Sunday, October 21, 2012

GAME Plan Reflection

Creating a GAME plan helped me facilitate meaningful experiences for my students (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  Student centered activities keep them engaged and allow for individuals to share their learning in a variety of formats.  To me the GAME plan compares with many other lesson plan templates I have used in the past, the main difference of course being the emphasis on technology integration.  That being said, my students responded better to this type of lesson because it captured their interests.  Lessons that incorporate technology use up so much class time which quite frankly is not available when working under the pacing constraints my district requires.  In order to allow my students the use of technology as a means for learning, I need to consider how I can address more standards in each lesson.  I also need to consider pairing students up to complete projects that incorporate technology.  With the lack of resources and time, pairing up my students would be more beneficial.  Partner work would also allow better use of my time to be available for all of my students rather than assisting mainly those really struggling.    
This course has brought out so many wonderful ideas for students to be excited about learning.  What stood out to me the most was the important role an audience plays.  When students are not just writing or presenting information to me they become much more involved and passionate about their learning.  Therefore, my students are now using their Gaggle accounts to present their point of view about a weekly topic I present to the whole class.  My students are required to share their own feelings on the topic and then comment on two of their classmates.  Throughout this whole program I have seen the power in collaborating with others about my learning and the impact it had on me as a learner.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My GAME Plan Progress!

My GAME plan is running about as expected.  I clearly need extra time in my day to sit down and gather the materials necessary to get the ball rolling.  What I have achieved thus far is I have made contact with the company I would like to purchase the Share software from.  A customer service representative followed up with me today, but I have yet to pick through the information thoroughly.  After reading through this week’s chapter on assessment, questions just started rippling through my mind when I got to the area that focused on the uses of portfolios.  The text mentioned to be careful when choosing software.  Immediately, I became worried about the software I am getting closer to buying.  Apparently I need to think about the fact that I want my students to be able to access their portfolios in the future or even at home this year, but if program can only be used on the computer that has the software downloaded to it then my students would be out of luck.  So, I will definitely ask this important question when I speak with the company rep again, but meanwhile I think I am considering modifying my portfolio idea a bit.  Portfolios can be created using word-processing documents.  I like the idea of a simple, neat packaged program, but it may not be effective for what I am trying to do.  As far as purchasing a scanner, I realized I do not need one.  I can always take digital photos and upload items that way or I can capture the image using my document camera, which is connected to my computer.  Overall, I am still in the early planning stages, but I know this is what I want to do with my students.  Today a really low functioning student that is always getting in trouble completed an assignment.  It grabbed my attention so I called him up to let him know how proud I was that he focused enough to complete an assignment.  Five minutes passed and he walked back up with a huge smile to ask me if I would please share that assignment with his parents at conference.  I realized right then how valuable these portfolios are going to be for my students, myself, and their families.

Question:  Does anyone know how to access the WEB LINK found in our text.  For example, on page 19 it says we can download a Portfolio Template on the textbook’s companion website, but the only sites I can find in the front of the text and they didn’t seem to work. 

Thank you, Kelly

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

In order to carry out my GAME plan I have found myself surfing the web quite often for what I felt would best fit my needs for my students.  There are two projects I plan to commit to.  The first project is using digital story-telling with my students.  In order to get this project set up properly I need to meet with my colleague to have her take me through the process she has used many times with her own students.  At this point in the school year, we have yet to meet.  We need to discuss what technology is necessary as well as how to use it.  One of my main concerns is the amount of time I saw her spending on her own projects in past years.  At this time, I do not feel that I have as much time available to devote (Everyone has different teaching strategies) as she did.  My colleague has a cart of laptops available which I will need to schedule use of around her schedule.  This lesson will teach my students to incorporate digital tools and promote creativity while learning relevant information. 

The other project I am currently looking at is student portfolios.  A few years ago I kept portfolios on each one of my students.  Now that numbers have increased, 29 binders sitting around the room is just too many.  When reading about portfolios in the course text, I fell in love with the idea of digital portfolios.  There are many ideas about how to create portfolios for free, but the one that felt right for me is called Share and I found an example on the following website:

I am in the process of ordering it and cannot wait to start using it with my students.  These portfolios will work as a wonderful communication piece with parents as I planned.  But, the most positive aspect of the portfolios is that I believe my students will love creating them.  Any time I can excite my students about what they are learning, I have achieved my goal for the day.  The website has provided me with a wonderful example that I plan to copy, but the rest will have to be trial and error.  I would like to have a scanner at my disposal.  One colleague of mine has a scanner, but I plan to ask my principal to supply me one for my own room. 

