Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tidbits on Iowa Core Curriculum

I could go on and on about all of my opinions, praises, and even qualms with the Iowa Core Curriculum.
Instead, I'm just going to touch base on a few things about the ICC that I have learned since my college career started.

First off, the ICC appears to constantly be changing.  I was comparing what it looked like about 5 years ago compared to what it looks like now, in the year 2014.  It's absolutely incredible to see all of the (subtle) changes in the core.  And I can only imagine that the ICC will continue to annually change in some way or another.

The second aspect of the ICC that I want to touch base on is how it differentiates from the Common Core.
I could take days to write about the differences, but that does not sound all to beneficial for any parties involved.  Instead, I just want to point out how incredible it is that Iowa has its own core, and that the Common Core standards have to align with the Iowa Core  Curriculum.

I have a plethora of other things I could say about the Iowa Core Curriculum, but these two things are ones that stand out to me the most.

As I look ahead to having my own classroom, I begin to wonder what the Iowa Core Curriculum will look like when I begin teaching, as well as what it will look like in my last year of teaching.

Until next time,

Em



Metacognition

Meta-cognition.

What is it really? 

A couple of years ago,  I took a psychology class and was introduced to this term and was told the definition was "Thinking about thinking".  My brain hurt.  Thinking about thinking...how much more in-depth can you go with a term?  

Since taking that class, metacognition has come up in any of my other psychology classes, as well as all of my classes for my educational technology degree.  It's become a part of how I approach my studies, and helps to determine what kind of lesson plan I want to create for students.

Metacognition is defined as: awareness or analysis of one's own learning or thinking processes.

It's neat to use metacognition as a base for creating lessons because I am thinking about my own thinking (AKA: learning) as well as thinking about what I want my studentsto think about while they're being taught.  I want the content I am teaching to reflect something that I have thought long and hard about, and feel strongly about. I believe that, in doing so, I can ensure that the material I am teaching is valuable, and full of content I find important.  Kind of a win-win in my book.

Until next time,

Em







Using images for visual appeal...

Alright, so here's the deal.

Very, very few of my blog posts include any sort of image or video or anything that could be deemed "aesthetically pleasing to the eye".  I didn't think it was a huge deal...until I started to notice a trend in the blog posting of other people:  A lot of people use pictures and videos.  I mean, a lot of people.

You might be asking why I'm not one of those people.  Well, here is my one reason.  You may think it's a pathetic excuse, but it's still my reason.  I feel like I wouldn't know where to put graphics in my blog posting.
I'm more likely to post a video because the content can easily encompass the big picture of my blog posting.

So, now my question is, why should I find value in inserting graphics and videos into my blog posting.

What's that you say?

Enhancing visual literacy?

Alright, fine. I guess you win.

When I think about the blogs I've read by people who are talking about different milestones happening in the lives of their kiddos, or even pets, I suppose I am drawn in more by pictures and visual "proof" of what is being talked about in the blog, than if I only read a bunch of words, but didn't have the visual appeal and images to enhance the content of the blog. So yeah...I guess I'm winning aware for world's most ridiculous blogger.
So here's a picture of a cat.





     Hey, look at that!  I inserted an image.  Did I do it right?  No?  You mean, I cannot just insert random images wherever I please, and I need to use images that correspond with the content of my blog? Oh. Sorry, kitty.

 
         Alright, so in all seriousness, I am realizing the importance of being selective in where I insert images,
and I am going to start thinking more about how I can insert images into blogs that will be appropriate for what I'm talking about in my blog.  So, without further adieu....

An image that exhibits what this blog has entailed....




I suppose I can jump on board with this images thing and begin to work on developing skills in using visual literacy in my postings.






 


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rambling with a purpose.... (Best)

I'll say it again: Rambling with a purpose.

To me, that sounds like a pretty accurate description of what blogging is.   You throw out all your thoughts, and it somehow comes across as an organized mess (or so you hope)  What purpose can that really serve?
Honestly.  What good is it to lay out all of your thoughts for others to see, and maybe even critique?

Well, let me ask of you one question....

Why are you reading this right now?

 You're exactly right. 

 No, I do not know your exact reasoning for picking to read through this blog post, but that's alright.  You're the only one who has to know why you've chosen to read this blog. 

Alright, alright. I'll be fair and tell you why I read blog.  Inspiration.  I want to be inspired. I want to be inspired by blogs written by people who are choosing to ramble, because within that rambling there is a purpose.

As I read through blogs by teachers, I am inspired in a way that brings me a joy, strength, and genuine sense of assurance that teaching is what I'm supposed to do.  I am inspired by blogs that tell of good and bad days in the classroom, by blogs from educators who are asking for advice from other educators, and even blogs from educators who admit they do not have it all together. I am inspired by all of these types of blogs because, though they may appear to only be ramblings, I believe they are ramblings with a purpose.

