Sunday, September 28, 2014

C4KSummary for September

Kid playing on the computer

Mya is a 8th grade student at the PT England School in Auckland, Nz. She wrote about the introduction to her favorite movie called La Luna. She was very descriptive about the scenes of the movie. Below is my comment I left for her:

Hi Mya! My name is Sammi. I am a Senior at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL in the United States. I will be summarizing your post on my blog, Sammi Taylor, for my EDM 310 class. I really enjoyed reading your post about the opening to the short animation La Luna. I particularly like the part about the shimmering stars reflecting on the calm ocean and the part where the strokes, caused by the rowing of the boat, left foamy bubbles behind. Your descriptions are so vivid. I can close my eyes and get visuals in my mind just by your words. I hope you will summarize the rest of the animation. I can't wait to see what happens next. Can I find this animation online? Did your class watch the animation at school? I hope you have a great school year!


Bryan is a 5th grade student in his Mrs. Schramel's class. He was given the assignment to discuss D.A.R.E. which previously stood for Drug Abuse Resistance Education but now stands for Define Assess Respond Evaluate. Below is the comment I left on his blog:

Hi Bryan! My name is Sammi! I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I will be summarizing your blog post on my blog. Your post was very good! It was very informative. You taught me something new. I didn't realize that D.A.R.E. stands for Define Assess Respond Evaluate. I hope your classmates and other students read your post and understand that drugs and alcohol are bad for them. It was smart to state what happens to your body when someone smokes. I hope this will prevent your classmates from trying cigarettes. Keep up the good work! Have a great semester!


Cael is a student in Mrs. Freitag class. He was given the assignment to discuss changes he would like to see in his school.His main changes were to add a recess, provide better lunches, and have less homework. Below is the comment I made on his blog:

Hi Cael! My name is Sammi. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Al. I will be summarizing your blog with a post on my class blog. I love reading your blog. I think you have some great and powerful ideas! I especially liked the idea of having less homework. When I was in your grade, I never had time to play with friends outside because my teachers gave me so much homework. I agree with you, teachers should give more class time to finish work. I also liked the idea of better lunches. Having better lunches was also important to me when I was in school. What do you think the school should provide for lunch? I really hope your school takes your ideas into consideration. Have a great school year!


What do learn from these conversations with Anthony Capps?

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
In the first part of a two-part video series, Dr. Strange introduces us to Anthony Capps, a former EDM 310 student and lab professional, now a 3rd grade teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary. He discusses his experiences as a teacher using project-based learning. From this video, I learn that project-based learning is a way students can learn to achieve a goal that the teacher wants them to achieve. Mr. Capps expresses that "students should own their own knowledge." In order for a project to have good standards, it must get the students attention and it must be of some interest to them. It should be tailored to involve the community and have a original audience. Most importantly, the project must be subject-directed. He gives an example of a project he had the students do in class. The students had to write a letter to the Congressman and the best five letters were chosen to send to him. The students took much pride in their letters, confirming that when students are engaged, they will learn and take self-gratification.

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
In the second part of video series, Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps go more in-depth about project-based learning. Dr. Strange states "project-based learning is not just a method for you to evaluate students but also a very powerful method by which students learn; but, it takes a lot of planning and a lot of work to make it successful." In project-based learning not everything is going to go well. A teacher has to not expect perfection. From Mr. Capps, I have learned not to be put limits on my students. I should not give them a direct, non-changeable task and expect them to do what I want them to do. Students will not be engaged this way. Mr. Capps advice is "to create an opportunity for them to go beyond what you wanted them to do." Lastly, I learned that I am a learner as well as a teacher. The rewards I will get from seeing my students understand and take control of their learning, far outweighs anything I can imagine.

iCurio Logo: Learning Engagement
In this video, Anthony introduces iCurio to the class. iCurio is a online search engine tool that allows students to search the web safely for videos, texts, and images that can be helpful during their educational studies. This is a great tool for both teachers and students because it allows teachers to monitor what the student are working on and able to share with them more resources. The students can choose from handpicked sources that are directly related to their project. Mr. Capps gives the example if a student wanted to look up a male civil rights leader, the search engine will give him only the criteria that he or she wants. Another great feature that iCurio offers is the organizational method. This allows students to learn how to virtually organize their searches and work. Students can place items in storage and have the chance to refer back to them when needed. iCurio seems like a very good tool to use when I have my own classroom.

