Thursday, February 26, 2015

Walk my World: I you?

I dream many dreams. Some subconscious and some actively. I dream of having a beautiful family with lots of love and passion. I dream to make a difference in my students lives. For them to relinquish  the hardships/burdens they hold on their shoulders and strive for their own dreams. I dream to continue to support my friends and family. To live in the moment and to cherish the events in my path. I dream for patience, because it can always be worse.

Then I look at my more traditional dreams. Some I have had since I was a baby. Dreams that separated me from the people I love. A dream of me on one side of the land and a large crack dividing myself from my family. But my dreams are also good. Dreaming of my family past present and future sitting around the table sharing stories, laughter, and warmth through conversations. 

I dream, what is it you dream about? #walkmyworld #itdml

Newsela for Teachers: Micro Talk

Here is my PowToon micro talk on Newsela for teachers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Storify week 7

Here is my storify post for the week 7 readings.

Week 7: Pirate Teaching

What instructional and pedagogical opportunities are out there to build student voice, choice, and agency? How will you create learning experiences for your unique learners?

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg     This past week we watched two videos about how to "teach like a pirate".  I started with the question, what does it mean to teach like a pirate?  In the first video, the group discussion talked about being creative when teaching. Taking a step back from the traditional classroom setting and allowing the students to integrate their our creative juices. I started to think about how I allow my students to be creative.  Sure, all teachers have projects to allow their students to be creative but why can't we do more?  From this point on my goal as a teacher is to allow my students to start thinking outside of the box.  Be creative and embrace the ideas of leadership.  Simple activities such as the following picture can help students look at things a little differently.  At first my students looked at the picture and was very confused.  After a couple activities similar to this one my students started to think outside the box and develop their creative ideas.  Slowly, the creativity poured over into our curriculum projects.  It is a work in progress but one worth striving for.   The video also stated "it isn't about engaging your students in what you are talking about but bringing your material into things they are already engaged in."  I think it might be a challenge to incorporate this statement into my classroom each day but one that is feasible.  Right now my students are very engaged with social media and music.  I would like to integrate a song production project into my next unit. Having the students develop a song can also help them study the for the unit exam.  

     The second video concepts were similar to video one. The hangout discussed how the lessons we teach should be similar to games.  the aspect of fun should be evident in everything we teach.  The author of "Teach like a Pirate" also referenced  Malcum X, "attitude by any means necessary."  He also stated, "even though we know we know we have to be passionate, we aren't always passionate about everything we teach."  I agree with this statement.  Even as a teacher, it is sometimes difficult to be as engaged and enthusiastic with each subject we teach.  Portraying the passion is a difficult task.  As a physical education teacher I find myself struggling in certain units mainly because the units are stale.  I have been teaching the same information in the same way for a couple years.  Maybe this is why some teachers believe it is difficult to be as passionate about each subject we teach.  A way to change that is to challenge ourselves and other teachers to do more in their classroom.  Provide students opportunities to be creative and help guide them through the process.  Passing the "teaching" reins can be a rejuvenating idea.

Walk my World-2 places at once

Technology offers us the opportunity to be in two places at once. I apologize to do this but I was in two places at once this past week. I am holding a picture of myself bundled up sledding with my family while standing in a bathing suit on the beautiful beaches of Aruba!! #walkmyworld #aruba

Friday, February 13, 2015

Panel Discussion Topic #4

Pick one panel discussion you find interesting and discuss how it connects to the Task Force recommendations.

