Lesson Planning Experience

For my lesson plan, I chose the example that was provided in class. This was second graders in Corvallis, Oregon. The objective that was given was the animal research paper that must include three paragraphs, a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion. However, they do not have internet research skills.

The main points that I am focusing on in my unit lesson plan include learning how to research material online, learning how to correctly write paragraphs, and how to share information they learn through writing efficiently.

I was confused at first, because I couldn’t think of a way to integrate these lessons in a creative or innovative matter through technology. I wanted to find fun resources that would interest students in lesson, while also contending with common core and ISTE standards. So far, I  wanted to find applications that could be useful to the plan and also fit with the technology the classroom had available, which is iPads. Story Builder is one of the apps I found. It helps the user write stories and is supposed to help with forming paragraphs.

For this assignment, the common core writing standards were fairly easy to address because they mostly have to do with writing, revising, and editing, which will all be done with the animal essay. For ISTE standards, creativity and innovation can be shown through the students presentations. I also found a really interesting self-assessment rubric for younger students that I think I will integrate into my lesson plan.

Although I am still a little lost on the lesson planning and where to go exactly, I can see a unit forming from the information I have found and I think it will come together quite well!


Using Multimedia in the Classroom

With so much information and different technology tools at our fingertips today, there are a lot of different forms of multimedia that can be used in the classroom. Just a few forms of multimedia that can be used in teaching includes podcasts, video recordings, and the use of other web 2.0 tools, such as learning websites and social media.

Podcasts are helpful tools that can have multiple benefits. Teachers can use podcasts to record the lectures that they give so that students who missed class or wanted to go back over the days contents can listen to it. It can also be helpful for parents, so they can listen to the podcasts and stay in the loop of what their children are being taught. Not only is it a tool for teachers, but it can also be a tool for students. Students can use podcasts for assignments, such as creating a short story and saying it aloud. Personally, since I will be teaching elementary students, I think I would use podcasts as something for students to use more. I think is could be helpful for reading skills and creativity, where a student has to come up with a story and share it on their own podcast in class. Then, in class, I could help the students upload it, and this way their story could be heard by anyone, not just the teacher and other students in the classroom.

I think video recordings can also be useful for many reasons. Live performances, like concerts, can be recorded and viewed live by others, such as family who could not make it to the performance or live far away. Videos can have many other uses, such as recording feedback for students or making classroom videos. This is just the tip of the ice berg, there’s so many different ways video recordings can be used. In my classroom, I think I would use video recordings for making class video projects.

There are also many web 2.0 applications that can be used in the classroom. For instance, with Kidblog, students can create blogs of their own to post their own assignments and write creatively. There is also a web 2.0 site called my StoryMaker, which in one of my personal favorites, where students can have help writing stories of their own. Not only that, but there are other social medias, such as twitter, that as a teacher, I could post to a classroom website. All of the different forms of technology used could be posted, or I could even just post a URL link. There is also Edmodo, which is basically a website that is like Facebook, but made specifically for use in the classroom, to post assignments, give feedback, and interact. I could see these different forms of multimedia being used in my classroom for the various reasons that I just listed, and much more! There are so many possibilities with so many different multimedias available!

These different forms of multimedia are also favorable for use in the classroom when it comes to the ISTE standards. Creating their own podcasts, video recordings, or blogs can help inspire creativity and help learning. These are all also digital ways that the students can do classwork and learn.

Web 2.0 Tools for an Elementary Classroom

The first website that I found was my StoryMaker. This website was very interactive and fun. It would be great for an elementary school students. This website helps you write your own story. This site could be very useful because it gives students a helping hand in accessing their creativity and writing. This website gives options, such as different cartoons, background and prop options, and actions that they can do. You can also write in what characters say to each other. The site also helps with the main plot of the story. For instance, I tried it out and my story was called “The Fox Who Made Friends With The Lion.” I really enjoyed making and reading the story. Not only that, but you can also save it and come back to it. This site has many ways for students to access their creativity, and there is no prior knowledge needed for the site. When you go to the page, you click on a button that takes you to the story. It has a mix of graphics and writing, so it is good for improving reading and writing skills in a fun way! The only thing that I would change about the website would be to create a feature where the computer would read what the student wrote out loud. I think with the features that this website offers, it would be perfect for students in 1-3 grade. Overall, I was extremely impressed with this website and I will definitely try this out with my students when I have my own classroom.

The next website that I found was ABCya! This website is an educational game site. It is meant for many grades, ranging from pre-k to 5th grade. Each grade has a different place to click, and has different levels of difficulty. The level of difficulty is based on grade. These games are fun and meant to improve the users skills with certain categories. All of the grades have options to play games that have to do with letters, numbers, holiday, strategy, and skills. Once you click on one of the categories, many different games come up that the child can choose to play. This is great because then the child has manny different ways to learn something. This site is interactive and creative. I think it is great for elementary students because it mixes fun with learning. Also, having a variety of skill levels makes it versatile for so many age groups. I think this site has thought of everything. I can’t think of one thing that could be improved. I think the great thing about this website is students could go and play it at home and work on different skills that they need to learn. If only this site had more categories!

The final website that I looked at was Kidblog. This website was designed for students K-12 to be able to blog and share their thoughts in a safe and interactive way. The website is built to be simple and easy to use. This website could be useful for students to share their thoughts and interact with through writing, not to mention also help improve writing skills. Teachers also can manage all their students posts. Even though this website it designed for K-12 students, I would say that this would be more useful in students that are older. It seems very simple and easy to use, but when it comes to younger students, a first grader, the blogging may not seem as interesting as an interactive game. I think that upper elementary school students and up could get a better use out of the blog than lower elementary grades. All in all, I think this is a good tool to use. Students can start to share their own ideas and interact with each other and others who use it. Since it’s all students on the blog and can be managed by teachers, it is a good place for students to interact and give advice to one another. This site was designed to help students with their writing skills, and I think it is very useful for that. All in all, I think it is a good site for students in third grade and up.


