Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project #14 PBL Plan #2

Degas Group Project #14

Cartoon animated Congressional Bill
This lesson plan lasts for a week and is geared for high school students.  The driving questions for this project are How does Congress Work? What cause Filibusters? What do Congressional Bodies say about a Representative Republic? We will split the classroom into two groups, "House" and "Senate".  Legislative issues will then be given for the groups to debate and discuss.  Each group will elect a representative (Speaker of the House-House, Vice President-Senate) to present their position the group has reached. If the stances are mutual, the bill is passed, if not they start over.  Students will use iPads and laptops for research, and they may make a presentation that the leader will present.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post #9

Education in a "Meaningful and Motivational Context"

Written By: Degas
Erin Crane, Wesley Etheridge, and Lance Wilkinson

In his TED talks presentation, Brian Crosby expressed the idea that an education in a "meaningful and motivational context" was the right of every student in the educational system; to which he got a round of applause from the audience. As educators, this should be our goal; however, how do we achieve a "meaningful" and "motivational" context. What questions do we ask students? What projects do we engage students in? How do inspire students to carry what they've learned throughout their lives? 

AP Biology teacher Paul Anderson poses the power of the question. He implores the "Blended Learning Cycle" in his classroom. The Blended Learning Cycle is a combination of Blended Learning (incorporating elements of online, mobile, and classroom learning) and the Learning Cycle. The Learning Cycle is a process composed of the steps of engaging, exploring, explain, expanding, and evaluating. By applying the Blended Learning Cycle students are engaged in a meaningful and motivational context. Mr. Anderson uses the Blended Learning Cycle in his own classroom using a process he named "Quivers". The steps for "Quivers" include: "Ask a question", "Investigation, Inquiry", "Video", "Elaboration", "Review", "Summary". These steps engage students, applying a meaningful and motivational context to the classroom. 

Check out Mr. Anderson's Video on Blended Learning:

In a TED Talks Presentation, Brian Crosby gave a presentation entitled "Back to the Future" in which Mr. Crosby details his experiences working with at risk children. Mr. Crosby poses that striking a passion in students will remove the "disconnect" from education. Project Based Learning, Blogging, and Skype are all used by the students to further immerse them in learning. By doing so, the students are not only engaged in learning, but learn to collaborate and detail their findings in a meaningful context. By applying a meaningful context, students are further immersed in learning and thus, become much more passionate.

Mr. Crosby's Blog:
Making Thinking VisibleMark Church, author of "Making Thinking Visible", shows that critical thinking can be applied, thus making it seem relevant in a meaningful context. Mr. Church had students make a "Headline" for "what the puzzle and challenge for search for human origins is all about". This may seem like a simple assignment, but as one student remarked: "That's a big topic to put in such a small amount of words." Students worked in groups, so all the students in the group had to agree on the Headline. This teaches students collaboration and critical thinking, inspiring discussions between students that are much more effective than lecture alone. 

Above all, these teachers show us that providing education in as Brian Crosby says, a "meaningful and motivational context" is most important. This context can be achieved through interactive learning, engaging projects, critical thinking, and discussions. This leaves us to conclude, in modern society, questioning might just be more important than answering. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

C4T #2

Google Map of North America

First Comment: The teacher I was assigned to for my second C4T is Eric Langhorst. Eric teaches 8th grade Social Studies. The first blog post of his that I commented on was Missing Google Maps Classic. Eric explained his love for Google, but he goes on to discuss a recent change Google Maps has made that he doesn't like. The new Google Maps doesn't give you the ability to add as much content as they previously did and the user interface is now more difficult to use. The reason Eric is upset is because Google Maps is a tremendous tool he uses in his classroom. His 8th grade students are creating their own progressive Google Map as they move through the year. Each unit the students will add locations to their maps that are significant to their current unit.

In my comment I introduced myself and provided links to the class blog and my personal blog. I told Eric that at the time I was not familiar with the new Google Maps, but I was with the old version. I went on to explain to him that I had never imagined using Google Maps in the classroom, but thanks to his blog post I will definitely utilize it as a tool in my classroom. Although Eric was disappointed in the new Google Maps, it is still a valuable tool that can aid the learning process in a major way. Twitter logo

Second Comment: The second blog post by Eric that I commented on was titled As Seen This Week on Twitter....Sharing Twitter With Staff. Eric explained that he has recently started sharing some of his favorited tweets with his fellow teachers at school via email. The fellow teachers have been enjoying the links and Eric has found that teachers are more likely to "tip their toe in the Twitter stream if they see value in creating a PLN".

