Week 10. Mini Projects 2.

24 Mar

Looking at this weeks options for our mini projects I found myself a bit afraid. They all looked pretty challenging and time consuming. For the first one I decided to do the timeline. At first I was looking around the Capzles website and I got very frustrated with it pretty quickly. I thought the example that was given in the module was confusing and didn’t really make any sense to me so I decided to look at the next website which was timetoast. I really enjoyed using timetoast, I liked how it was set up, how easy the timelines where to read and the fact that it was very user friendly! After I found this website I actually really enjoyed doing this mini project. I picked a topic that I found really interesting so the research was engaging and fun and I even discovered some new information that I didn’t know. I think using timetoast in the classroom would be a lot of fun and very easy for the students to do. Because I want to teach 3rd grade I enjoying finding sites and activities that are very user friendly because then more than likely it will make it easy, fun and engaging for the students to use and learn the technology while also learning the material in a different way. The timeline would be fun to have the students present them to the class so that the students could see many different ways that the technology could be used.

While it was easy and fun for me to do the timeline I find that I’m having issues deciding which project to do for the last mini project. None of the options really interest me so I’m not sure which one I’m going to do. Right now I am leaning towards the google trek, that’s the one that I have looked into the most and have really been researching but like I said I’m not sure. I’m trying not to get too frustrated but I’m finding that it’s difficult so I guess I will see what happens!

Week 9. Mini Projects.

13 Mar

This weeks assignment had us working on 2 mini projects to put onto our professional web portfolio. Two of the options didn’t interest me at all but two options really interested me. I decided to do the podcast and to use the website voki.com to create my own talking avatar.

I found voki to be really fun and easy to use. There were so many different option to choose from so that you could personalize your avatar, that was probably my favorite aspect about the website. You could use animals, people or even cartoon like characters. If you chose to have a female avatar you could add jewelry to her and even makeup! The detail of the website was pretty impressive. Also, like I said I really appreciated how easy and straight forward it was to use, the website literally walked you through step by step what you needed to do to crate you avatar and at the end it provided you with the code you needed to post your avatar to facebook, twitter, or a google website. I ended up posting mine to my professional blog and to twitter! I can really see myself using this tool in my future classroom. I think it would be a great way to do a history lesson with the students. The websites offer political figure avatars that you can use. I think it would be really fun and interesting for my students to pick a political figure, research that political figure and then have them create and avatar of that political figure that presents the information they discovered as the actual political figure. What an awesome way to bring history alive again! I can also see myself possibly delivering a short lesson by using an avatar I’m not totally sure how I would do it or if it would even work but I would be willing to try. As I said I’m very impressed with voki.com and I’m glad I got the opportunity to use it.


For my other mini project I’ll be doing a podcast. I’m not done with my podcast yet. I found the podcast tool a bit more difficult to use than voki.com. So hopefully I don’t continue to get too frustrated with it. I think podcasts would be a great tool to use if you were using the flipped classroom method in your classroom. As a teacher I could record a podcast and then have my students listen to it at home and then come to class the next day ready to do the activity part of the lesson. Also, I could see myself using podcasts as a way to give weekly up dates to parents to let them know what their children will be doing the next week in class or what they have been working on all week. I think podcasts are a great tool and once I learn how to use it better I’m sure it will be very useful!

Week 7. Sticky Notes.

02 Mar

Fantastic. Fantastic!! I loved wellwisher website, I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed! So easy to use, I didn’t even watch the instructional video. I just went to the website and started clicking around everything was pretty easy which was nice! I also loved the auto save feature of the website, I always forget to save stuff and it can be frustrating cause I can loose all of my work so it was fantastic when I realized that I didn’t have to worry about that.

I had so much fun creating my “wall” I posted some of my own posts and then I put the link on facebook, inviting some of my friends to join in on the fun and I truly hope they do. I was really happy when I realized that we could make our wall about anything that we wanted it to be rather than having to follow the VA SOLs. I know we have to know what the SOLs are and learn how to create lesson plans around them but sometimes its nice to use the technology we are being exposed to in this class for personal, fun activities.

I love this tool. I seriously can not say that enough and I plan on using it in my classroom. It’s fun, easy, unique and can be used either in the classroom itself as an interactive tool or it can be used by the students outside of the classroom. I plan on using this in my classroom for many different lessons. It can be used for an English lesson, Science lesson, writing lesson and even a history lesson. You could use it as a way to introduce a topic by asking students what they think about the topic. It can be used in the middle of a lesson to keep track of the different ideas that the students have and it can be used at the end of a lesson as either a final project or a way to organize the thoughts of the students to prepare them for a project, test or paper or whatever the final assessment of the lesson may be. There are many creative and fun ways to use this tool in the classroom. I truly think that this is a site that the students would really enjoy using as well and since it is so easy to use a quick explanation and you could have 2nd graders using it!

