Friday, October 31, 2014

blog post #11

Brian Crosby's TEDx Talk, is a perfect example of why project based learning is effective for all students. He teaches mainly ELLs, or English Language Learners. He begins with a survey he gave his class. The questions on this survery: What city do you live in? What state do you live in? What country do you live in? What's your address? What's your home phone number? Most of his students didn't know the answer to any of these questions. They project he talks about is the strato-ballon. They blogged about it, participated in hands-on projects. They were actively engaged and they were enjoying learning. All teacher's must know how to keep their students interested in the subject being taught.

Paul Anderson's Blended Learning Cycle, shows us that students need that driving question, they need to be able to investigate, watch a video on the lesson, a deeper understanding, a review of the material, and a summary quiz. His blended learning cycle can be used for all subjects with a bit of tweeking (I found it hard to put his learning cycle into action for English and literature). I believe his method will help stop burp-back education and the students can be engaged with projects.

Mark Church has his students write down a "headline" that represents what they believe is the reason for the search for human origin. By having the students voice their opinion and work together, each student hears different takes on the subject. This group project is also having the students be engaged, listening, learning, and being opened/respectful to other view points. These skills being unknowingly learned will be helpful throughout their lives.

Sam Pane emphasizes when students' lesson is directly related to them they learn more and want to learn more. Use things the students enjoy to get them hooked. For instance, Sam uses the quote "with great power, comes great responsiblity." His students recognized this quote from the movie Spiderman. His class made their own superhero and made a comic to show a way the superhero helps the student be safe on the internet. His students were engaged and having fun.

Dean Shareski's video shows some of the problems that were encountered in the traditional setting for project based learning. The teachers were unable to effectively teach the students in the amount of time given. After they went to the administration and the time was fixed, they were able to have the students produce work the students were proud of. They received feedback from multiple teachers to perfect their work. The students were able to learn more and they were proud of the work they produced.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL program allows the students to learn by projects and they begin public speaking at a young age. The parents of these students have nothing but praises for this PBL program. The teachers stress that PBL helps all students because they learn in different ways. PBL allows the students to form questions about the world. The program brings integration, in depth learning, research, and real-world problems into the classroom.

In summary, all the videos have the same underlying theme: PBL is the best way to go! While using traditional methods (lecture, powerpoint, etc.) will work for some students, PBL will work for all students. It allows students to explore, learn, and have fun. PBL allows students to produce their best work instead of rushed work. The videos above give the roadblocks they've encountered with PBL and the solutions to those problems.

Explorationis in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.-Carl Sagan

Project #14

For our (HeatherJustinAndrea, and I) project 14 we created a lesson plan for students acknowledge the technologies they use everyday and take for granted. The lesson plan is for 11th grade history students. The students will work in groups and come up with their top 5 technologies. After which they will make and present a Google Presentation of the 5 things.

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blog Post #10

In Ms. Cassidy's videos, she emphasizes the children's excitement to be using technology inside the classroom. She states they get excited because they don't have to power down when they come to school. When the students do their assignments, they are excited because it's not just Ms. Cassidy that is reading them it's the world. In her interviews, she emphasizes the use of social media, and gives an example for the student majoring in physical education: "If the gym is cancelled you can blog it...or text them."  I would use a blog and a google site for my classroom. My students would blog about current events or the like. Students respond and stay engaged when technology is used when learning. I would use a google site to post homework, projects, instructions, and more. The problem for me would be if the student is allowed/has access to the internet outside of school. If this were to occur, I would allow the students to complete the assignment in class.

Look out honey 'cause I'm using technology poster

C4K #3 for October

My student only had one sentence:"I think your the best teacher ever and I’m existed for band!(: " Evan was super excited about band.

My comment:
"Hi Evan, I’m Alexfrom University of South Alabama. It’s exciting to see kids excited about school. I hope you enjoy your school year!"

Footnote: I placed my blog link into my name, but I forgot to space after.

Mrs. Morgan's 2nd grade class was assigned to write thank you letters to students who had drawn them pictures. Chloe received a picture of a rabbit and a flower colored by Mikaila and Christopher. She had a few misspellings and some puncuation errors, but her letter could be read for the understanding. It was well written for her age.