Before this class, I wasn't all too hyped about blogging, I enjoyed reading the blogs of other people, but I never saw myself sitting down and developing a real appreciation for this "hobby". 

This class has shown me that I do enjoy blogging.  I enjoy sitting down and rambling with (what I hope) is a purpose.   I'm not a fanatic of blogging (yet) but I do find joy in sitting down and talking about what's on my mind, hoping that it serves some sort of purpose.

Until next time,
Em










Monday, April 28, 2014

Why use iMovie?

Before this class, I had never really even heard of iMovie.  I had only used WeVideo, and I honestly thought that was the only movie creating program that I would ever really end up using.  Thank goodness I was wrong.

When we used iMovie to trim down home videos from the desktop of our lab computers it was awesome to see how this program enabled users to EASILY trim down videos and insert all types of unique and creative sounds and songs.  This program also enables users to incorporate different transitions all throughout the video.  All of these factors can make for a neat production!

In thinking about when I would find myself using this program again, I imagine all of the graduation slideshows and videos, or even anniversary slideshows I will someday make.  It's amazing to think about
all of the different tools in this program that can help to contribute to making a timeless video that captures only what you want it to, and omits all of the "junk".

I'm looking forward to playing around with this program a little more, and learn how even more tricks and tidbits that will help me to maneuver around iMovie and create unique productions and compilations of memories.






Comic Life...for preschoolers? Why not! (Best)

Learning about Comic Life, and how it works has opened up new ideas for how I can teach my students someday.  And I cannot help but be excited!

Comic Life, a program that enables users to create their own comic books using their own photos and personal captions, can make for an awesome way to teach students important concepts in school.
The assignment in which we were paired up to create a comic strip gave us the opportunity to use this program to create an aid in teaching students important concepts, both in schooling and just life in general.

As I think about how this program could be used to teach something to my preschool classroom, the idea of "hand washing" comes to mind.  I can take simple photos, with simple captions to show students how to go about washing their hands.  Instead of just using clipart, I can take photos of actual students (with consent from a parent/guardian of course) and they will actually get to see themselves and their peers showing how
hand washing is supposed to be done. :)

What preschoolers wouldn't love seeing themselves in a comic strip?! :)

Comic Life allows for all sorts of creative "word bubbles" and creators can use all types of fonts and "fun" and "kid-friendly" colors.

All of this being said, I'm excited to play around with this program a bit more, and learn more ways in which I can use it in my own classroom.


Technology in a classroom of preschoolers (Best)

This title kind of scares me, to be honest.

When I think of preschoolers, I do not think of using technology to keep them occupied and as a teaching tool.  I do not think of using technology at all in fact.  I think of reading to them, laying out the blocks, coloring pages and paint stations. I do not think of using technology... because that is not something that was really used all too often as a means of learning.

My, oh my, how times have changed.

Awhile back, I was talking to a friend about all of the massive changes that have been happening in the classroom over the past even couple of years, and we agreed that, of the changes, the "biggest" one that shows a distinct difference in how education is being approached in the classrooms of "Millennials" compared to classrooms of the "older" generations has come with how electronic technology has become just another normal method in teaching students.    My friend went on to talk about how his 4 year old sister was given "Ipad time" on certain days, instead of art or some other type of elective.

I was dumbfounded.

My first thought when I heard about this was...I thought playing on the computer was restricted to outside school walls, and was seen as more of a "privilege" than a form of learning.  That is certainly not the case

Educators have found incredible ways to use technology in the classroom, regardless of age.  Apps that include ways for students to develop skills in learning to count, read, write, listen (the list goes on and on)
are constantly being created.   And I'm learning something...

Technology isn't really all that bad for kids.  Technology can mean learning.  Learning in a "new-fangled" manner, but learning all the same.  That is not a bad thing.

I love books, crafts, and anything of the sort.

I do not love electronic technology.  I am learning to understand why it isn't such an awful thing for kids.

We have so many digital natives running around. Students are being launched into classrooms where "Ipad" time is seen as the norm, and they know nothing different than this type of learning.  To them, technology is just a part of what they are taught in school.  It's hard for me to wrap my mind around this truth, but I'm trying to learn how to adjust and prepare my mind for "jumping on board" with this approach to educating my future classroom, full of brains and imaginations that are ready to do all they can to learn; regardless of the method or concept.

My, oh my. How have times changed?  Not as much as I once thought.  We're still teaching our students the same basics (counting, reading, writing...) but now, we're finding different methods.  We're still teaching.
Students are still learning.

Isn't that the point of education?

Let's take a minute to remember what our friend, John Dewey, once said...

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."

Time to log off this (not so awful) mode of learning and teaching. :)

Until next time,

Em