reflect on what we have done, to see if there is room for improvement. There may not be any need to improve, but taking the time to observe and reflect will keep your mind growing for the next phase.

This list has certainly been insightful and very useful. The main idea that I take away from this list is that we should always strive to be the best all around teacher possible. Be the teacher that inspires her students to want to learn, because she exhibited a learning spirit. Be a teacher that is resourceful and knowledgeable. And finally be the teacher that your students will want to come back and visit, or one day write about on their personal blog because you were their inspiration.

Author: Hilliary Sanders

project based learning
Additional Thoughts About Lessons by:Anthony Capps

A lesson, provides framework that guides class instruction. It is based on student needs in terms of the curriculum, and unit of instruction. Lessons often reflect the interests and needs of individual students. Anthony Capps added his additional thought about lesson plans. They must be made up of four components in terms of being four layers thick. Being a teacher, you must be able to come up with a year plan, unit plan, week plan and daily lesson plan. When you think about it, it seems tough, but it helps you stay extremely organized and prepared. Lessons not only help the teacher stay organized, but it helps the student as well. Students can prepare what they have learned over the course of time, as well as gain knowledge.

With the year plan, you must think about how it fits in with your entire school year. This is extremely important and crucial because you have to make sure that it fits in perfectly with everything you do. The unit plan is the second layer. It is for devising projects, hands on activities, group projects etc. You must start with an aspect or approach. You cannot rush the unit and say “We are going to learn this today, and you must know all of it by tomorrow”. Rushing is not the key, You must casually progress it overtime. When the students start with an aspect they should be able to master the outcome in 6 to 8 weeks. The third layer is the week plan. Several questions come about with this. How are you devising your week to get everything done? Are you going to get the goal for the week done? What is your Monday through Friday goal? The fourth layer is the daily lesson plan. The daily lesson is something you do daily with each child. Delivering to your students, you must get their attention properly and have them engaged in their learning. Having something afterwards, to see what they have learned, and to where you can pick up the day. If not you will not be successful in lesson planning period.

The four components we have here, are very crucial in having an effective teaching method. Without these four components, teachers would be out of sorts, and wouldn't have a clue of where to begin. Anthony Capps did a wonderful job explaining the lesson in layers. It is like an onion, you peel one layer after another. The four ideas are a fantastic way to have a phenomenal lesson in your classroom. As a future teacher, I will be using this method in my teaching.

Author: Claire Williams

learn teach tech
Don't Teach Tech. - Use it

In the video of Anthony Capps, he made it plain and clear that teachers should use technology in their classrooms. I can definitely say I'm hesitant when it comes to incorporating new ideas and components simply because there's a chance that students may not understand. Anthony made a very good point in saying that we should not teach technology to our students. Instead, we should just allow them to use it. Don't get the wrong idea though. Yes you have to give the students directions but, setting aside 30 minutes a day to teach students how to work a program isn't necessary. Using technology comes natural to just about every child so inadvertently , they will be able to navigate through websites and programs without a great deal of prior knowledge.

Moreover, Anthony reminds us to scaffold the information we give our students and to build upon the prior skills they've already learned. You can't expect our students to produce a perfect product the first try but the following week, they can perfect the previously learned skill and add on the new component.

All in all, Anthony made some very valid points during his video and it's great confirmation for apprehensive individuals like myself that students will be able to grasp on to the new and innovative ways to learn and they will be excited to do so.

Author: Lauren Patterson

BP Seven - Collaborative Assignment

Friday, October 4, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

little red riding hood
In this Project Based Learning assignment, students will pair up and together read the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The students will use iCurio to determine the capitol of states listed and the distance between each capitol. They will track her journey to Grandmother’s house using worksheets provided. They will also present a fun fact to the class about a city / town of their choice. And finally the students will tally the miles traveled by Little Red Riding Hood on her journey to Grandmother's house.

Little Red Riding Hood - Lesson Plan
Created by: Lauren Patterson, Hilliary Sanders and Claire Williams

Project Thirteen - Collaborative Assignment

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Comments-4-Kids | September Summary

Blogging is a unique way for people to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences and opinions. In this series, I am going to share the summaries of different blogs I read and what I took from them.

together everyone achieves more
Week 1

The first week of September, I had the pleasure of reading a blog post written by Michelle, who is a tenth grade high school student from Baldwin County, Alabama. For her class assignment titled, "This I Believe", Michelle was to write about something in which she believed in. Since Michelle is a softball player and believes in team work, she decided to write about her experiences on the softball field and how team work is the most important aspect of the game. Michelle acknowledges that it takes every player to achieve the win, and that everyone needs to have the confidence that their teammate is going to contribute 100% effort in every game.