My comment:
"Hi Chloe. I'm Alex from the University of South Alabama and I'm in EDM 310. I enjoyed your thank you letter to Mikaila and Christopher. You were very nice, and gave reasons why you liked the paintings so much. Make sure you go back over your work when you finish to proofread. I wish I had nice thank you letters like yours. Good job and enjoy your school year Chloe."

I chose to comment on my kid's previous blog post. Kenny is in the 7th grade and he brought up a subject that my group discussed in our video book conversation. He states he would rather choose what to read instead of being assigned. This is something that I believe in with everything and I will have my students learn through project based learning and have them choose their subject matter themselves when applicable.

My comment:
"Hey Kenny. I'm Alex from the University of South Alabama. I'm in EDM 310 and I plan on teaching middle or high school History. I agree with you on choosing your own books. However, I think that you should get out of your comfort zone sometimes. You never know if you may like another genre. I plan on trying to eliminate assigned things in my class. I want to assign a subject and let my students chose what they want to write about. Your blog is great by the way. Double check your grammar and keep up the great work Kenny! I can't wait to see more of your work. Have a great school year. Oh and my facorite book is "I Have Lived a Thousand Years." It's about a family in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany."

Zachary's Post: "At School I like play jacob"

Hi Zachary, I'm Alex from the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 Class. Be sure not to forget your "filler words" like 'to' and 'with.' It should read: "At school I like to play with Jacob." Good job using the computer.

Our literacy class is learning how to read maps and a saying for NESW N stands for North,E stands for East,S stands for South and W stands for West. The saying for this is Never Eat Soggy Weet-bix.

Hi Toma, I'm Alex Odell from Dr. Strange's EDM310 Class at the University of South Alabama. Learning your directions will be very useful for the rest of your life. Everything will be easier when you travel outside of your town. It can be very helpful when someone else asks you for directions. I learned my directions as "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" or when you look at the compass the West and East say "we." I hope you are enjoying learning your directions. It will be so helpful in life.

Project #12

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog #9

In Seven Essentials of PBL, it is said that the teacher handed out a packet announcing a new project for her students. This teacher's move immediately turns the students against the project. Teachers should engage students by asking driving and open-ended questions. Student's need to apply it to their everyday life; like the project in the above. They live in California near the beach so they did a project on contaminated waters. This directly affects the students.
The seven essentials they give are as follows:
 1. A Need to Know- The students need to feel connected to the project. By getting personal experiences, this engages the students.
2. A Driving Question- The students need to feel challenged and have a purpose to complete a well done project. When the student is given a question to answer it makes for a better and easier project.
3. Student voice and choice- This is the most important essential. If the students chose their topic for the project they may be more apt to participate in the project.
4. 21st Century skills- The students should be practicing skills that will be used in the workplace. They should be working in groups, using technology, and this will help with their social skills.
5. Inquiry and Innovation- The students need to actively search for answers to the question. This can include interviewing people in the project's subject.
6. Feedback and Revision- The students need to know that their first draft is not their best draft. When teachers and peers give helpful feedback, the student's finished project will be and/or should be better.
7. Public Presentation- When the students are given the opportunity to present their project in front of people other than their teacher and classmates, like local politicans and experts in the area, it gives the students that extra incentive to produce their very best work.

In Tony Vincent's PBL for teachers video, shares example questions that can help reach today's students. These questions are open-ended questions that will get the students' brains engaged and become more open minded about diferent subjects. He states that Common core curriculum is the 'What' and project-based learning is the 'How.'  PBL meets these common core standards with the personalization and investigation. Like the 7 essentials, it emphasizes that students learn skills: communication, critical thinking, life and career. The video also states technology is a vital role, students should use tools like Popplet or Prezi.

In "What Motivates Students Today" it shows us different students' motivations and the reward systems that they like. This gives teachers a good idea of what works for kids like pizza parties, homework passes, media passes, bonus points and more. Rewards work and this can also serve as motivation to learn. When a student works hard, they should enjoy the satisfaction of being a recognized and complimented.

On this site, it shows the top ten website tools that support collaborative learning. The ones that I have used personally are Skype for education and Google Docs. These are useful both inside and outside of the classroom for collaboration on projects. While the students are in-class, they can be in their groups without talking. The teacher can also monitor progress from their own computer. Skype for education is very useful when students need to work on things outside of class. This tool is also useful for interviewing people that are too far away. Based on the descriptions of the other tools, the one I'd most likely use would be Linoit. This allows students to contribute information without having to log in. This could also be a place to present homework and where students can ask and answer (sometimes) questions.