Discovery Education
In this video, Anthony Capps describes what Discovery Education is and how it is used in the classroom. Discovery Education is a online search tool that has a unlimited portfolio of videos about science and social studies. It brings the experts of these two subjects to the classroom! He gives the example of a student researching about plants. She was able to pull from so many different videos and was able to watch an expert talk about the plants. This gives students an enhanced experience in research. It brings the text to life for them. Dr. Strange explains that this is the century of learning where students are more inclined to learn by watching not reading. We as future educators should take this tool and use it to our advantage. If this is what gets students to learn, I am all for it!

The Anthony - Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1
In this video, Dr. Strange and Anthony share tips on how to be a better teacher:

1) Teachers should be learners - Don't be afraid to read new materials or learn new techniques on how to teach a subject. We are lifelong learners!

2) Teachers must be flexible - Everything is not going to go smoothly. We as future educators must understand that some methods work differently than others and we must adapt to change.

3) Teaching is HARD! - Teaching is not an eight hr shift where you just clock in and out. As future educators, we must go home and reflect on things that work in class and make adjustments to those things that didn't work. Educators should let their work become an exciting experience. The rewards are astronomical!

4) Start with an end goal - Teachers must have an ending in mind. It will help them stay on track and make sure that the lessons are effective.

5) Strive for 100% engagement with students - We must strive to have every student actively in engage in the learning process. This is a high standard to achieve but all students must not be "left behind."

6) Reflection is the goal - Teachers should present the students with an active audience so that they will have feedback on their achievement. This also gives the teacher a chance to gain feedback as well. They must reflect on how much the students have accomplished and what things to change in the future. Students should be given the opportunity to reflect on their work themselves as well. This will encourage them to perform better and ask questions.

Don't Teach Tech - Use It
Using Technology in the Classroom
In this video, Anthony Capps talks about technology and its importance in the classroom. He states educators shouldn't teach technology. Teachers should allow their students to use it and get acquainted with using it on a daily basis. Students should get excited about using technology. Teachers should let their students show them what they know and how they are using it in class. Two 21st century tools that should be used are asking questions and problem solving. Dr. Strange mentions the class motto "questions are more important than answers." As teachers gain the knowledge of other technology tools, they will not be intimidated by them. This will make the class more active and productive.

Additional Thought About Lessons
In this video, Anthony talks about developing a lesson plan. He mentions that a lesson plan should be at least four layers thick. In order for the lesson plan to be effective, it must follow these steps:
Year - He states that teachers should think of a lesson in the form of a year. Ask the questions are you sure that you are meeting all the standards and will you be able to cover them in the allotted time frame?

Unit - This should have a time frame of 6-8 weeks. The question that should be asked here is will this be presented in a meaningful way that will connect to the end goal?

Week - Are you breaking it down enough to be able to stretch it for the entire week?

Daily - What have you, as the teacher, devised for the day in order to meet the goal for the week?

Anthony furthers talks about the importance of an end goal. The question asked is "If you don't think about the end goal, how are you going to know what you need to do or if you are on the right track to accomplishing it?


Chocolate Me!

Sunday, September 21, 2014


PLNs What Are They?

Personal Learning Network

Developing your Personal Learning Network (PLN) is a task that allows educators to organize tools and call on other professionals that can help them with enhancement of ideas, development of skills, and provide guidance throughout their career. As I design my first PLN, I have to think about the people I know and the tools I possess. I have to say my circle is small and my tools are limited. The only way I know how to make my network bigger is to master Twitter. The first thing I did when I joined Twitter was follow my group from class, Dr. Strange, and all the EDM 310 lab assistants. Next, I downloaded Tweetdeck, which has allowed me to follow #EDM 310 and #EDM301. If anyone mentions these hashtags while on Twitter, I will be able to see what they posted. This is very useful when it comes to sharing information and articles that may be pertinent to class or my teaching subject. On Twitter, I can search for a topic that interests me. I can also search for others that have the same interests as me. Once I follow them, I can follow who they follow, leave comments or ask questions, thus a PLN has been formed. Lastly, posting C4Ts will introduce me to more teachers. Teachers that can help mold and shape my teaching techniques. I hope to one day have my twitter feeds full with tips and advice that will help me become the teacher I have dreamed of becoming.