The panel discussion I choose to look at was improving international support for education. The reason I picked this panel discussion is because I feel it closely related to many of the task force recommendations discussed.  At the beginning of the discussion, the Global Monitoring Report was addressed. Mr. Antoninis stated, "A lot of people have focused more on some of the projections we have made for some of the poorest and most vulnerable children who perhaps would not be able to reach the education for our goals well into the century, in the case of lower second education even well into the next century." I believe this statement to be true yet scary.  No matter how often we try and predict the outcome, it is always just that, a prediction.  Teaching is like the weather, very unpredictable.  Now, school systems are trying to be on the "same playing field" as other schools. But each playing field and its given conditions are different depending on where they are located.  What do we lose when we require everyone to test the same and learn the same information?  Do we lose anything?  I believe we lose the essence of how students learn. As Heidi Hayes Jacobs stated in our discussion, "the question should be what is the experience we want our students to have."  Below are four task force recommendations and how I feel the discussion connected to them:

Recommendation 1A Global Paradigm Shift 

The task force recommendation discusses the shift from globally opening the door to access plus learning. The discussion panel addressed this recommendation numerous times.  In one statement the panel discussed, "of course, as we know, that is the lion’s share and it will grow, and I think for an organization like Save the Children our view is increasingly our role is going to be targeting our advocacy at the country level to empower our partners to advocate to their own governments for the better spending of their taxpayer’s money on education and other basic services".  The word empower stuck out at me.  How can we empower our teachers and also our students.  The global paradigm shift suggests just that.  Learning on a deeper level is an idea many teachers are pushed to pursue.  Yesterday, my school had a faculty meeting regarding the "flipped classroom."  The man who invented the flipped classroom spoke.  In his closing statements he said, "if any teacher can be replaced by YouTube, they should be."  At first I was taken back by that statement.  But looking at the statement more clearly, I realized his meaning behind what he said.  The speaker challenged us as teachers to be irreplaceable.  Everything we teach is on YouTube.  Knowing and understanding is a basic concept students can do at home. It is the applying, creating and empowering students that makes us as teachers irreplaceable.

Recommendation 2Learning Competencies

The task force recommendation, learning competencies, talk about the various levels of learning and the connections made based on a variety of set standards. This task force connects with the panel through various discussions.  The panel stated, "I do think that we need to help our countries work on the efficiency piece in addition to how much money’s being deployed".  As stated in a previous response, my school has been given devices for both the teachers and students as well as an updated technology system.  Does this help our students be on the same playing field as some other affluent schools?  What does learning competencies look like then at our school?  I believe learning competencies are different depending on the schools make up.  The only way schools can be on the same learning competency from district to district is start with the demographics and address the necessary need of learning.  For example, it is my experience in my school, that the main goal is connecting with the students.  Once there is a trust, learning can be endless.  If the trust is not there, the students will be resilient to learning from the teacher.

Recommendation 5: Equity

This recommendations discusses the equity between our students and the globally connected world as well as connecting our students to the world on an equal level. The panel stated, "So, I think we’re at a tipping point now, and the replenishment would be fantastic if we came out of that replenishment with real mutual accountability on both sides of the table, this is the money we’re committing, this is how we’re going to report on it, and this is how we’re going to make sure it reaches the poorest and the most marginalized children in this country."  I believe many schools do have funds to provide students with adequate education. I also believe not all schools provide those resources equally and nessecary to the programs in need. For example, my schools has made many budget cuts. Programs that once flourished are now gone; however, each teacher has a smart board and each student has a Samsung Galaxy. Does this provide our students with an equal opportunity as other schools? I am not sure I have that answer. Every school is different and therefore needs to be looked for their needs and not what every other school is getting. By losing teachers and classes the students miss out on smaller classes as well they now have a less variety to choose from.  At the beginning of the school year a speaker stood in front of our staff and discussed discipline in our schools. Once statement stuck with me. The speaker said, "treat every child fair but do not treat them equal." Powerful statement that to this day, still makes me think.

Recommendation 7: Taking Action

The last recommendation I would like to discuss is task force seven, taking action. In my opinion, this task force recommendation is the most important. The recommendation discusses applying all the recommendations to become a globally competent school. The panel addresses all of the task force but the most important one they discuss is applying the information in schools. Discussing the issue is one thing, acting on it is another.  The panel says, "a lot of time and effort wasted in reporting. When governments have to do a multiple of reports to all of their donors every year, they’re taking effort away from what they ought to be doing sort of as their day job, which is promoting better education". Many times schools focus on implementing initiative after initiative. Before we know it we have many different initiatives, but none are applied to the full capacity.  The panel touched upon some important questions we need such as, "does the child feel safe? Is the child learning to learn? Is the teacher focusing on the child? Is the teacher punishing the child?" Those are the driving force behind what education should be. I believe we can meet these goals and objectives as long as we continue to ask, are MY students led to learn.