Here is my board, feel free to post something!





Week 6. The Flipped Classroom.

23 Feb

The flipped classroom: interesting and great idea but it’s not always delivered properly. Having students view a video outside of class and then in class just work on work sheets or work on writing a paper is not the correct way to deliver the flipped classroom model. The main point of a flipped classroom is to give the students more interaction time with both their peers and their teachers.

As a student there have been many times where I have zoned out in class. The teacher is just going on and on, I’m tired or bored or whatever, either way I’m not engaged so I end up retaining very little to no information. I’ve walked out of many classrooms thinking to myself, “what was the point of coming to class today? I didn’t learn anything.” I’ve also had classrooms that are hands on and interactive which make the class fun and I remember a lot more. I prefer the 2nd teaching method, obviously. Which is why I really like the flipped classroom method.

Even though I like the flipped classroom method that doesn’t mean I don’t have some concerns. As a future Elementary school teacher I worry about how useful this method would be my classroom. Elementary school students tend to have less access to computers and the internet than high school or college students. So that brings up the question of “how do you get the students to watch the videos if they don’t have access to a computer?” This video that I found on youtube shows a 4th grade teacher using the flipped classroom method in her classroom and it also shows how she deals with the fact that many of her students don’t have access to computers outside of school.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_55kgyRjqQ

Personally I think she did a wonderful job! Also, the students really seemed to enjoy it and she was getting great results!

I really like the flipped method because I think when it is done correctly a teacher has the ability to reach all of the students’ learning abilities. As we know students learn at different speeds and in different ways and I think the flipped method allows teachers to meet individual needs more easily than a traditional classroom.

While I do not think the flipped method is best for all subjects at the elementary school level I really think their are subjects that it can be useful for. I hope to do more research on the method and I hope the idea continues to catch on so that educators can become more proficient at it and we can keep developing ways to engage the students in the classrooms rather than just lecturing at them and then having them do worksheets. We want learning to be fun and engaging! We want students to be able to critically think, problem solve and enjoy learning, not walking out of class and wondering why they even came to school and I really think that the flipped classroom method is a great step to doing that.

Week 5-Video

17 Feb

This week we had to make a video based on a lesson plan that we would teach. For this assignment I decided to do a lesson for a 5th grade class on the Civil War. I created a video that was an introduction of the War, I think it come out great if I do say so myself! I found the website we used (animoto.com) very use friendly and a lot of fun to use! Finding the pictures via google advanced search and using only pictures that licensed to be re-used ended up being a bit of a challenge. It took a lot of clicking and a lot of time but eventually I came across “Life Magazines” flicker account, where their pictures could be reused, so that ended up being very very useful!

Personally, I think this tool could be very useful to a teacher. I plan on using it in my class. It’s a fun way to introduce a subject or even review a subject. It’s something that would really engage the students and you could even allow the students to create their own videos, which I think would be a lot of fun. What kid wouldn’t enjoy making their own video about what specifically they found interesting and fun about a specific topic or unit? It’s different from the everyday report and it allows the students to use skills that they are most likely using everyday on their own anyways.

As I said, I very much enjoyed this assignment and I will be using this tool in the future classroom!

my video: please take a look! http://animoto.com/play/s1BCK6NKVC0J9huXPfrbfA





Week 4. Information Literacy and Creativity.

08 Feb

Let me start by saying this: I’m 24 years old. I’ve grown up with the internet at my finger tips. Computers have been part of my daily life pretty much since the age of about 10. I consider myself to be pretty intelligent when it comes to the internet and technology and I HATED the Scratch program. I had the most difficult time using scratch. It wasn’t easy to use even after looking at the videos, I never actually figured out how to change the background color and my video is the most simplest thing in the world but at least I tried. Even though it is supposedly a super easy program to use I found it very frustrating and hard to follow and understand. I’ve never been very good at creating nor have I ever had the desire to create my own videos, so I found the scratch program very frustrating, difficult and annoying. I did watch some youtube videos to help me understand the program a bit better and I even enlisted the help of my husband and my good friend. My husband is an IT and writes computer codes and my friend has her degree in graphic design. I think the idea of scratch is a very neat and creative idea but I truly believe that even though it is a “simple” tool, it still isn’t for everyone. I didn’t find it useful for myself personally. I can see how it could be possibly be used in a classroom if a teacher wanted to create a plant cycle video that students can interact with or even if the teacher wanted to let the students create their own video for a project I believe this program could be very useful. However, if a teacher is going to use this program in their classroom they need to make sure they have extensive knowledge of the program, can explain how to use the program very, very well, and can remain very patient as their students learn the program, the teacher should also be prepared to have this project take up a lot of time. I personally do not plan on using this in my future classroom for a few different reasons 1. I don’t know how to work it  2. It takes up way too much time to even do the simplest animation and 3. I don’t know how it would be useful in a lesson plan. What would my students really gain from it?