Dr. Strange introduced two ways to keep track of my PLN, Symbaloo and Netvibes. Symbaloo is a grid of tiles with all one's personal important interests on one screen. There is even a google search box so I would not need to open a new tab to search the internet. Netvibes is a personalized dashboard. It uses an universal widget technology so I can connect with friends and colleagues. I personally liked Symbaloo to help me build my PLN. By having all the tools I needed to create and build my PLN, I can spend more time looking for other educators and ideas. Another tool that some may not think about using is Pinterest. Pinterest has so many great ideas, from doing projects in class to decorating a classroom. I can choose from some of the ideas pinned and I can even pin my ideas for others to see. This is a great way to connect to other teachers that have creative minds which will help grow my PLN and enhance my teaching skills.

Vicki Davis states in her post, Personal Learning Networks are Virtual Lockers for School Kids that "constructing a PLN is the essential skill that moves students into the driver's seat of their own learning." I am in the driver's seat ready to start my engine. I am so excited to begin developing my PLN. I love meeting new people and gaining more knowledge. Just the thought that I will be connecting with someone across the globe is invigorating. Although my circle is small now, it will grow rapidly before I know it. As Dr. Strange says, I am a lifelong learner. I plan to be just that!

Below is a Youtube video that Dr. Strange shared through his PLN. It is a tutorial on PLN:



Sunday, September 14, 2014


Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

   The question Dr. Strange presented the class with is..."What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?" This question makes me think of our class motto, "Questions are more important than the answers." Questions are very important when it comes to learning. As students, we sometimes have questions in our head, but too afraid to ask. We think the questions are stupid or the class will get mad at us for asking too many questions. Especially when you are younger, the class teases you for "holding the class up" and you don't want to be seen as the only one who doesn't understand. As future educators, we must encourage questions. We must learn how to ask questions in order to get the most participation and intellect from our students. Teachers should also keep in mind that they are learning too and do not know everything. So it is good for them to ask questions also.

   In Ben Johnson's post titled "The Right Way to Ask Questions", he states the most useless question for any teacher to ask "Does everyone understand?" This question basically says now is your only time to speak or hold it in forever because I am moving on. I believe this is an easy out for teachers. Teachers are in such a hurry to move on that they don't try to push their students out of their comfort zone. Mr. Johnson explains that maybe the students "do not understand that they do not understand, and if they do not know what they do not know, there is no way that they can ask a question about it." This is so true! Students may not know what question to ask. Another thing wrong with this question is that it can be answered with yes or no. Most questions should open-ended, not closed-ended. Open-ended questions produce more thinking preparation to answer them. When opening the instruction time to questions, ask specific, detailed questions. According to The Teaching Center posted by the Washington University in St. Louis, teachers should not ask more than one question at a time and should not ask "leading questions". The response teachers will get by doing these suggestions will be surprising overwhelming and instruction time will be more interactive.
people raising hands

  In order to accomplish this goal, future teachers must devise a strategy. In the blog post, Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom by Maryellen Weimer, PhD., she gives ways to help with the strategy to improve interaction in instruction time and how to improve the quality of the answers from students. The three ways are:

 1. Prepare Questions - Dr. Weimer explains that teachers must come to class with questions already written down. All questions must be clear and detailed. This is a great method to establish early in a career. While you are preparing the content, think of questions that the students may ask or what points you as a teacher want to make sure the students understand.

 2. Play with Questions - When you play with a question, you asked it and then leave it unanswered for a short period, roughly five seconds. This gives students the chance to think about the question. Dr. Weimer states that if teachers have students answer the question quickly, other students will take the first answer the teacher deems correct and not think about that question anymore.