Task Force Recommendations; Discussion Points #2 and #3

Choose two of the following to discuss:

     The article Toward Universal Learning, discussed many different task force recommendations.  The first task force I would like to focus on is recommendation one, a global paradigm shift
 This task force suggests  "a shift in global focus and investment from universal access to access plus learning." This task force recommendation discusses how learning should provide students with an equality of both connection and knowledge. Not only should we provide students with the ability to access this information on a global level but also allow access with a deeper connection to the information they seek. 
     Looking at this recommendation, I remember an assignment I was given in elementary school.  We were required to provide a family tree.  The family tree must provide examples of where you family originated from as well as pictures.  Making this a starting point, I showcased pictures of myself and what I liked to do with my family. Based on this task force recommendation, why not take it a step further? Why not provide food from my various cultural backgrounds? A tangible item might make the project more meaningful to students.  It could have the ability to connect with learners in those parts of the world my family extends from. Now, not only can a learner showcase who they are but they can connect on a deeper, more globally connected meaning.

     The second task for I would like to discuss is recommendations two, learning competencies. This level discusses the seven domains of learning as seen below. 

Image CC from the Toward Universal Learning article

This task force recommendation, allows our systems to provide students with the essential knowledge they will need for their future.   The competencies are broken down into various age groups as well learning settings and therefore can be designed to the needed of the individual students. Looking at the spectrum of learning across the various age groups, one can then develop a lesson and curriculum around the needs of each student.  The task force recommendation provides teachers with the information they need to help the students and it also provides the students with areas of need.  I believe this task force has more of a connection to the Common Core State Standards. Not only do we need to provide our students with accurate information but we are also requiring them to obtain and apply the information with modern day learning.

Discussion #1

How well do you think our schools are meeting the goals of this document?  Why or why not? What needs to happen or what are the next steps?

The article Succeeding Globally through International Education and Engagement discusses goals set for our students in different areas in our education system.  Some of these goals are:
  • A world-class education for all students
  • Global competencies for all students
  • International bench marking and applying lessons learned from other countries
  • Education diplomacy and engagement with other countries.
The article suggests, "a globally competent student is necessary because of economic competitiveness, global challenges, national security and diplomacy, and a growing diverse society."
Image CC from Succeeding Globally through International Education and Engagement

In order to answer the question whether or not I believe our schools are meeting the goals of this article I must first look at the objectives.  The article discusses four main objectives:

1.      Increase the global competencies of all U.S. students, including those from traditionally disadvantaged groups.

I believe there is a strong push to help diminish the gap in disadvantaged groups such as inner city schools and less fortunate communities.  In contrast, there is a very strong part of education that seems to be lacking when one is solely focused on global competencies and marking every student on the same higher education page, connection.  I work in an inner city school and therefore get to see this first hand.  Within the past couple years, we have updated our systems, classrooms and devices.  Every classroom has a smart board and every child has a device.  Do those updates put my students on the same level as an affluent community? I do not believe so.  Sure it is one thing to provide these opportunities to our students, but it is another to utilize it in a way the students can connect.  Although my students now have these opportunities to "open new doors" how many actually take them?  When looking at my population, there are many kids who leave school thinking about their job they hate but have to keep to pay bills for their household.  Or another student who is in a violent home just waiting to go back to school so they be out of that environment.  I believe the more important question is, what is global competency in those traditionally disadvantaged groups and then we can look at whether or not they are being met.

2.     Enhance federal, state and local education policy and practice applying lessons learned from other countries to drive excellence and innovation in the U.S. and abroad.

