Posted in Reflections

Reflect and Plan-Module 8

  1. It is hard to pick a favorite module for this course, because I learned something different in each one. Learning wasn’t just about the tool itself; it was also about the process. It was eye-opening to be where my students often are, not understanding something and having to correct mistakes and find a solution to a problem. I learned a lot about myself and the expectations (sometimes unreasonable) that I have for students in my classroom. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” Having said that, I wanted to try blogging for several years but was intimidated by it. Setting up the blog pushed me the hardest of all of the module, and I am better for it.
  2. While the blog challenged me, I found Module 7 particularly daunting. I put it off for over a week. I watched the video, but couldn’t decide on a topic. I felt uncomfortable with the way my recorded voice sounded, tinny and disembodied. I planned what I was going to say, took some notes, did a dry run without recording it, and dove in. Although I made some mistakes, I realized that I have missed out on utilizing a powerful tool in my classroom.
  3. The two tools that I will likely use in my teaching are Screencast-o-matic and WordPress. I’d like to continue blogging, even though I’m not sure yet how I would use it. I may update weekly to keep parents abreast of what is happening in the classroom and provide resources for students to use. I may use it to track my own learning as I continue to explore the craft of teaching. So many options. I like the idea of using Screencast-o-matic to post lessons, instructions, remediation, etc., for students who are absent or need to review a topic discussed in class.
  4. Two new tools that I would like to explore next are Padlet and Piktochart. Padlet can be used for formative assessment and for collaborating and sharing ideas. As for Piktochart, I’ve seen several posts in various groups about using it to create a course syllabus. My syllabus could definitely use a reboot, so I think I’ll try that.
  5. Goal #1-Create a syllabus using Piktochart to be distributed during the first week of school. Goal #2-Create a tutorial using Screencast-o-matic that gives students a tour of my website, so they know where to go for information and resources. This will be shared during the first week of school. Goal #3-Organize my cloud storage so that everything is in one place by the end of the first semester. I know this will take some time. I also need to delete outdated and redundant materials as I go through this process.
  6. Even though I learned how to use several tech tools throughout the course, the most important lessons for me involved empathy. While I consider myself to be patient and understanding with my middle school students, I get frustrated when they do the minimum required and don’t complete assignments. I learned that maybe they are resistant, because they don’t understand how to complete the task but aren’t mature enough to ask for help and don’t want to look “dumb.” I did that. Maybe they make careless mistakes and need time to redo assignments, because they get distracted by life. I did that. They might even procrastinate for any number of reasons, including learning something completely foreign to them, and needing additional time to finish a task. I did that. So really, the most important thing I learned is, I am a learner as well as a teacher. May it always be so.


Posted in Tech Practice

Teach Something-Module 7

This was the most intimidating module of the course. I had zero experience with screen casting, and I stewed over what I would use for a topic. Finally, I just jumped in and gave it a try. It wasn’t perfect (I said during my tutorial that clicking on a Twitter icon was going to demonstrate something, and it didn’t. Oops.) But the longer I talked, the more comfortable I became. At first, I was worried that I didn’t have enough information to cover two minutes, and then I realized that I had gone beyond the three minute mark.

Screencasting is a powerful tool. A colleague of mine has been flipping her classroom for awhile and has made her own videos using screen casting. I have been in awe of her tech abilities. Now, I see that I can do it too.

By creating videos, especially for laying out directions and expectations for assignments and projects, I ensure that all students receive the same information. I won’t have 3rd period leave, and then remember that I forgot to give them some bit of information that I then have to remember to give them the next day. Screencasts can also be posted for absent students, so they don’t fall too far behind. If I’m introducing a new tech tool or want to demonstrate a revision technique for writing, I can create a video to show students precisely what I want them to do and reserve classroom time for conferencing with them as they implement what they learned.

With increasing expectations and requirements each year, having this tool on hand will enhance my teaching and increase student learning.