 3. Preserve Good Questions - All good questions should be saved for future references. Teachers must save the questions that really make the students journey outside the box. These types of questions will encourage them to think beyond the surface and look into the subject deeper.

  As a future educator, I have learned from these sources that it is my job to ensure that my students are excited about class and even more passionate about asking questions. I believe if teachers adhere to these suggestions, they will have a more collaborating style classroom. The students will be more interactive with the teacher and the teacher will be more dedicated to teach the students. Students should know that questions are the backbone to learning! In the words of Albert Einstein, "The important thing is not to stop questioning!"

Project #15 - Search Engines

There are many search engines that educators can use when researching for ideas and subject topics for their classroom instruction. This project will introduce search engines to my classmates and others that may have never heard of them before. I also want to give them more options than Google and Yahoo when fine-tuning their research.
Educational Research Informational Center

1. ERIC - Educational Research Information Center is an online library, sponsored by the US Department of Education, used for educational research and information. It is the most widely used for research for literature topics. It contains journal articles, teaching guides, and numerous other bodies of work. You type in any subject and a list of options open. You can search for peer review only or full text. I love this site. I have used it throughout my entire academic career. I recommend it to anyone writing a research paper.

WebMD logo
2. WebMD is the most widely used medical site for looking up accurate valuable health information that is available 24/7. There is a interactive search where you can click on a body part, input your symptoms, and it will give you a list of possible conditions. The website also contains blogs written by highly qualified physicians. I have used this website before. I really like, but I believe it is not a substitution for going to the doctor.
Zoo - One Stop Shop

3. WEBCRAWLER is a directory that has links to the web, images, and video news and a search bar that you can just put a keyword in. It is very similar to Google and Yahoo (search results are by them), yet it does not contain an option for email. I felt it was average. I prefer to use Google and Yahoo.
Dogpile logo

4. DOGPILE is a one-stop shop returning all the best results from all the major search engines. It decides what results are best for your search and eliminates what they deem as dulplicates. It has a "Go Fetch! button with the search bar which is really different. It gives you tabs for images and news but all the info comes from other search engines. I say cut out the middle man and go straight to the best.
Bing logo

5. BING prides themselves on being the fastest and most reliable search engine. It is very similar to other search engines. It does has a running info bar at the bottom of the screen along with a search bar. It seems easier to navigate through the searches than other engines. I really liked this search engine. I would suggest using it. The graphics are awesome!
PubMeD logo

6. PubMed is a search engine, maintained by the National Institutes of Health, that is a database full of abstracts and references for life sciences and biomedical topics. The database contains full-text content and online books. You search for any topic that you may be doing research on and it will generate a full list of options. This is also a website that I have used for my entire academic career. I suggest this search engine to anyone majoring in Life Sciences.
Mamma logo

7. MAMMA is "the mother of all search engines." Just like Dogpile and Zoo, it organizes all the top results from the leading search engines. It has the search bar with tabs for news and images, etc, but once again, it does not give you an option for email. I did find it to be more reliable than the others. It generated more websites pertaining my topic. I would recommend this search engine.
Wolfram/Alpha logo

8. WOLFRAM/ALPHA is great for Math majors! The website describes itself as being the "fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers." It is most useful for calculations and developing input to generate a report. It has a search bar with auto-fill. It answers questions by built-in data by human experts rather than generating a list of documents or web pages. It can be used for general topic searches not just for math. I truly loved this website. I will be using it for now on for all my math classes.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Title - Yearly Goal
For my first teacher comment blog, I was assigned to Shireen Damehr's Math Teacher Mambo blog. On her blog, Shireen Dadmehr gives a summary of her thoughts and feelings during the first week of school. She gives very high regards to her advisory students and she states that she loves her students especially since it has been a long time since she has seen them (the last time was when she taught Geometry). She gives a link to a quote.
100% Success Rate
This quote gives her inspiration and helps her cope with everyday challenges. Shireen Dadmehr ends her blog post with her theme: "take care of each other above all else". Her explanation of her theme is paper will be second to people. In my comment, I expressed that Mrs. Dadmehr is a great inspiration to her students. It is very clear that she enjoys being a teacher and loves her students. Her theme for the year is refreshing to a current student like me. I also included in my comment my Twitter account, a link to EDM 310 blog, and a link to my personal class blog. I stated I look forward to reading future blog posts and asked her if she had any advice for a future educator.