I do not believe our system harnesses this objective as much as we should.  Traditionally, our classrooms provide students with information they will be tested on to assess our schools progress and therefore driving our classroom discussions.  My classroom had the privilege of having a student from China in our class a little over a year ago.  During the school year we discussed what schools look like in China.  How subjects are broken up and taught to the students and what an average school day consists of. The students in my class were astounded by the educational system.  This particular student discussed how in China, students have to apply to high school much like college for our students.  If you did not meet certain requirements you were placed in a workforce.  Am I saying this is how our country should handle our educational system? No; however, I do believe the educational system is valued more when given higher standards.  The emphasis is more on student responsibilities and expectations rather than other factors. 

3.      Advance U.S. international priorities in strategically important countries through active education diplomacy.

I do believe some school systems meet this objective providing students with a meaningful education through internships and other globally connected resources. So if only some schools harness this objective, how can we improve this? I believe we can bring this into our schools more if we continue to push program such as iearn and the mystic seaport exploration. There are many beneficial programs to help our student acknowledge the world that is around them. Embracing this and developing connections can only happen when there is a want from the student population. I believe this "want" will come after we teach them the basics. Opening new doors to other curriculum around the globe and various cultures may be scary for some and therefore students can be resilient. I found in my classroom, the students were questioning the boy from China more once he shared his everyday school schedule with them. Of course, you will have your students who focus on "oh my goodness you had an hour for lunch and could go wherever you wanted"! But most students valued his education because he showcased how much he valued it.

4.     Develop, monitor and continuously improve ED’s international activities in an integrated and coordinated manner

At first, I did not believe our school systems demonstrated this objective to the best of our ability.  Since programs such as STEM, Common Core, and the SBAC testing, many of these objectives are being met.  All of these tests are done to have a blanket, "bar", or level for the children in the United States who adopted them.  I do this we need to continue this work in order to improve our international activities.  I also think it would be interesting to view these programs on a global level and see where our country matches up to other countries.  Then we are truly see as a country where we stand. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 6 Storify-Distance Learning

Here is my Storify for week 6.

Week 6 Reflection on the Videos

There are many things to think about, talk about, and be worried about as we review this week’s materials. For example, can we empower students through the right infrastructure, the right culture, and/or the right processes? Should we start with outcomes first, or should that now change to meet new learners and the types of engagement/experience we want for them? How do we connect the real world to the other real world? Should we actually be worried about big brother and privacy as we try to engage 21st century learners in a connected environment? Is the cloud the right way to go as we begin to embrace ubiquitous learning? Are there ethical and legal implications of this new embrace to connectivity?

Image CC from US magazine

My #itdml class had three videos we were required to watch.  Each of the videos discussed real-life problems I see in our school systems today.  For example, in the 
Connected Learning: Real World Engagement video discussed how schools are asking the wrong questions.  As a school system we are being defined by our test scores and therefore teachers have to cover a certain amount of curriculum.  Rather than engaging the students, teachers rush to get through the material so they do not fall behind.  By doing this, it seems as though we have lost sight of what school is.  Creativity sharing, developing, and analyzing are all a part of the Common Core State Standards yet do we provide our students opportunities to do these things?   As teachers and a school we quickly become defined by our outcomes.  Nothing seems to matter but reaching certain standards and materials.  The video suggests we should be asking, "What is the experience we want the student to have"?  This questions therefore harness engagement.  Students soon are not embarrassed by failures but rather feel comfortable enough to come back and correct it.  There is a necessary need to know.  Each student will then have a desire and a want to know.  So how do you create a need to know question?  How can you get your students excited to find out the answer and questions items they do not know so they can find the answer?  These are all emotional questions.  In order to be a need to know it must be an emotional connection first. The video questioned, how do you design a fracture problem to become a need to know lesson for a nine year old? The answer is by developing a meaningful connection so the nine year old wants to know the information rather than has to know. Like anything else we do in our lives, learning comes easier to things we find enjoyment out of.  I think about when my eight year old is required to read a Chapter book and reflect on it.  It is a struggle to get her to read sometimes; however, it is in contrast very difficult to pull her away from a gymnastic biography of Gabby Douglas.  Although the Gabby Douglas book is longer with a smaller text, she still loves to read it.  Her enjoyment adds to her learning.  Now she understands gymnastic terms and language which seems foreign to me!