These opportunities both allow for as much creativity as a student chooses.  It allows for written, oral, and visual representation of their knowledge.  I am so excited to get started.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Developing my GAME plan

Developing my personal GAME plan

So sorry folks.  Something odd happened with my old blog account.  I was having difficulty posting and when trying to resolve the issue, I no longer see my original blog.  I am updating as fast as possible. 

When looking through the Technology Standards I realized I would like to be more proficient in many areas, but I decided to focus this year on:

1.      Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats

2.      Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity

In order to share information with families about my students, I will learn how to create digital portfolios.  I am very intrigued at the simplicity this can create and the organizational factor is huge.  I used to keep portfolios on my students, but when I began having such large class sizes, it went to the wayside.  As far as pursuing my goal with integrating more digital creativity, I will contact a colleague of mine that uses digital story-telling for a unit we put together.  I see her dedicating a large amount of time for students to create their story, so I need to definitely plan accordingly. 

It will be evident whether or not I am able to pursue my goals or not.  My hopes are to have students using a lap top to share they work with families by spring conference.  As well, the unit I want my students to use digital story-telling with begins in the spring.  I will keep track of my progress initially by creating these two items on my own. 

In order to properly evaluate the two goals I have set for myself, I would first like to have a family evaluation about how they felt the conference went using the digital format.  As for the digitial story-telling project, I would seek out critical feedback from my colleague that has used this previously and attending many trainings on implementation.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Using Technology Final Reflection

Throughout the last seven weeks my theory about learning has not changed much.  I continue to follow a constructivist/constructionist approach in my room.  What has changed is the way my students communicate their ideas with one another.  This course deepened my understanding for the use of educational technologies, so now my students collaborate utilizing technology as a means of doing so. 

This course brought to my attention the importance for students to not only lead conversations, but to be in charge of the tools used for sharing the information.  So often I find myself using questions and cues in order to engage my students in conversation, but maybe the probing would be less if they were the ones interacting with the technology.  Applied effectively, technology implementation not only increases student learning, understanding, and achievement but also augments motivation to learn, encourages collaborative learning, and supports the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills (Schacter & Fagnono, 1999).  Some things I have already implemented in my classroom are the use of the student computer work stations.  I have four work stations in my room and my students are never on them.  I now have thirty minute rotations every day and students choosing to stay in at recess to use the computers.  This is wonderful for two reasons; first, they are often reinforcing their math skills and secondly they are learning their way around a computer.  So many of my students lack knowledge when is comes to even turning on a computer.  My students also lead the lesson during our phonics lesson.  At least six students a day are able to be in charge of the Mimeo Pad, leading our lesson. 

Another tool I began teaching my students to use is  By uploading my students writing via the document camera, my students are able to use this site to provide peer feedback.  This concept is very new to me, so I am learning right along with my students.  My students are fully engaged and putting more effort into the comments.  Generally, my students use vague statements, but the first time using many of them were very specific about what they noticed. 

During this course nine specific instructional strategies were focused on.  The strategies were no surprise nor should they be.  Although, the way in which I used or presented the strategies have altered throughout the course.  For example, cooperative grouping is very present in my classroom, but prior to this course I did not have groups collaborating via technology.  Summarizing and note taking is another huge skill fourth graders are responsible for learning to do well.  Doing a jigsaw and having students input information using concept maps was very effective. 