With PBL implementations at Sammamish High School, they looked for PBL for every class and tried to find one for each lesson. While this didn't always happen in math classes, the students would get to make games, for some lessons. I can remember playing the dice game Farkle for our probablity lesson. The entire class was engaged and we were all having fun. When students are learning while having fun, the lesson is tends to stick.

In conclusion, what we can take away from these videos is when students are having fun, the project is meaningful, they are challenged, and they feel a sense of purpose they produce their best project. Teachers must ask questions that will help the students form their own opinion about different things. Through project based learning, the students learn about the subject and how to apply it to everyday life.

hexagon of Significant Content and 21st Century skills in PBL

Monday, October 13, 2014

Project #9

This is our video book commentary. My partners in the video include Justin Thompson and Heather Howton. We were given topic #2 for this assignment. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning

With parents getting their children smartphones and tablets earlier in their childhoold, by the time I begin teaching all of my students will have a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop. With this increasing use of technology earlier in students lives, schools will need to upgrade the technology faster. Education will be and is easier with technology. Teachers also have to stay up-to-date with technology. School systems should hold technology workshops so learning these new tools is available for all teachers. We have to update the technology in our schools in order to keep our students and lessons up-to-date.

In my opinion, students will begin to question why they are in a classroom when everything they are being taught can be found on Google. However, if we incorporate the use of technology in with learning, the classroom will not become obsolete. If we allow the tablets and the smartphones in the classroom, there are pros and cons. Pros: students will be more engaged, they can search questions, do research, take faster notes, and be more organized. Cons: students may be on social media sites instead of paying attention, they may be playing games, and computers can crash. If these cons are happening, it will show in their grade and the use can be modified and monitored.

A few ways to use technology in the classrooms:

  • Record lessons
    • Students can use their phones to record the lessons. This will be helpful for those students who do not take good notes. It will also be helpful for students who miss a class because it can be sent via email or text. 
  • Take notes
    • Students can type their notes instead of writing them. 
  • Research
    • Students will have the ability to search reliable sources for information.
  • Take pictures 
    • Students can take pictures of historical places, markers, or tools for assignments.
    • Students can use these pictures in projects.
  • Communication
    • Students will be able to communicate with me and other students easier. 
I will incorporate technology by doing project based learning:
  •  Mobile, Alabama is a historical city, my students can walk around Mobile (with a parent) and take pictures and use them in their papers about the history of Mobile. 
  • I will have students look at current events worldwide and we will have a discussion on them from all views. 
  • Students can compare and contrast the government forms worldwide (Ex. Great Britain's Parliament, France, Russia, United States government). 
  • Research on the different political parties.
  • A biographical presentation on a president, inventor, general, or woman.
  • A group presentation on a battle.
I'm truly excited to put these ideas to work. If we can incorporate our lessons with technology, we can engage our students and they will enjoy learning. If you want more lesson plan idea for all subjects visit Alex. This site gives you lesson plans and they can be tweaked to your liking. Mine will be tweaked so the students can use technology and they will be doing project based learning. 

Lesson plan questions: Who am I teaching? What am I teaching? How will I teach it? How will I know if the students understand?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog post #8

Randy Pausch's main point is to follow dreams. While following these dreams you will always hit a brick wall, but what sets you apart from others is what you do at this wall. If you go through the wall or over it, this shows you are determined to achieve your goal. While you may surpass this wall, others will turn back showing they are not as determined. He addresses both learners and teachers because they are one in the same.

As a future educator, I have learned from Pausch's lecture that I must actively engage my students. To achieve this I will have to provide a fun but challenging environment. We as teachers must experiement with teaching and find what works best for you and your classes. As Randy states about the learning head fake, "Have the students learn one thing while they are learning something else." In my opinion, this is a wonderful concept. He also tells teachers not to set standards for students. If all of the students do well, tell them, "This is great work but I believe you can do better." If we set a bar for our students, they will not grow and we will never know their potential. We have to let people be themselves and showcase their personality through their work. If we encourage these students once they hit that "brick wall," we become a cheerleader for that student, and in return this promotes the students enthusiasm for learning.