Formula for Interesting Presentations

Presentations are often used to deliver information to people. The only problem is, they are often boring and are not useful to getting the point across. I read an interesting writing by Guy Kawaski called presentationzen which gave different ways to deliver presentations more effectively. Before reading this, I knew a few things that could make presentations better, such as not including so many bullet points and having more pictures. However, this writing provided more in depth ideas. There were 4 specific various ways to make presentations more interesting. The 4 elements are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. I also didn’t realize that putting graphics in a certain place on a slide is more appealing to the eye.

I can incorporate these elements into my own presentations that I create and present to my students. Showing more pictures that take up more screen space, including much less information via bullet points, taking advantage of blank spaces, contrasting different elements included in the presentation, such as color or size, and placing things in a more aesthetic manner. Basically, create slide show that is interesting, simple, and does not distract from the information that I want to get across to my students.

Presentations that I have created over the years have really not fit with these principles at all. A lot of presentations I have made included many bullet points of just facts, with few pictures. When I had pictures they were also off to the side and not a focal point. My power points that I have made in the past were the traditional ones that are just facts and boring pictures that were probably somewhat confusing. I think that the only thing I did right was include repetition, with the slide backgrounds. I have definitely learned a lot from this  article and in class about how to change up the way I could make a presentation for my class and students to make the information interesting and memorable.

Being Information Literate in the 21st Century

An article that I read called “True or Not,” where information literacy, and how to evaluate sources was considered. One of the questions posed was defining information literacy. What does it mean to be information literate? Can it truly be defined? It is such an ambiguous term. I think that the main meaning of information literacy is the ability to be able to look at information and discern whether it is valid and reliable or not. To be able to find the bias is also important.

So being information literate is being able to evaluate information. But how do we teach this skill to students when they have so much information at their fingertips that they must sift through? Teaching students the basic ways to evaluate sources is essential. There are simple thing that don’t take too much effort. When looking at an article, check the date it was published and see when, or if, it was updated. Check the credentials or authority that the author has and the sources the author uses. Also, the amount of bias there is and how in depth the topic is covered.

I believe by empowering the students with the knowledge they need to be information literate and providing specific ways to check different works, we can prepare our students to use this medium successfully. Having the knowledge to evaluate sources is very powerful and important, especially now in the 21st Century, with so much information available at the push of a button.

Using Technology in Elementary Grades

Today, I watched a very interesting video on using technology in the classroom through an example from Mr. Pane through a short video. He used a fun and interesting method to get his fifth grade students involved in learning about technology. He had all of his students create a comic where they create a digital superhero to intervene an internet situation where it wasn’t being used properly. They used their own pictures for the person to be intervened by their digital superhero. These digital superheroes solve things such as not putting your information on the internet or not using the internet to gossip online.

The gallery walk was a good idea in this situation, because the students got to read each other’s work and also see others interpretations of internet safety. I think I could use this in my own classroom when students complete work in class that is particularly interactive or has an underlying theme. I think this is useful, because this way students can see others work and perspectives.

Copyright and Teaching

With all of the new technology available to use today, it is more important than ever to be familiar with copyright laws and what is and isn’t legal to use. In the classroom, there are many tools that teachers take advantage of, but great care must be taken to ensure that the information being used is legal.

First off, many people might ask what is copyright exactly? Copyright is the authors right to their work. No matter where it is, things that are original from the author or even facts put into their own words, can all be copyrighted. However, teachers do have some exceptions from copyright. There are four tests for fair use that teachers can use as a tool. These four tests include the intended use for the work and the kind of material that is being used, for example, a work that is also in print versus a web page. This reason is because works that have not been published often have more protection when it comes to copyright. The amount of work being used also makes a difference. If a small part of a work is used it is more likely to be considered in fair use than simply copying/pasting an entire work. The last test to consider is the effect that using this work would have on its value. For example, the number of people who used or saw by the work that was not purchased might have an effect on earnings for the author.

While all of these tests are important when determining fair use, there are different rules for different forms of media used. For example, materials that are printed can have one copy, or one copy per student if there was not enough time to get permission. Any more used than that would need further authorization. Audiotapes and videotapes also have rules that must be followed. For example, they can be used if it has to do with teaching the lesson, but not for entertainment purposes. When it comes to web pages, links can be used, but the web page itself cannot be taken and changed to use as your own. There are many other rules based on the type of media. If you are planning on using some form of technology, it is always best to check and make sure it is okay to use. It is very important to know what type of medium is being used and know the rules for the use of each form so you can stay within the copyright rules.

Learning of the New Generation

In the recent discussions of how the newer generation is connected to technology, a controversial issue has been whether they naturally learn technological concepts or must be taught how to use technology successfully. On the one hand, some argue that people of the new generation naturally pick up on technology and using it. From this perspective, the new generation acquires technology more easily because it is part of their culture and everyday life growing up. On the other hand, however, others argue that the new generation needs to be taught how to use technology. According to this view, people of the new generation do not naturally acquire knowledge of technology, and they need to be taught to use technology effectively. In sum then, the issues is whether the new generation acquires digital knowledge naturally or need to be taught how to use digital knowledge.

My own view is that the new generation does not acquire digital knowledge, we need to learn how to use technology, either through personal experience or being taught by someone else. Though I concede that the new generation learns more through technology than previous generations, I still maintain that the new generation must learn to use digital technology more efficiently. The issue is important because technology being so engrained in our culture is important to our learning of concepts and our use for it in the future will also be pertinent.