The second video, Internships Offer Meaningful Real-World Learning is about a student who is involved in an internship program to check water quality in his hometown.  Internships provide students with new ways to not only meet new people but also do things they might not normally do in school.  Based on the student’s interest, the internship connects them with the community.  Students can then work in a real-life, hands on experience.  This video posed the question, what is school? In this "school", hands on programs with real-life professionals is a must do and not an option to read in a book.  Internships provide students with an individual learning plan. The students are usually in the community about two days a week to learn in the real world.  After all, what are real world academics when they aren't being used in the real world?  In this case, Noah was able to not only learn various different skills in the internship, it also provided him with a purposeful connection in the community. I believe internships allow students to take control of their own education.  It allows students to actively view problems that matter around the community and creativity collaborate with professional’s ways to enhance and change it.

The last video, RSA-Animate-Re-Imagining Work said 71% of people are disengaged at work.  To me, that number seems really high.  Why could this be?  The video suggests technology could be a problem as well as the environment we work in.  Technology allows information to become public and therefore could cause problems.  But the true question is how can we innovate our ideas and harness creativity?  A cubical provides a workplace isolation.  If they are taken away, more people will talk to each other.  But what happens with the "big brother" and the feeling of always be "watched".  People and even my students tend to comfort themselves and design their own workplace with headphones. Ultimately, the flexibility of the workplace is encouraged.  Although scary for most companies, flexibility and workers taking control of how they work is suggested as a necessary element in the workplace.  
Image CC by

Being a teacher, this is a scary scene.  I fear many things when students are able to use the tools in front of them and use them with how they feel they need to.  I believe one major problem with this is many teachers, bosses, and "big brothers" feel without the proper guidance and training work might not be done.  I have been trying to relinquish some of the control in my classroom.  Some of my classes do better with this then other classes.  I do see a sense of fear in my students when I tell them to be creative.  Is this because I have told them all along what they will be doing?  Or is this the typical behavior of a student in the 21st century?  Does our school allow for creative thinking or are we too focused on curriculum, topics and deadlines?  Since I have first stepped back, my students do not flinch as much as they used to.  They still are struggling with being creative but I think it takes times.  I decided to ask my students one day what types of games they played as kids.  Were they out in the backyard developing games and if so what were the games.  Most of my students said they were never outside developing games.  Instead they were working.  Working to pay bills for their family.  If they weren't working they were playing video games.  This made me think of the video clip from "Grown Ups".  In the video, two children were confused when their dad asked them to play outside rather than sit inside and play video games. So how can we break this cycle? Where does it start?

Response #2

After you spend some time exploring the site, or the one below from Facing the Future, please post 2 or 3 lesson ideas from the site you'd like to try with your students or in your school.

I started to look at the Facing the Future website and found myself engulfed in the lessons they had to offer.  There were many lessons I could use in my high school health education classroom. Below are a couple of those lessons as well as an explanation of how I could use them in my classroom: 