As a person we are constantly learning and evolving. We can not limit ourselves; if we do that we will be unhappy with our lives. If we can learn to challenge ourselves by setting high goals and being determined to achieve those goals and make newer goals; we will begin a generation that has no limits. This will open up doors for education, because if we do project based learning this will increase students interest in their own education.

Some rules to live by in his lecture:

  • Be loyal.
  • Have fun.
  • Never give up. 
  • Learn from your students.
  • Use "head fakes" often.
  • Never lose your child like wonder.
  • Help others.
  • Be happy.
  • Ask for help
    • Tell the Truth
    • Be earnest
    • Apologize when you screw up
    • Focus on others and not yourself
  • Don't bail!
  • Use a feedback loop!
  • Have graditude.
  • Don't Complain just work harder.
  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
  • Find the best in everybody; it takes time.
  • Be prepared.
He goes on to say that the lecture is not about achieving your dreams, its about leading your life the right way. "If you lead your life the right way, karma will take care of itself. Your dreams will come to you." He ends his lecture with the second head fake,"The talk is not for you, it's for my kids." 

Background on Randy: Born in Baltimore, Maryland, received his bachelor's and a PhD in Computer Science, worked for Disney, works in virtual reality, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and is famous for his "Last Lecture"
Randy Pausch wrote a book on living while dying. Motivation. Pass it on.

Friday, October 10, 2014


In Pullen's blog he recommended a book. He recommends this book because it has methods in it that can be used whether you are teaching common core or not. He goes on to say the book uses methods such as mneumonics and the practice of answering the question before being taught the lesson. I am a firm believer in these methods because they are the way I learned and retined the information.

My comment:
"Hi I’m Alex from the University of South Alabama and I am in EDM 310. Thank you for sharing this book. As a future teacher, I appreciate people who believe in mneumonics and answering questions before being taught. I have every intention of actually teaching to help my students learn, while maintaining the standards for the school system."

In Pullen's post from November of last year, he reviews a Michigan law being proposed to the legislature. This law states that if students in the third grade fail a standardized reading test they are to be retained in the third grade. He goes on to say that it sounds like the proposal has a good goal to have all students reading by the third grade. However, the bill does not include those students with disabilities that affect students reading capabilities such as dyslexia. He encourages the Michigan people to vote against this bill.

My Comment: 
I’m Alex Odell from the University of South Alabama in EDM 310 majoring in Secondary Ed Social Sciences. Having been through standardized testing my entire school life, I can say I don’t agree with this law. Standardized testing is hurting our students and it promotes burp back education and not actual learning. If we started focusing on the students passions and teach them through this, there would be a new and improved generation. I will be using project based learning in my classroom, more than likely my students will learn and meet the Common Core standards. The legislature had no thoughts of children with exceptionalities. This test would put a lot of pressure on the 3rd grade teachers, not to mention if students are retained the class sizes would probably triple in number."

*In the comment box it has a place to put in my blog site on there which is why I didn't include it in the comment.
Culture of Reading

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Project #13

Our lesson plan for project 13, which is a lesson plan on Propaganda in a 10th grade English class. This was created by myself, Heather Howton, Justin Thompson, and Andrea Fust. Enjoy our presentation.
Rosie the Riveter

Sunday, October 5, 2014

blog post #7

My strengths in technology:

  • being taught at a young age how to use a computer
  • having PBL from a young age caused me to experiment with new tools in technology
  • having used new study methods in college (recordings to study)
My weaknesses:
  • being self-taught and not knowing all the tricks to some tools
  • not knowing which tools are the best for the project at hand
In Michele Bennett's  QR Code this will be useful for communication with parents, but only those with smartphones. However, this recording in the code is very useful for the students. If the student uses this tool to record themselves reading books or study guides, they will be able to listen to themselves saying the right answer. When using this method and recording on an ipad, I've found my grades improved.

When using tools such as PopletAlabama Virtual Library, and Discovery Eduacation board builder it helps reinforce project based learning. The children are able to research information themselves. These tools combined with the teachers lesson will help the student be there own person by allowing them to choose the subject to be researched, allows the student to be engaged in their education, and preventing the burp back education.

Kid with a laptop