I did find the Technorati website interesting and very useful. I think it would be a great tool to use in the classroom or at least expose students to because they can gain a lot of information from it. Also, since we have to use twitter for this class it got me wondering how as a teacher I could use twitter in my classroom? I don’t know if it would be possible especially since I want to teach at the elementary level but at least it got me thinking because I never would have considered twitter before.

Looking at other classmates blogs I found that I wasn’t the only one who was frustrated and annoyed. I have to admit, that made me feel better because I felt pretty stupid while using the program. Angela and Cassie expressed many of the same issues I did: not being able to get things to work, taking a lot of time to do some simple things, and not being able to change the background color were just a few of the same issues we had in common. I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

Week 3. Copyright.

01 Feb


To find the picture of the Washington Monument that I used I went to google search and used the advanced search tool and clicked on “labeled for reuse”. Then I typed in “a famous building in Washington DC” and a few different pictures came up but not as many as I actually thought would, which was a little frustrating but oh well. It amazes me how many pictures that had nothing to do with Washington D.C. came up. For example there was a picture of a couple in front of a lake on their wedding day……how random is that?

Here is my picture:

Modeling this skill to students is very important because students need to take responsibility for what they use in their work. They also need to develop this skill because this skill is something that they will need to use in their lives even after they have graduated from school. Students need to be able to find their own sources, they also need to know which sources can be reused and which sources can not be reused. Up until this point in my school career I had no idea that I couldn’t just take any picture off of google that I wanted to and I’m in graduate school. How come no one ever taught me that? I find that very interesting and a bit alarming. As teachers our “goal is the have students think broadly and deeply using skills, behaviors and dispositions that they will need for a lifetime” (Coffman p. 25). I look at this skill as being a useful skill that I will keep using now that it has been taught to me but again I ask, why wasn’t I taught it earlier? Copyright issues are a huge deal. I was constantly reminded when writing a paper to site my sources of risk getting a failing grade or even worse getting kicked out of school, but no one eve said anything about copyrighting pictures off of google. As teachers we need to make sure that we are teaching our students the right information that will help them be successful in their lives.

All in all I found this activity very useful and insightful. I became aware of things that I didn’t even know existed like google’s advanced search tool. I also became more aware of copyright information and tools that are available to me.




1. NCinDC (photographer). (2011). Retrieved from:



2. Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom. (2 ed.). New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Education.


Week 2

21 Jan

Let me start by saying that I did not like the look of the “21st Century Pedagogy” website. To me their website looked un-professional and honestly, ugly. I didn’t like the very bland look of the site or how it was organized, and I also found it hard to figure out where information was.

With that said onto this weeks blog!

Question 1: What do you think about each Web sites point of view?

I think the “Core Knowledge Foundation” and “Partnership for 21st Century Skills” (P21)  both had very interesting views on education. Their websites were also well organized and easy to navigate. Both websites were very clear on their purpose, clear on what information they think students are missing out on, and clear about what steps they believe should be taken to help improve our education system.

Something that I really liked was how P21’s stated that educational skills should be assessed, “A balance of assessments, including high-quality standardized testing, along with effective classroom assessments, offer students a powerful way to master the content and skills central to success.” Personally I am very against standardized testing and I do not believe it should be the only way to assess our students. I found it refreshing to explore a website that had creative and new ideas about education. P21 also states, “As much as students need to learn academic content, they also need to know how to keep learning — and make effective and innovative use of what they know — throughout their lives…” I thought this was a fantastic take on education! Much of education is based on memorization, especially since we use standardized testing, and memorizing information isn’t knowledge! It’s just being able to spit facts back out at someone when they ask you a question. Now do we want our students to know facts? Of course. But, we want them to know and understand the POINT of those facts. Think about this, a student is able to recall the dates of all the important battles of the Revolutionary War but they can’t tell you why the Colonists decided to go to war with England in the first place….is that real knowledge? In my opinion no. Just knowing the facts isn’t good enough, students need to be able to understand the facts and use them to make connections with the real world and life experiences. I think that is something that P21 is trying to do. They want students to know educational facts but they are also stressing the need for students to be able to develop skills that they can take with them into the real world so that they become productive members of society.