In my response to Michelle, I affirmed her thoughts on teamwork. It truly is much better to have a team that works together cohesively, rather than a team that only plays for their personal best. I also felt it was important to tell Michelle how important teamwork is off the field.  I also mentioned to her that in many college classes we work in groups and how helpful it is to collaborate with your group members.

world of minecraft
Week 2

The next week, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit about the game of Minecraft from Yeon Jay, an elementary student in Auckland, New Zealand.  Prior to reading this blog, I had no idea what Minecraft was.  Yeon Jay wrote a "dilly" of a story about two siblings who were addicted to the game of Minecraft.  In the story, the siblings went to great lengths to continue to play the game. Even so far as to sneak around from their parents.  Yeon Jay's story is a work in progress, so that is as far as the story goes.  Short? Yes, but long enough to keep those who love Minecraft interested and those who were "uneducated" in Minecraft searching for answers.  Apparently there is no real goal oriented objective in the game.  You basically create and build constructions out of textured cubes.  The players can explore, gather resources, crafting and participate in combats. It seems pretty dull, but based on the huge numbers of people playing the game of Minecraft, I guess you have to "play it to get it?"  

Either way, Yeon Jay has many followers waiting to hear the rest of the story......

Nelson Mandella
Week 3

The last kid blog I read for September was written by an 8th grade student from Auckland, New Zealand named Zion.  In his blog, Zion gave a brief biography of His Excellency Nelson Mandella.  I personally enjoy learning about popular political figures and their backgrounds and upbringings.  I believe that your upbringings play a huge role in who we will become.  So with high profile people, I find it particularily intriguing to know more about them.  I mentioned my interest to Zion and encouraged him to dig further and learn more as well.

Project Six C4K-1 Summary

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Personal Learning Network...

Andres Lara quoted, "There's no such a thing as standing still, for the world is always moving; if you're standing still, you are being left behind." This is one of my favorite quotes and it couldn't be truer. With new technologies being introduced every day, how can we stay informed and keep track of the things we find helpful? Fortunately, sites such as Netvibes and Symbaloo were created to help serve as the hub for all of the digital resources, programs and websites you use on a regular basis. These types of website are particularly useful when creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN). A PLN is basically a way to create connections that contribute to your growth and development. Since we essentially learn from one another, having connections with other educators in your PLN is a must. For your PLN to be successful, it’s important to reach out and make connections. A few ways to connect would be by commenting on blogs and podcasts, replying to comments and tweeting. The idea is to build relationships with people with whom you value their opinion and can call on when you need advice. The more connections you make, the more valuable resources you will have.

I have started creating my on PLN using Symbaloo. I chose to use Symbaloo because it was very user friendly and I liked its esthetically clean appearance. You also have the ability to create more "tiles" in Symbaloo. This will be particularly helpful as your PLN grows. In my PLN, I have included the following:

Social Media Sites:

Social media sites are the easiest way to make connections. It seems that people with the same interest tend to gravitate towards one another; especially on Pinterest. Pinterest is a great site for sharing and finding ideas for classrooms. There are hundreds if not thousands of boards for creative ideas.

Educational Resource Sites:
Discovery Education
PBS Learning

As an educator, these resourceful sites are invaluable. The content is dependable and safe for use in the classrooms. The sites are also extremely user friendly.

Educational Reference Sites:
Mobile County Public Schools
Baldwin County Public Schools
Alabama College & Career Ready Standards
Common Core State Standards

A huge part of our responsibilities will be to make sure we are teaching in accordance with the standards set by our state. So having quick access to our local School Boards, State ACCR Standards and the National Common Core Standards helps us to stay informed.

Educational Blogs and PLN's:
Krissy Venosdale- Venspired
Dean Shareski – Ideas and Thoughts
Lisa Nielsen – Innovative Educator
The Educator’s PLN
Classroom 2.o PLN

A great way to build your PLN is by adding other educators PLN's and blogs to your network. We are all here to learn and grow, so it's ok to feed off of one another. From time to time they may share stories of their difficulties in the classroom and how they dealt with it. By sharing their stories, they provide possible solutions and words of encouragement that may be useful if you are in a similar situation.

My Personal Space:
Google Drive
EDM 310 Class Blog
My Personal Blog

Finally, I added Google, Gmail, Google Drive, My Blog and the EDM Class Blog for convenience and quick reference.

Here is my PLN....

symbaloo personal network

When created correctly, your PLN can be extremely resourceful and valuable. Remember, the more connections you make, the more valuable resources you will have.

Project Two - Progress Report