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















Sunday, April 27, 2014

Team work vs. Individual work

In thinking about this project, I can't help but reflect on how different the outcome would have been if we had decided to work on it completely on our own, and throw everything together and call it a presentation.

Yikes!

There is something to be said about the saying "Two heads are better than one."  I think it would be safe to take this saying even a bit further, saying that four heads are better than one!  With all of the ideas floating around in one person's brain, the idea of putting together the ideas coming from the brain of four people is
downright exciting!

Don't get me wrong, doing individual work is valuable, and necessary at one point or another.  It's vital to compile one's thoughts and ideas for a project, and be ready to contribute to the project as a whole.
Each member of the group has something different to contribute to the project, and when all of those different ideas are put together, they will make for a solid, enriching piece of work.

I believe that's all the rambling I have for now.

Until next time,

Em


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reflections on using the "Smartboard" (Best)

Hello, hello!

So, before I launch into my view on using Smartboard in the classroom, I suppose it would be most beneficial for me to key you in on a fun little fact...

Before this class, I had never actually used Smartboard for any of my own lessons.  Also, the last time I recall seeing Smartboard being used was in one of my practicum classrooms, back in 2010.  So, with all
of this being said, I was not all that well educated on how this "new fangled" technology worked.

Boy, was I in for a treat!

Smartboard technology allowed for (in my opinion) modification of material that would meet all types of learning styles.  That, right there, is what tells me we are doing something right by starting to really  lean toward switching to using mostly technology in classrooms.  When both audio/visual impaired students are
able to be taught with a certain mode of technology, as well as students who may have difficulty sitting still and need to be up doing things, I can find myself saying that this method of teaching is beneficial, and should
continue to be used in the classroom.

In looking at how we used Smartboard technology for our lesson plan, I have to say it was just plain Awesome to see how many types of activities we could integrate into our lesson that would take hours upon
hours to put together by hand, or may not even be possible at all outside of using the computer.

As I have made my way through this class, I have found myself becoming less skeptical about all the "hub-bub" that comes with using technology in the classroom.  I am becoming more and more aware of how technology will help in modifying lessons to cater to my students as an entirety. That, right there, solidifies for me the importance in being open to new ideas that, at a glance, seem ridiculous and, in theory, almost "futuristic".

I believe that's all I have for now.  Time to log off my "futuristic" mode of communication. :)

Until next time,

Em