In my comment I responded by thanking Eric for the great links that he shared. The first link that caught my attention was, When Did Americans Lose Their British Accents? I learned about rhotacism. Another link that I'm extremely thankful he shared is The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom. The article made clear a terrifying truth, most students are so afraid of making mistakes that they're afraid to even try.

Blog Post #8

Degas Collaborative Post

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools

Wesley's Part:

Civilization Revolution Video Game

I've learned about so many new tools in this class that I thought it would be impossible for me to find something new to add to my class, but I was wrong. I will be teaching Social Studies on the high school level so it's very important that the tools I utilize are age appropriate and engaging. After a lot of thinking and research, I've come across numerous technological tools that would be great for a history class. However, there are three that I want to discuss today that really stood out to me:
1) Sid Meier's civilization video game series
2) Google Maps
3) History Matters website

The first tool is probably my favorite tool. In some of my previous blog posts I've discussed how I believe some video games are a tool that history teachers can use to their advantage. Sid Meier's Civilization video games specialize in historical content. These games are available on the iPad, Computers, and gaming consoles. In my classroom I plan to use the iPad version of this game. The game is a turn-based strategy game series in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Students will have the opportunity to become ruler of the world by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age. They will be able to wage war against other civilizations on the game, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies for their civilization, go head-to-head with some of history's greatest leaders, and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known. The game's instructions are very clear, and allow anyone over the age of 10 great gameplay. This game would be great to utilize when teaching World History because it allows you the opportunity to play as any of the early world empires. It would give students a better understanding of these early civilizations and would even allow them to see how technological advancements have taken place over time. The game could be a great tool if used properly.

The second tool is one that I never thought about using in my class until I was assigned to Eric Langhorst's blog for C4T's. Eric is a social studies teacher and he has used Google Maps to aid in teaching his 8th graders about geography. Google Maps allows you to learn about the geography of every where in the world. It's truly amazing. I can remember the first time I ever found out about google maps. I would get lost looking at various places all over the world zooming in as close as I could to see what it was like there. Eric Langhorst allowed his 8th grade class to create their own progressive Google Map in his class and I would love to do something like this myself. Each unit the students add locations to their map that are significant to the content they are currently studying.

The third and final tool I want to share is a website that provides numerous resources for history teachers. History Matters provides teachers with various links, but the thing I like about this website the most is it connects history teachers with other history teachers. This is a great way for me to shape my teaching strategies with other history teachers. Also, this tool provides over 1000 links to historical documents, images, and audio interviews.

Lance's Part:

By "pre-loading" the material to be taught before the lecture, students could gain a general knowledge of the material and ask questions, leaving the class time to be devoted to applying the material, rather than being delivered the material. This application is extremely valuable to all subjects, but as a future History teacher I see enormous potential in the process of receiving and learning material before class to inspire questions, speculation, and debate.
3 Sources I have found to apply this method are:
1) ITunes U
2) Online Websites: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebook, and BBC History.
3) Databases (Such as the Alabama Virtual Library - AVL)

ITunes U provides an immense resource for students of any academic discipline. ITunes U allows students to subscribe to Podcasts of areas of study as well as provides Primary and Secondary Sources for humanities subjects. Since most students own an iDevice of some sort, most students could take their classroom material with them to access at any time. ITunes U is full of material that can be incorporated into any curriculum.
Man listening to iTunes

The internet provides an immense amount of content, but students need to know how to filter content to get the best sources possible. The teacher as a guide should show students where to access proper source material online first, to give students a good example of what fits good source criteria. From there, students can find their own websites and resources for source material. Being able to filter content is a 21st century skill directly related to the study of History. The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is a website that provides an immense amount of content directly related to the field of History. Students can browse everything from broad categories such as surveys of U.S. History and World History, to specific topics such as Women in History, and Events/Time Periods such as The French Revolution. Take a look:
Fordham University in New York also provides an "Internet Sourcebook" for History Students. Primary Sources from all of History are provided online for research and study. These primary sources will be assigned in class in context of the curriculum and Common Core Standards. In addition, the Primary Sources Fordham University's website provides can be used for Research Papers and Presentations. Fordham University Link:
BBC History Online also provides has a less-detailed source catalogue, as well as Historical games and quizzes for areas of interest. BBC History:

Students can also access source material online at The Alabama Virtual Library, or AVL. The AVL provides a secure, academic database for students to use for research. The internet is an excellent tool for preserving the past, but looking toward the future. Using technology students learn not only to gather information, but to filter information as well. By applying 21st century skills to the classroom, students can engage in research like never before. Having sources directly available via the internet connects students to a world of knowledge no one before our time could imagine.

Erin's Part:

In this class we tend to talk about things that relate more to Elementary Education. Don't get me wrong, I still find new things to incorporate in my classroom. For this blog assignment I wanted to get outside of the things we have learned and find something that would interest my high school students, particular in my history classes. Usually any tool you find for history of that age involved a lot of reading simply because of the content. I visited some of my favorite historical landmarks' websites to see if they had anything interesting. Here's what I found.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is one of my favorite historical places i've visited. The grounds are gorgeous and there is so much history there with the birth of our nation. I would love to be able to take my students there, but it's just not always financial feasible. I started looking at their website and noticed this page.

They have a Teacher Resources section of their website that included Lesson Plans you can use as well as videos you can incorporate into your teaching. They also have a photo/video gallery of things around the estate that I could show the class as I am teaching. They also have a Student Resources section.

I can send my students here for research when they are completing their "This Person In History" project (see lesson plans). This section holds more videos, an interactive "Meet people from the past", and a digital encyclopedia.

fter finding these new tools I could use successfully I decided to go look at some of my other favorite historical places' websites. Ford's Theatre has a Virtual Tour that I could pull up to use as a point-of-view when talking about President Lincoln's assassination. The U.S Capitol also has Teacher and Student Resources that I could turn to when discussing the more political aspects of history.

I feel like students would have more fun navigating the sites themselves, and it even may spark an interest for them to go search out more historical websites. The virtual tours would help them visualize things more clearly, as well as the videos. Overall, I think using this tool and technology might help high school students become more interesting in the history of their country.

Project #9

Degas Podcast

Sunday, October 6, 2013

C4K summary for September

C4K Summary

1st C4K

In my first C4K I was assigned to a female student who went by the username of Buck. The title of Buck's blog post was "This I Believe". Buck's blog post was about tattoos. She believes that tattoos are a great way you can express yourself through art. She also went into detail about a few of her tattoos and how important they are to her. Her first tattoo was in memory of her dad who passed away in 2010. Her dad was someone who she was extremely close to and she wanted to have something that reminded her of all the great memories she shared with him. Her second tattoo was one of the nickname her brother had given her. Her second tattoo was significant to her because her brother has been incarcerated for the past four years and she wanted him to know that she's always thinking of him.

In my comment I introduced myself and included a link to my blog, and the EDM 310 class blog. I explained to Buck that I also have tattoos, and that I think tattoos are a great way to express yourself. I wanted to stress the fact that tattoos are permanent, so I made sure to explain that I believe it's important to think long and hard before you get something permanent like a tattoo. However, so far Buck seems to have two tattoos that will always be significant to her. Buck had a few grammatical errors, but overall she did a great job of sharing her passion for tattoos.

2nd C4K

In my second C4K I was assigned to blogger by the name of Ebony. Ebony's post was very short and was actually in response to a fellow classmate by the name of Maggie. Maggie had made a post about cyber bullying and Ebony stressed that she was saddened that one of her friends had been cyber bullied on FaceBook. Ebony explained that she believes many people think they're "cool" when they bully others, but she stated that in reality they're not cool at all.

In my response to Ebony's blog post I introduced myself and provided a link to my blog, as well as a link to the class blog. I wanted to make sure Ebony knew that she was noble and correct in her stance against bullying. I stressed the importance of being friends with anyone who is a victim of bullying. Also, I told her that if she ever witnesses someone being bullied in school that she reports it to her teacher. If she witnessed bullying outside of school I encouraged her to tell a parent.