  1. Apples to Apples: The lesson looks at the differences in "apples" based on where they are grow, how much water they receive, and other differences.  Although they were grown in different areas of the world, the apples are seemingly identical. I would compare this lesson to my students during the discussion of discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudices.  Although we may come from different places and raised in different ways are are alike and should be seen as the same because ultimately, we are all human.
  2. Are You Buying This?  In this lesson, students create and present mock television commercials for products linked to unhealthy behaviors. The students first present the information "as seen on TV" and then produce the same commercial with the products negative impacts.  This lesson can be incorporated in both my health and physical education classrooms.  The students can use this lesson in nutrition showcasing different types of foods as well as exercising/diets.  I believe this lesson would be an interesting comparison to what we see on TV and the true message behind the marketing.
  3. Bio Poem: My students already create a BIO poem during the first couple days of class.  They create a poster, chimerical, website, as well as various other ideas to portray a message of "who they are".  This lesson is intended to illustrate students strengths, interests, and the factors that have made them who they are today.
  4. The Choice is Yours: This lesson could be used in my nutrition unit for both my physical education and health education lessons.  During the lesson, students look at the benefits and consequences of purchasing different foods. I would like to incorporate different countries as well.  As we know, we eat different items based on where we live.  It might be interesting to extend this lesson and give each student a different country and showcase what a typical "entree" would look like at the dinner table. The student's can then compare and contrast the meals from all over the world. Which foods are healthier? Why?
  5. Connections All Around Me: Me, My Food and My Environment: Although this lesson is ideally for K-4th graders, I believe my Freshman can benefit from it as well.  In this lesson we would examine various agriculture places such as dairy farms, a produce farm, or a local garden. Based on how the foods are produced, each student develops a short story or video. Unfortunately, many of my students do not have the opportunity to have a garden or see where their food grows.  I think it would be a great lesson to not only have my students witness but also take part in organizing a community garden the whole town can use.  The students can act as the "teachers" and help the community understand how the food grows and where it comes from. We could also take it a step further and can go into the elementary classrooms to help mentor the students on this subject area.
As you can see there are many lessons I could use in my everyday classroom.  Although they are not specific to health and physical education classes, they are great ideas to start with and incorporate global literacy.

Response #1

After reading Heidi Hayes Jacobs' book, in what ways have you worked with teachers or teaching teams to create interdisciplinary units? Have any had a global perspective? This topic is one that both our department heads and administrators look for in our collaborations, so if you haven't had those discussions yet, this is the time to start thinking about it.  If you've not done a collaboration yet, how might you get the conversation started?

I've not had a great chance to provide my students with interdisciplinary units as much as I would like. At the high school level there are many hurdles to pass over. Even though these hurdles should not be excuses, they are still reality. Our freshman classes are provided with a "team". The teams are named after our schools mission statement: pride, integrity, respect, and lastly courage. The teachers in those teams are given a "duty" period to get together to discuss cross disciplinary subjects. I find testing had a big part in the lack of cross curricular units. I even find myself cramming information due to state testing, field trips, and snow days to name a few. Not only do we have limited time with our students, but teachers may be covering different units at different rates due to our de-leveling of classes. During my nutrition unit I talk with a couple of the math teachers as well as the Foods classes to help enhance the learning. In my opinion that is not enough. 

Another hardship I find is the lack of time. Our school provides our teachers with "half days" on Thursdays. Every Thursday the students leave a half an hour early and the teachers are required to stay late in meetings. Most of this time are set up as data, department, faculty and SWAT meetings leaving no days to catch up or even talk with our teachers. 

I believe technology can be used as a tool to help connect our teachers. By utilizing technology, learning can be done at their own pass and at their leisure. Truthfully does that help our students? I guess we won't know until we try

Walk my World: Dawn of a New Day

What does "dawn" look like in your world? What do new beginnings look, sound and smell like as you start your day? What gets you excited to get up and enter your world? Do you have a favorite time of day?

As I wake at the beginning of a new day during these fridged winter months, I roll over to kiss my husband and stare at the innocence of my daughter sleeping. I thank god for being blessed with a new baby on the way and pet my endless loving dog who has now made her way on my bed. The smell of hot coffee brews from two rooms away and I stretch to wake myself up. The house is silent but soon will be filled with laughter and childs play. I listen in complete silence, gazing out at the backyard. I feel a sense of calming rush over my body. This is my favorite time of day. The time when I can hear myself breathing and find comfort knowing I am blessed with a family and beautiful home over my head on these fridges days.  This morning though, there is a slight chill in the air...this could only mean one thing! That's right, #SNOWDAY!!!! #walkmyworld #itdml

Friday, February 6, 2015

Week 5 Readings: Pedagogy

Based on the readings, explain what you find to be the most potent concepts that can be transferred into your own teaching practices and why.

When I think about pedagogy there are many things that enter my mind; curriculum, units, education, and concepts to name a few.  So what is “pedagogy” and how is it changing our educational world?  Tony Bates looks at that question in the article, New Pedagogy Emerging. The article addresses areas of education, more simply, what drives the development of a new pedagogy?  How pedagogy changes in society and student expectations through technology.

