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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 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

1 comment:

  1. This comment only applies to the individual portion of your blog post.

    "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." Wonderful statement to make that sums up the video you watched by Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps. If you keep this in mind and follow the things you listed in your post you will become a 21st Century teacher that is invaluable to any school.

    Excellent post this week it was thorough and interesting.