Ebony did a great job with her blog post and I concluded my comment by letting her know that.

3rd C4K

In my final C4K for the month of September I was assigned to a 5th year student who went by the name of Dartanian. Dartanian is from Auckland, New Zealand. Dartanian's blog post was simply uploading a picture of the math crossword puzzle they did in class. Dartanian and a fellow classmate by the name of Toma worked together to do the math crossword puzzle.

Dartanian's blog post was impressive to me, because his blog set up was creative and bright. Also, I was impressed with the way Dartanian scanned his crossword puzzle to the blog. I made sure to tell Dartanian to keep up the good work and I let him/her know that the layout was very creative.


Overall, I enjoyed my C4K's for the month of September. It's humbling, yet encouraging, to see younger students be successful in blogging. I hope my comments made a positive impact on the students I was assigned to.

Project #2 PLN 1st Progress Report

I've learned a lot about my Personal Learning Network through this project. As a teacher I'm going to constantly be learning new things from my peers. Also, as a history teacher I will constantly learn new things from historians. I like the idea of playing the role of a detective and asking questions. I hope to constantly take advantage of networking with fellow educators. Having the technological advancements we have today allows me to collaborate and network with educators from all over the world. I will never know everything, but social media will provide me with a way to connect and learn from people who are far smarter than me. It's a relief to know that I will have a network that I can rely on for support.

I chose to use Symbaloo over Netvibes due to liking the Symbaloo layout better than the Netvibes layout. Currently I only have 9 of the 60 tiles occupied. I have Twitter and Facebook tiles, but Twitter is currently my favorite social media. I'm already following Dr. Strange and other EDM 310 staff, but I've also been able to follow a few historical accounts on Twitter that always provide interesting links relating to history. Facebook is also important to me due to being friends with some past teachers that left great impressions on me. Following and/or becoming friends with these teachers on social media has allowed me access to the multiple great links they're always sharing. The EDM 310 class blog also made a tile on my page, because there are just so many resources and links provided through the class blog site. I also made a tile for Dr. Ken Halla's blog site. He was the first teacher I was assigned to in C4T's and he's always sharing great things on his blog. Overall, I am extremely pleased with my progress in developing a PLN. At the top I have included a picture of my tile's.

Blog Post #7

Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps
What Can You Learn From These Conversations With Anthony Capps?

Degas Response

In the 21st century, more professionals in the field of education are seeing the impact Project Based Learning can have on the educational process. According to Anthony Capps in his discussions with Dr. Strange, Project Based Learning can reach its apex when the students authentically receive the project. This authenticity can be achieved by capturing student interest.

In the video discussion, Mr. Capps encouraged Project Based Learning through an assignment for his 3rd Grade students to write a letter to Congressman Joe Bonner. What is most interesting, as well as unconventional, is that Mr. Capps encouraged the students to peer edit each others’ writing and then choose themselves which eight were the best. This is collaboration at its finest because it was the students selecting which letters were the best and not the teacher. There seems to be something very Democratic about Project Based Learning.

Project Based Learning also exercises practical ACCRS and Common Core standards. In their letters to Joe Bonner, Mr. Capps’ students were actually practicing extremely relevant reading and writing skills.

Mr. Capps also encouraged the use of Icurio due to its mass amount of content. In addition, Icurio is a search engine for a mass amount of Filtered Media. This makes Icurio an ideal safe engine for students to use. Icurio is perfect to be in used in conjunction with Project Based Learning because it provides a safe place for students to research and gather material for their projects. Discover Education works very much in the same way, but focuses on digital mediums of learning rather than research.

Overall, the video discussions between Mr. Capps and Dr. Strange prove that students desire an interactive learning environment. More so, when teachers give students an interactive environment, the students become more involved than ever. An interactive and engaging learning environment starts with interactivity, Project Based Learning, and an availability of the tools necessary to achieve these new methods of Education such as Icurio and Discovery Ed.