Title - Unit Circles and Radians
On this blog post, Shireen Damehr uses a fun and quirky way (News Alert Promos) to explain that kids are struggling with fractions. In her precalculus class, she tried a new method to teach special angles around the unit circle. She used templates of various radians and placed them on different color paper so her students could placed them in their notebook. She explains how she teaches different angles and references triangles in hopes to find "Fraction Geniuses" for the school year.
Keep Calm and Love Fractions
In my comment, I stated that I wish my Precalculus teacher in high school would have used this method of teaching. I explained I probably would have stayed in the class instead of asking for a transfer. I loved the way she used the different colors for the radians and special reference angles and had the students place them on separate sheets in their notebook, making it easier to understand in their studies. I also stated that I like how she uses non-traditional ways to teach math. In the future, I tend to direct my students that may be having problems in math to her blog, in hopes she will help them too. Finally, I included a link to this blog post for her to read.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback to your Peers?

Person walking down the street with peers on the side with clubs

    I once thought peer editing was a type of "superior than you" attitude my classmates carried and a way for my classmates to bash my writings as indicated in the above image. After watching the videos, now I look at peer editing has being fun and exciting and a way to interactive with my classmates. Paige Ellis's blog shines a refreshing light on how to do an effective peer editing. She lets her peers know how to correct someone's writing without coming off as being harsh. Peer editing is defined as making corrections and giving suggestions along with awarding compliments to someone's writing that is in your age range. The steps mentioned in the video What is Peer Editing? by nrpatric and the slideshow tutorial Peer Edit With Perfection by Adriana Zardini can help all peers avoid being negative and ineffective. Both tutorials have stated three main steps that peers must remember.

Uncle Sam I want YOU for your feedback
Steps to Peer Editing:
1. Compliments
     - Always start with one
     - Stay Positive
2. Suggestions
     - Be Specific
     - Give detailed ideas
3. Corrections
     - Check spelling and grammar
     - Check for incomplete sentences and run-ons

    When doing peer editing, the number one thing to remember is to STAY POSITIVE!! You can start a sentence with "I enjoyed reading your blog especially the part where ..." or "Your blog was very thorough and well written". By using these compliments, your peers will be more inclined to listen to your feedback and not take the corrections personally. When giving suggestions, you should always be specific. Your ideas should include word choice options and direct details on the reasons behind the changes you recommended. Also check for the structure of the sentences, the flow organization of the paragraphs, and make sure the post is relevant to the topic. When making corrections, always make sure it improves the writing. You should check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. You want to help enhance the writing, not minimize it.
    Critiquing someone's writing can be executed on an elementary school level as shown in the video by Tim Bedley Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes. In this video, 10 different scenarios are demonstrated using names such as Picky Patty and Social Sammy to enlighten students on how not to act when doing peer editing with their classmates. I really liked how this video used younger students. Every example was clear and simply stated for all to understand. After watching this video, I have gained more knowledge on how to effectively do a peer editing.
    On Paige's journey to do her peer editing assignment, she asked a very important question: "Do you critique someone's writing in public or through private email?" I believe it depends on how unsatisfactory the writing is. If it is just one or two corrections, I think it is respectable to comment publicly. This can help other students' writing abilities that may read the person's blog. If there are numerous corrections, then I would send a private email with the suggestions. Constructive criticism is always the method to use when doing peer editing. As an Athletic Trainer, I am constantly asked for advice from athletes on how to improve their game. I must be able to encourage them. We as future teachers need to learn to always motivate our students to do their best. If we constantly tear them down, they will stop wanting to learn. Peer editing gives us the practice we need to become positive, highly qualified educators and exceptional writers.