There are many hurdles to overcome when talking about pedagogy.  The main challenge is stated by  Tony Bates, “how to find, analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge as it constantly shifts and grows”.  Students now are required to critically think on their own independent level.  Not only that, but they also have correlate the relevant information through technology and other software across disciplines!  The text states, "pedagogy means developing students with the skills to manage their own learning throughout life, so they can continue to learn after graduation”.  The "new student expectations" are set high and we as teachers need to prepare them the best we can.  So how can we do that?  The readings and videos gave some great examples of how we can prepare our students.  Some examples include:

  1. Actively engage students in a fun and creative way
  2. Allow a connection so the students can see the relevance of their learning to the real world
  3. Use new technology such as blogs, wikis and social media, and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets
  4. Empower learners
  5. Innovation
As a teacher I looked deeper into my classroom.  Do I prepare my students enough and if not what can I take from the readings to help my students become more competent?  The following are areas I believe can be improved through my teaching:

1. Blended learning: I am a part of a blended learning committee and therefore have an expectation to continue the learning home with the students as a ‘flipped’ classroom. When I think about this concepts it scares me.  Mainly because student grades are not based as heavily on homework as it used to be.  With that said, will more students be willing to involve themselves in a flipped classroom when technology is introduced?  Could I be using the wrong information to portray to my students? These are all questions I do not have the answers to other than to continue to try new ideas and concepts.

2. Use of multimedia and open education resources: Our school uses many YouTube clips as well as TED talks. The students can now access the information with their school issued tablets or smartphones through our new BYOD policy.  It is a concept I would like to use more in my classroom.  I would like to have my students develop YouTube video clips of various exercises.  The exercises can be in the weight room, pool, or even the gymnasium.  I believe if my students are capable of producing these video clips, they can be used for future reference.  I also believe my current students would like to view/share the videos if they were of their peers.

3. Increased learner control, choice, and independence: Unfortunately, this is a concept I would like to become better at. Exploration and independence is a hard thing for teachers to let go of.  However, when given control, the students appear to "step up to the plate" and prove they are capable of the task at hand.  I have tried to take a step back and become a facilitator in a couple of my classes.  I do believe this does not work with all classes.  Due to simple maturity, some of my classes would not do well with independent learning.  I believe this has a direct connection with a lack of creativity and exploration as a child. 

4. Anywhere, anytime, any size learning: Anytime learning can be a great experience.  Our school provides students with an online program called Odyssey Ware. This online class provides students with the ability to work from anywhere at their own pace.  It allows learners a great opportunity to "catch up" or even get ahead in the classroom setting.  

5. New forms of assessment: Our school, as well as many others are starting to adopt the idea of e-portfolios and peer assessments.  As a school, we have talked about requiring our students to develop a portfolio for a graduation requirement.  Personally I think it is a great concept.  I believe this is a good concept because once the students leave high school they are able to not only collect information they have used throughout high school but also reflect on their learning.  


  1. A New Pedagogy is Emerging... and Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  2. Grant wiggins-Understanding by Design 1& 2 (Videos)

Reflection on the Face to Face

Yesterday, our #itdml program took part in a couple on air hangouts with Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Lisa Jobson and two ladies from Mystic Seaport Museum.   It was a great experience.  Below is a brief overview of the discussion we had with all of the participants.

Hangout with Heidi Hayes Jacobs, author of Mastering Global Literacy:
  • Global literacy should involve relevant and meaningful aspects of  teaching
  • There is a total of 5 portals in global literacy and writing in curriculum
  • Scaling is an important portal
  • We should scale nationally, through our school, as well as an individual
  • Literacy is depth and connectivity, mainly making meaning of it all
  • Finland gives feedback and not tests, is there a difference? 
  • Google earth pro is a great tool to use in our classrooms to help to connect our students with the world.