Although, I believe technology can enhance a student’s learning, I have to be realistic with what and how often I can incorporate it into my lessons.  As it is, I feel I would have my students using more technology if it was more assessable and there was more time.  Realizing that is a hindrance, I still have a couple of goals in mind.  First of all I would like to plan a few of my lessons to incorporate enough time to change them from a regular paper pencil format to an electronic format.  One idea I have is for my students to build a Wiki page for an ABC book I have my students do every year as a culminating project for Washington State History.  Usually my students are put in groups of two or three and they are responsible for building an interesting fact page connecting to a particular letter of the alphabet.  Technology supports the cognitive system by helping students to comprehend, apply and recall concepts (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).  My hopes is by creating Wiki pages, we can build an ABC book on-line allowing other classrooms, friends, and families the opportunity to take a look.  Also, for students that have access to computers at home to work collaboratively outside of school. 

A second goal in which I have already been working on is getting my students familiar with their Gaggle accounts my district has set up for them.  Gaggle is another social networking site, but it is very safe with all the controls our district has instated.  Social networking opens up opportunities for my students to communicate with anyone anywhere.  As they get older, they will learn to access information using these types of sites.  For now, I would like my students to learn safe use of social sites and basic knowledge of use.  Next week I plan to get them all in the lab and give a quick introduction to the site.  By the second week I plan to post a question they must respond to.  My desire is they will keep using their accounts and become familiar enough they branch out and try other applications the account has to offer.  My students will have access to these same accounts all the way through their senior year if they stay in the same district.  Many of their future teachers require their students to use some of the others apps I am wanting my students to just play around with at this point.   

Overall, this course has stretched my technology ability more than I ever imagined it would.  There are so many resources available that I was never aware of eight weeks ago.  Honestly, I am curious if any other course can peak my interest as much as this one did.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). What Will Students Learn?.               Using technology with classroom instruction that works (p. 3). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ;. 

Schacter, J., & Fagnano, C. (1999). Does computer technology improve student learning and achievement? How, when, and under what conditions? Journal of   Education Computing Research, 20(4), 329-343.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social Learning in Practice

As Wong and Wong state, Cooperative learning is not so much learning to cooperate as it is cooperating to learn (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 140).  This statement resonates with me so much due to an experience I had with my students today.  I implemented a new strategy to help my students become stronger readers.  During this strategy we high-light all the dialog and divide up groups that read their part as it arises.  All but one of my groups was willing to work together.  One group would not read in unison no matter what.  There was too much competition to be heard rather than focusing on developing their skills like the other groups were.   The groups that cooperated with each other were reading with expression better than ever before. 

Cooperating with others is definitely a skill that needs to be taught.  Many of us have experience taking personality tests, which turns out what type of learner or team player you are.  Well our students are in the same boat.  We need to get to know our students in order to strategically place them in cooperative groups.  We also need to prepare them to appropriately interact with one another.  One way I would to this is have my students develop a classroom web that defines what collaborating means to them.  I would then give them sentence starters and have them practice how to agree and disagree in a proper manner. 

Cooperative grouping allows social learning to take place.  We know as educators that once we teach something our understanding of the concept is that much stronger.  Well this is also true for our students.  Cooperative groups are common in my classroom, but this week I have been introduced to so many new ways to incorporate technology.  Social sites like Facebook are not an option for younger children, but we are able to use sites like Gaggle that allow us to regulate who our students interact with.  Due to the lack of computer access, I find it hard to utilize social sites as often as I would like to.  Although, the is amazing!  My students absolutely loved participating in this week’s project.  Voice Thread was so user friendly, quick, and effective for my students to use.  Once my students saw how this site worked they started sharing ideas left and right about other ways we can use it.  We are going to start by choosing a student’s writing, uploading it, and allowing students to make comments about what they like or would like to see improved. 

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, Co.: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Generating & Testing Hypotheses: Constructionism in Practice

In order for students to have successful careers, classrooms need to promote collaboration and technology.  One way for educators to do this is by giving students quality essential questions that they can create hypotheses and test.  When students generate and test hypotheses, they enhance their overall understanding of the content (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 203). 

In my own classroom, we typically hypothesize during our science units, but now I will incorporate technology.  Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works is a wonderful resource that is packed full of resources that make using technology with your students a synch.  Before the years ends I would like to have my students create their own essential question and collect data to help them answer it.  I teach a unit on data and probability which allows me time to utilize some of these new online sources I know about without steering too far off of the time allotted to complete certain units.  Microsoft Excel is a little challenging, so I plan to have my students use to collect their data.  This site will graph results for my students, which will allow them more time to analyze their results. 

According to (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 203), there are six tasks that teachers can use to help students generate and test hypotheses; systems analysis, problem solving, historical investigation, invention, experimental inquiry, and decision making.  My students generally use experimental inquiry, but I would like to offer the opportunity for them to engage in more problem solving projects to encourage more dialog that connect to real world problems.  Overall, I am very excited to use these new data collecting tools because they are more efficient allowing more time for students to collaborate and create less opportunity for error. 

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Denver, Co.: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cognitivism in Practice

This week’s resources have left me feeling disappointed in myself.  At the start of the last school year I was involved and continue to be part of a technology grant my district received.  At first, I was eager as could be.  I created digital kits using inspiration.  I had students using the document camera to share their work.  I created concept maps as a partially filled note taking guide for my students.  Basically most of the strategies we discussed this week were ones I tried, but have since thrown to the wayside.  It is not rocket science to understand that students learn best when given these types of opportunities for learning, so why am I not teaching this way?  I believe the lack of time to get through content has forced me to fall into bad teaching habits.  For example, in fourth grade our students must master area and perimeter of a rhombus.  Every year our students struggle to remember which the area is and which the perimeter is.  My colleagues and I have spent a large amount of seat time teaching this concept, but to no avail, the percentage of fourth graders that passed this area on a district assessment was very low.  Yesterday I decided to have them trace their feet and estimate the area and perimeter.  Of course, one lesson my students enjoyed, and there was very little problem with recalling how to solve for area and perimeter or which one was which. 

Dr. Orey mentioned Paivio’s dual coding hypothesis which is information being stored as text and images to improve memory (Laureate education, Inc., 2011).  I could not agree more with this theory.  My building has been working diligently for the last five years now to incorporate what we call visual vocabulary in every content area.  The first few years we printed all the vocabulary, but lately many of us have used some type of software to present the vocabulary electronically.  If I was queen of the world, I would have a classroom set of computers so my students could be responsible for creating the vocabulary presentations.  As it stands now, I will attempt to have students work in small groups utilizing the few computers I have in my room in order to create a slide for a few vocabulary words from our reading unit.  I plan to compare how the results on the final exam are affected by students creating their own.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Behaviorism in Practice

My mother once said, “You don’t wake up and head off to a busy day at work without an incentive…called a paycheck”.  What an incredibly true statement.  It is human nature to perform better when there are positive reinforcements involved.  If only we taught our students the way in which we learn or perform best ourselves. 
As stated in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, many of us attribute our success or failure to external factors.  With conferences right around the corner, I am preparing myself once again to hear the majority of my parents play the blame game on all the external factors they can come up with attempting to explain why their child is struggling.  When reading the variety of suggestions for reinforcing effort, I continuously pondered the thought of incorporating my parents into the process.  A day does not go by that a parent writes a note explaining why they were unable to get homework completed.  Understandably a couple of my parents struggle themselves academically, but others are providing the wrong message to their children.  Many of my students lack perseverance due to the fact they feel as though they will never understand.  I relate this to effort, which quickly creates a sense of frustration both among me and my students.  I definitely would like to use an effort rubric with my students and their families.  I have created rubrics before using a site I consider very user friendly; 
What I know from experience with my students as well as my own family is positive everything goes a lot further than negative anything.  Again relating this topic to myself, I prefer to always be spoken to in a positive way, even if I am being constructively criticized.  Behaviorism exists in everyday activities and definitely in the classroom.  I am able to use technology to reinforce the skills I am teaching.  Currently my students have created a waiting list a mile long to receive computer time to practice their multiplication facts.  Just as any electronic game, kids get instant gratification from them.  My students have been consistently using the computers for about three weeks now.  By the end of March I will assess whether my students have instant recall of their facts.  Throughout the year we have charted their progress on learning their multiplication facts.  So far my students have simply not put in the extra effort to learn them and I reverted to punishment.  Believe it or not; it’s not working!  Since winter break I have held my class in every morning recess, yet only six students are able to pass the weekly quiz.  Ashamed to say, yet again another teacher has fallen into bad habits even when we know better.   
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., &Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom
instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Final Reflection

Final Reflection

This course has pushed me in ways I never thought possible.  When I heard the word Web 2.0 technologies, it was so alien to me.  Amazingly enough each week that passed I became more and more impressed with my ability to understand what this younger generation is always talking about.  Seven weeks ago I was completely unaware of what Blogs and Wikis meant.  I now understand what they are and how they can be utilized in my classroom. 

In order to meet the needs of students in the 21st century, educators need to create opportunities for students to gain skills in a variety of medias.  This course reiterated the importance of flexible teaching.  My classroom needs to be student centered and I need to act as the facilitator.  Collaboration is one key element for students to have successful futures.  My lessons need to promote discussions among my students and allow them to present their understanding of new materials using a variety of methods. 

My knowledge of learning and teaching technology will continue to grow as I complete my Master’s program.  Signing up for technology newsletters and blogs have provided me with many ideas for incorporating media into the classroom.  I have also joining a colleague of mine in a program that allows us to purchase new technology in which we provide rational for what we are using it for in our classrooms.  Part of the monies from this grant is specifically used for professional development. 

Within the next two years I hope to see a change not only in my classroom, but in my whole school.  Already this year I have suggested a full time lab teacher.  Our students need basic keyboarding skills, so they are able to learn how to research and use social networks in their homeroom classrooms in a more time efficient manner.  As far as my hopes for my own classroom is I want a classroom blog that my students use on a weekly basis to respond to current objectives being taught.  I also would like my students to present at least one research project using technology.

This course has definitely changed the way I feel about technology.  I see technology as a means of connecting my students to the whole world.  Being able to bring the world to my students while sitting in our classroom is amazing. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Digital Natives

I wanted to find out what types of media my students have access to and how much time they spend using it on a daily basis.  I chose 4 students to interview.  I teach 4th grade. I have 28 students primarily of Mexican ethnicity.  My school is also a located in a high poverty area.  Out of all 28 of my students, only 3 have internet access at home, but many have some type of game system.  By interviewing my students I hope to gain understanding at how to better prepare my lessons.

Monday, January 23, 2012

After reviewing Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I found myself not very interested.  It may be the formatting, but it did not capture my attention.  What I did find intriguing is a site that incorporated views from business, education, and government leaders.  To best prepare our students for their career it is in our best interest as educators to have an open communication with our community members.  I appreciate the attempt to advocate for our students to receive the proper education they deserve in order to successful in their futures.  Although, P21 Statement on the Presidents State of the Union Address mentions how President Obama understands the importance for 21st century readiness, but it does not feel like that is trickling down to the actual school districts.  Currently I work very hard at creating lessons that incorporate the 3r's and the 4c's.  I was not calling them 4c's until now, but more or less that is what I have always been a believer in.  Communication is the key to open any door is what I always remind my students.  When building lessons that connect to meaningful real world experiences that incorporate critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity and innovation.  Yet, part of the struggle educators face is we have districts adopt curriculum that we are told to strictly follow.  When time is very short each day it does not allow for much creativity to take place when following a scripted curriculum.  We need more freedom to teach standards in a more project based learning environment that would help our students become 21st century ready.  Overall, what this site has shared with me is the fact that the world is aware and seeking a career ready student.  Educators are now forced to be more innovative. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Well fabulous.  Trying to work out the bugs on my new adventure of creating a blog and I deleted all the blogs and comments made to my blog.  So frustrated!  I wish I had quite while I was ahead.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Useful ways to use blogs in your classroom

At the beginning of next year, I plan to have a blog up and running.  I plan to use the blog as a way for students to reflect on their learning once a week.  In order for all students to be able to access the opportunity of posting their response I will have to make sure I allow lab time and/or opportunities to use the four classroom computers I have. 
By students reflecting on their own learning in response to the weekly objectives I post, I will be able to gain information about what key points students their understood or therefore did not understand.  This will help me differentiate my instruction and adjust my lessons according to my students' needs. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Keeping current in the classroom

I hear so much about the classroom response systems.  I would like to know if there is a system that you find to be very user friendly.  My colleague recently purchased a set for her classroom only to find a set she prefered better a few months later.  Of course things like this always happen, but hopefully with help from others I can avoid purchasing a less effective system.