I think the philosophy of the Core Knowledge Foundation is great, “We believe that every person in a diverse democratic society deserves equal access to the common knowledge base that draws together its people, while recognizing our differing traditions and contributions. We believe that offering universal access to this shared knowledge is a primary duty of schooling, critical to literacy, and to the closing of the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups. Most important of all, we believe that shared knowledge, a shared narrative, and shared ideals of liberty and tolerance are indispensable ingredients for effective citizenship and for the perpetuation of our democratic institutions.” I think it’s great that the foundation is fighting for educational equality for all students. The main purpose of the foundation is to make sure that all students get equal education and they they get the education they need to continue to build on their knowledge and education throughout the life of the student. While I do think 21st century skills are important I think many people get so caught up in the technology and the ways in which the world is changing that often we forget that we need to teach our students basic skills that they can build on. Without basic skills, like being able to read well, it will be very difficult for students to develop their 21st century skills and difficult for them to become successful world citizens.

How does what you read in each Web site change your view of how you should teach your subject area?

The Core Knowledge Foundation website didn’t change my view on how to teach my subject area, if anything it just re-enforced how much of an impact elementary school teachers have on their students. In elementary school is where many students are first taught how to read and write on their own and if teachers don’t help to develop those skills or does a poor job at developing them the student could struggle for a long time. Reading and writing are such basic skills that are needed for daily life. If anything the Core Knowledge Foundation stressed even more to me how much of an impact a teacher can have on a student and how important it is to be a good teacher.

P21 changed my view on how important it is for our students to learn new skills as well as their core skills. The world is a very diverse place and in order for our students to be successful in it they need to understand how other countries operate, how to work well with others, how to be respectful of others and their needs, how to critically think about issues and how to be able to work well with others to solve problems. Group work wasn’t stressed in my k-12th grade education I think because I wasn’t exposed to it at an early age is part of the reason I hate group work now. I mean I hate it, I much rather work alone than with other people but that just isn’t the way our society works anymore. P21 website helped me to realize that, helping me understand the positives to group work and that if I expose my students to it at younger ages they’ll develop skills that I never developed or didn’t develop until much later into my education.



P21. (2011). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework.


Common Core Foundation. (2013). Why knowledge matters. Retrieved from http://coreknowledge.org/about-the-curriculum.

INDT 501. Week 1.

18 Jan

Let me start off by say that the University of South Florida is absolutely amazing for coming up with the Technology Integration Matrix!

My first thought on seeing this website was, ‘What the heck is the Technology Intergration Matrix?’ Lucky for me the website explains exactly what it is: “The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students” (usf.edu). Now, the website goes into more detail about the TIM but the above statement gets the point across. What a great resources for teachers to go to if they are struggling with ideas on how to use technology in the classroom or if they are sick and tired of the same technology and are looking for something new and exciting.

As most of us are aware, we live in a digital age. Students are growing up with more and more technologies so expecting them to come into the classroom and work only with paper and pencil isn’t going to work. The world around us has changed greatly in the last 15 years and as teachers we must adapt and grow in order to keep our students engaged and interested in learning.

I got so caught up in this website that I watched many different video! There were so many great and creative ideas that I couldn’t stop watching! Many lesson plans I wanted to make note of so that in the future I could use them in my own classroom.

This week we were instructed to find a video in the matrix that we thought was interesting, engaging and that communicated the information well to the students. We were also instructed to find a video that did the opposite.

Interesting Video:

The video that really stood out to me was the American Revolution Culminating Event. It was used in a 4th grade classroom and it was classified under: constructive learning, adaptation level, and social studies.
The objects of the lesson was the students needed to decide if the colonists should declare independence or remain loyal to the king and choose a technology to present their information. I love history but throughout my whole life I’ve always heard people say, “What’s the point of learning about history?” This lesson plan allowed the students to have some control over their learning because the teacher allowed them to choose with technology they wanted to use. In letting the students choose it helps them to stay more interested because instead of being forced to use a technology they may not like, they can pick a technology they love therefore the assignment becomes much more interesting and fun. I also thought it was great that the teacher told the students they had to pick a side and justify their reasons for either staying loyal or not against the king, just like the colonists had to do. In doing this it makes it so the students can relate to the people of the time period because just like the colonists they had to make a choice they needed understand the situation at hand in order to make and justify their decision.

Skeptical video:

The skeptical video I found was called Fish Facts. It was for a first grade class and it was classified under: goal directed learning, adaptation level and science.
The object of this lesson was to use the internet to find fish facts and then the students could either email the teacher, make a powerpoint or make a movie about the facts that they found. First of all I’m not so sure 1st graders know how to use powerpoint nor am I sure that they would know how to navigate a software well enough to create their own movie. I also didn’t like how the teacher just kind of sent them on their way to do research on their on on the internet. I felt like this lesson could have been more structured. It came across as the teachers just letting the students talk to each other and surf the internet hoping that they find facts about fish. I might be wrong, maybe the teacher’s plan was more detailed than the video showed but this video really made me stop and raise my eyebrow.

A technology that really stood out to me that I’ve seen first hand was a pollution program. It was a program that I used in my environmental science class  during my last semester of my undergrad program. Basically, the program used cars and other things that pollute the air to show us the type of damage that it is causing to our environment. The program started off with one car and then we added more cars and we got to see what happened to the air, the earth’s temperature, and the ozone layer as we added more and more pollution. It was really neat because it actually gave you something to see rather than just assuming damage was being done to the ozone layer, which is something we can’t physically see. I’m not sure which categorizes it would fall under….I know for sure it would be collaborative learning because we were using the programs in groups, and it also might be authentic learning because we were learning about our environment and pollution which is a real thing that is effecting our lives.



Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (n.d.). The technology integration matrix. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/index.php

Week 13

24 Nov

What do students learn in schools?

What students learn is schools varies from school to school and sometimes even student to student. Sure, everyone would like to think that students are being taught the necessary skills they’ll need in order to succeed in the real world, “In the classroom, our educators are ready and waiting to give all students the knowledge and skills needed for success in college, careers, and life”(DC.gov) sadly this statement isn’t always true. We have proof that students aren’t learning the skills they need to succeed when we have high school graduates who is at an 8th grade reading level. The sad fact is a lot of students are just being taught how to take tests rather than being taught how to critically think and take knowledge that that have gained and apply it to real life situations. Also, like we have discussed in class education tends to go through trends as to which subjects are more valuable right now the more “important” subjects are math and science. Rather than focusing on specific subjects students need to have an education that makes them a well rounded person who is able to function and critically think and problem solve in the real world. How do we do this? Is one subject more important than another one? How do we really assess and make sure that students will be able to function well in society?

What are some models of direct instruction?
“Direct instruction is used to describe a lesson where the teacher has control” (Moore). Basically the teacher lectures at their students and then models what they want the students to do, or walks them through step by step how to do a problem. Picture that big lecture hall in college, with the teacher who has a slide show and a monotone voice and you’ve got direct instruction. It’s really boring and in all honesty it doesn’t require the learner to really think about anything. All they have to do is listen, memorize and be able to regurgitate the step by step process they saw the teacher preform. So really there isn’t too much learning going on, mostly its memorization.

What are some models of indirect instruction?
Indirect instruction is the opposite of direct instruction. It is more hands on, students are allowed to experiment and ask questions that lead to them discovering the answers or solving the problems either by themselves or with their peers. The teacher is more of a guide, there to help when needed and answer questions. Instead of giving students the answer or teaching them a step by step process teachers guide students in the correct direction by doing things like asking questions. This type of teaching allows students to collaborate together teaching them social skills, group management skills, and critical thinking skills. An example of indirect instruction would be: group discussions or group activities. Indirect instruction is something that I wish I was exposed to earlier in life. I didn’t really get exposed to it until high school and then a lot more in college. I have issues with thinking critically and thinking “outside the box” and I think if I had been taught using indirect method earlier in life I would be more skilled at problem solving and critical thinking.

Brainstorm ideas of authentic assessments that you may use that are appropriate for a content area that you might teach as well as developmentally appropriate for your future students:

I always stress about coming up with ideas on how to assess my students that doesn’t involve giving a test. I find tests boring and so un-original, and like I’ve said before I’m a horrible test taker and I get test anxiety so as a future teacher I would like to spare my students that stress as much as possible. I know that tests will have to be given and taken and I know that my students will have to pass state tests because of this obviously I won’t never give any tests but in situations where I can be more creative with assessments I will take advantage of it.  Some possible ideas I have:

Project based assessments: Anything to get the students using their hands and imaginations. So for example in a 3rd grade classroom for science I would assign each student a specific bug or animal study more in depth about, and then come up with some creative idea to present their information to the class. Either a poster board, or a slide show, or an art project.

Story writing: I would have the students write a creative story that we would develop over a few weeks. It could start with just a short paragraph for them to get their creative juices flowing and then get longer from there.


-Moore , D. (n.d.). Direct instruction: Targeted strategies for student success . 21(414)


Thoughts of a Future Teacher

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