Lisa Jobson was our second speaker discussing project from iearn:
  • We as teachers need to teach our students to learn and work cross culturally
  • Students work better with connection to the information 
  • iearn is designed by teachers
  • Some projects have 60 classrooms working together
  • If a teacher wants to use iearn they should:
    • start with projects already up and running
    • pick one that correlates with their topics
    • iearn has a collaboration center for teachers secure
    • iearn is project based learning 
    • Join a teachers cohort with other teachers around the world to learn how to use iearn (teachers lounge)
  • Projects show one day in the life of another student through various journal entry and photos
  • To good projects are solar cooking, and the teddy bear project (swap teddy/mascot across world)

The last hangout we did was with two people from Mystic Seaport Museum:
  • Website for educators 
  • Art and objects are stored in a vault
  • Museum offers opportunities for students to connect with artifacts used around the world.
  • Teachers act as facilitators of learning
  • Student driven atmosphere.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Walk My World: What Does Your Reflection Say?

Cari, carebear, and cappy are my usual suspects of names.  Family and friends are my ultimate priorities. Passionate and athletic are only a few words that describe me.  I have a strong work ethic but can appreciate relaxing.  One song I would love to live by is dream big by Ryan Shupe. Whenever I think about reflection, I think about the Michael Jackson song Man in the Mirror:

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Through a different "lens"

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Sunday, February 1, 2015

MOOC Storify

Here is my storify to demonstrate my understanding of a MOOC and how it is beneficial in the school systems today.

MOOC's Response

What is a "MOOC", and how does it intersect with the online, or hybrid learning environments that we've been studying?

What is a MOOC? Another word for MOOC is a massive open online course. The benefit of MOOC's are they are available in a variety of topics and capable of being research from virtually anywhere! At your fingertips you can be connected with experts, peers, and others with the goals as you. The article mentioned a couple different MOOC's available to people such as Coursera, edX, FutureSense, or Udacity. I unfortunately do not have a great deal of experience with any of these courses.

Once the MOOC is complete, the student receives a certificate in the form most likely of badges. I like to call the badges "medals of honor". They provide a way to showcase you and build a digital portfolio. In some cases, badges can also be used for a professional development credit. Thinking about that concept, would it be beneficial for a teacher to be required to earn a certain number of badges rather than attend a professional development day? Would it be worth it? Would it be more beneficial or would more teachers take advantage of it?

The article discussed the differences between cMOOCs and xMOOCs. The C” in front of the word MOOC refers to a course based on connectivism where as the "X" is more directly related to University and "often meant delivery of content in a traditional academic manner". "Connectivism is related to how people use digital tools and environments to form networks and connections."

The article discusses many suggestions made by McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier such as:
  • The extent to which it can support deep enquiry and the creation of sophisticated knowledge
  • The breadth versus the depth of participation
  • Whether and under what conditions successful participation can extend beyond those with broadband access and sophisticated social networking skills
  • Identifying the processes and practices that might encourage lurkers, or “legitimate peripheral participants”, to take on more active and central roles
  • The impact or value of even peripheral participation, specifically the extent to which it might contribute to participation in the digital economy in extra-MOOC practices
  • Specific strategies to maximize the effective contribution of facilitators in particular and more advanced participants in general
  • The role for accreditation, if any, and how it might be implemented.

Above, I highlighted the phrase, "breadth versus depth". This can be a very powerful statement. One I believe the #itdml have proved this statement true. Although the content we produce is not of "typical" 6th year length, the depth of the conversations are far more meaningful and deeper than any program I have been a part of thus far. The #itdml classes closely relate to the MOOC's discussed in the article. During the 2014 summer courses we were a part of many different modules. For each module we completed we received a badge. I really enjoyed the idea from +Stephanie Lavado. She did a great job integrating technology into her physical education classroom. She discussed using pedometers and tracking each student’s steps. As a whole their goal was to "walk to Disney". This is just one example of many provided by the students in the class demonstrating the positives stemming from MOOC's. The Meriden Public School's are now trying implementing more MOOC's into our district. In a matter of minutes, one can be connected to experts, professionals and other peers with the same interests.

  • Ferdig, R. E. (2013). What massive open online courses have to offer K–12 teachers and students. Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. About Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute