Saturday, April 28, 2012

Virtual Essay Reflection

I really enjoyed creating my virtual essay.  It gave me the opportunity to put into pictures and words the story of how I entered the teaching profession.  Learning new tools like Audacity and Window's Movie Maker were a challenge, but seeing the end result was very rewarding.  I think using these tools in a classroom could be very powerful... I'm glad my knowledge in this area was exercised and stretched.  Great assignment.

OER Thoughts

So, OER's are "Open Educational Resources".  In other words, they are educational resources available to anyone - student, teacher, plumber...whoever want to learn anything.  The most amazing thing about these resources is that they are completely FREE.   I can easily see why these types of sites will be very helpful to me in the future when creating lesson plans.  It's one thing to have a great teaching idea and another thing to supplement that idea with someone else's great idea... it brings new meaning to "two heads are better than one".  Or in the case of the web:  billions of heads are better than one.

In my research of OER's I stumbled upon a few very cool things....  how about DISCOVERY EDUCATION, a site that let's you choose the grade level, subject area, and type of teaching tool your looking for.  How about READ, WRITE, THINK which provided a multitude of activities for all grade levels that included exercises in critical thinking, etc.  Very cool.  And how about 32, 501 free teaching resources from OER COMMONS?  This place was like a huge DSW shoe store - if a teacher can't find something useful there, there's something wrong with them.

So.... don't be discouraged when you are fresh outta ideas like this guy:

Tap the web and take advantage of all the OER's that are waiting for you!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cool Tool for School

Calling all Teachers… why recreate the wheel? ReadWriteThink is a great teacher tool to aid in all aspects of lesson planning. Just choose a grade level and an objective and you’re on your way. Choose from dozens of lessons that provide everything from NCTE standards, printouts and website resources to interactive student activities – all for FREE!

I stumbled upon a lesson entitled “A Case for Reading – Examining Challenged and Banned Books”. This lesson introduces students to censorship and how challenges of books occur. Students will read one of the works on the American Library’s Association list of the 100 most challenged books. Students will decide for themselves how they feel about the piece and write a persuasive essay to support their beliefs.

The research has already been done for you! A few of the printable resources available include: A Sample Parental Approval Letter, a Persuasion Map, Book Challenge Investigation Bookmarks, and a Persuasive Writing Rubric; as well as a link to several websites, including the American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Book List. Check it out!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paid to go to school...

So, now we hear that students are getting paid to attend school? Really??! Yes, it’s true. A charter school in Cincinnati, that has experienced off-the-chart truancy rates, is now using cold, hard cash to entice their students to attend. Click here for the full-story… or check out this video:

While I understand the school’s position and respect the compassion that is driving this initiative – what kind of standard is this creating?? What happens if students around the country decide that they're not coming unless the school starts paying them? Does this mean that taxes around the county will increase as demanded by a bunch of under-achieving, unmotivated high school students?

Cincinnati is not the only school with high poverty and dropout rates. I’m sure that students in the depths of NYC would like to be paid to attend school as well. It used to be that education was a privilege and something to be appreciated - not to mention the local tax -payers who were paying for your education. This new idea turns the tradition and value of education upside down. This whole concept really needs to be addressed on a higher level to determine if this is really the appropriate direction to take our education system.