Posted in Tech Practice

Take Your Pick-Module 6

Polldaddy is a survey tool with many uses. One way it can be utilized is through a survey that asks a variety of questions that will gather information about students’ school experience, study habits, and work routines. As a language arts teacher, I want to know at the start of the year which students enjoy reading and writing and which students don’t. While this isn’t “curriculum,” it is useful information.

As with many of the tools used in the JumpStart course, I learned by clicking on items and exploring. It wasn’t that it was difficult to learn, but there were many tools in the interface. I’m sure these tools are useful to more advanced users, but for someone new to the program it might be overwhelming. If I had been pressed for time, I might have become frustrated and moved on.

Polldaddy has many applications in a language arts classroom. It can be used to review material from a previous class or lesson. It might also be used as an exit ticket. The program is designed in such a way that teachers receive quick feedback on whether or not students understood the material, and there is the added bonus of not having a stack of papers to manage. Polldaddy can also be used by students to poll/survey classmates and gather real-life data which they include when writing an informative or argumentative essay. If you want to capture snapshots of information or quickly gauge people’s opinions, Polldaddy can help you gather the data you seek.

Screenshot 2016-07-20 07.21.43


Posted in Tech Practice

Get Social-Twitter: Module 5

Up to this point, I’ve primarily been lurking on Twitter. I’m intrigued, but intimidated. The language is foreign, and the amount of information is overwhelming. What do I search for? Who do I follow? What are the shortcuts that I need to know? How do I use this tool and not look like a complete dork? I’ve been watching what other people post and trying to pick up the lingo.

Erik Palmer is one of the educators I follow for useful information about teaching speaking and listening skills to my middle school students.

Screenshot 2016-07-11 13.05.23

Oh, and I use it to save contestants from elimination on #theVoice. Retweeting is very important to this task. Sadly, this is probably the closest I will ever get to Adam Levine.

Screenshot 2016-07-11 13.13.41

I participated in #sunchat one time several months ago. Participants were kind and welcoming, and I appreciated the collegial atmosphere. The Q & A format was interesting once I figured out that was what was going on, but the pace was so quick that I had a hard time keeping up.

Screenshot 2016-07-11 13.32.29

Twitter is clearly a useful tool for connecting with other educators from around the globe and collecting ideas for improving digital skills, both mine and those of my students. Again, informational overload is going to be my largest obstacle. I could get lost for hours following rabbits down holes here. Still, I’m heading back to Twitter to find more people to follow.

Hope to see you there. #JumpStartCourse2016

Screenshot 2016-07-11 13.31.11



Posted in Tech Practice

Practice Embedding-SlideShare: Module 4

SlideShare users will find presentations that have been created by other people and posted online. I liked this one by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano about ways students can document their learning.

Educators are likely to find information about a topic they are teaching without having to create something new. It would be useful in posting presentations, like PowerPoint or Prezi, for absent students to review from home. Also, students can become experts on a topic and post their own presentations. Another good tool for students to share their work.

Posted in Tech Practice

Practice Embedding-Vimeo: Module 4

Walk Off the Earth is one of the most creative bands I have ever seen or heard. This was the first video of theirs that I saw, and I was hooked.

Five musicians. One guitar. Pure Genius.

Vimeo is a useful tool because so many of today’s students are visual learners, and videos engage them. A quick video at the start of class can be used to focus students on the day’s lesson and tap into their natural sense of curiosity.

Somebody That I Used to Know – Walk off the Earth from LeeHS on Vimeo.

Posted in Tech Practice

Practice Embedding-Thinglink: Module 4

The following Thinglink by Shelly Sanchez Terrell is titled Engage Them in the First Five Minutes, a resource with tools for making the first few minutes of class count.

Thinglink could be used by students to select a photo representing a certain group of writers or time period and add information learned through independent research. It could be used by teachers to introduce a new topic to students or to provide supplemental materials using images.