Based on these 4 videos
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3: iCurio
Part 4: Discovery Ed

Wesley Etheridge: "Additional Thought About Lessons"

In the video, Additional Thought About Lesson, Anthony Capps explains that a lesson is 4 layers thick. The first "layer" of developing a lesson is thinking about how the lesson fits into your plan in terms of the entire year. This requires deciding if you are going to cover all of your content standards, and then writing out a curriculum map that ensures all of the standards are covered during the course of the year. The next layer is the unit. According to Anthony Capps it is vital that the unit is planned in a cohesive manor that ensures each unit sets up the next. This assures that you don't force students to learn everything about one particular unit in one day. Rather than forcing students to learn everything in a short amount of time, you plan a certain point in time where the students should be able to master the outcome. The third layer, so to speak, is planning your week. This entails having a goal for each week, and asking yourself what will you do each day to achieve that goal at weeks end. The fourth and final layer is the daily plan. The daily plan is how you engage students on a daily basis. Anthony says you start with a hook that gets the students engaged and then by the end of the day you use something to actually measure what they have discovered. You then take those measurements to plan your next day. Anthony Capps is clear to point out that it doesn't matter which layer you start with, but all four layers are equally important in having a successful lesson.

In this short video I learned a lot about a lesson. I agree with Anthony that all four layers are important, but the part that grabbed my attention the most was his comment on the importance of having a hook that engages students on the daily level. I would love to hear him discuss examples of hooks in the future with Dr. Strange.

Erin Crane: "Strange List of Tips for Teachers"

In the video, The Anthony-Strange Tips for Teachers, Anthony Capps and Dr. John Strange gave tips for beginning teachers to remember. Anthony, a former EDM 310 student and well respected third grade teacher, and Dr. Strange imparted six “tips of wisdom” (as I like to call it) upon those who watched the video. The list consisted of:
1. Be interested in learning.
2. Be ready to put in the hard work.
3. Be flexible with the way you teach.
4. Always start with a goal.
5. Engage your students 100% of the time.
6. Reflect,revise, share, and work with an audience.

A couple of these seemed like common sense advice, but it hit me that I hadn’t really thought of it. I have always been a believer in the “you get as much effort as you put in” method so I understood the hard work tip. The first piece of advice given, be interested in learning, put me at ease. I’ve always had a fear of not remembering or knowing enough information to teach my students, but I realize I will have to teach myself new curriculum every day. History is something that doesn’t change, but at the same time is constantly changing. Everyday a new event will happen that I can compare to a past event in history, hence, “history repeats itself”. As I get older I also realize my students may also start teaching me things, which is fine, it means they’re learning! Another tip I liked was to be flexible with the way you teach. I realize every class is different from the next, and some things I use in one I won’t be able to use in the others. Having a plan set out is great, but I need to learn to be flexible to roll with whatever happens. We may get on a topic the kids have a lot of questions about, and I won’t cover the rest of my lesson plans for the day. I’ll have to make that up at some point in the week. Flexibility is a great word for teachers to remember, as well as the tips given to us in this video.

Lance Wilkinson: "Don't Teach Technology, Use It"

The video conversation between Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange “Don’t Teach Technology, Use It” focuses on the opinion that students should be familiarized and learn to apply technology through Project Based Learning. This belief is founded on the fact that technology will become immensely more prevalent during our future students’ lives, therefore technology should be a medium of the learning process.

According to Mr. Capps, technology is advantageous to learning because it is clean and sharable. A huge part of education, as well as technology is sharing. Therefore it would make sense that the two be combined. Technology also excites students and makes educational material seem more relevant to their daily lives.

By applying technology to Project Based Learning, students not only learn the material, but also become more familiar with technology through the project. Implementing technology into the classroom through Project Based Learning also teaches students problem solving skills. In addition, technology should be implemented gradually to familiarize students with technological mediums in order to build week by week on technological familiarity.

The main thesis of the video rests on having students engage in Project Based Learning by applying technology, rather than merely teaching technological applications to students. In this way students can apply what they’ve learned in the project’s subject and familiarize themselves with technology in an interactive and engaging learning process.

Project #13 Project Based Learning Plan #1

Lesson Plan #1 Created By Wesley Etheridge for Project #13

This lesson plan adresses objectives 9.3.1 and 9.3.2 of the Alabama State Objectives. The focus of the lesson plan is the Reformation and what caused it. Also, students will have a better understanding of the influence the Reformation has on the world today. This lesson plan is for students in the 9th grade taking World History: 1500 to the Present. It covers a period of 5 days.