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.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Ok, I confess... I'm guilty of bashing Twitter and those who "Tweet". Until a few days ago, I honestly thought that Twitter was just another way for people to post what they're doing at any moment of the day - like status updates on Facebook. Low and behold, this is not the case! Twitter appears to be a GREAT resource to find all sorts of stuff! I found a meatless recipe that looked fantastic in all of 10 seconds - without having to search through "Googles" of websites...niiice.

From a professional standpoint, I can easily see how this resource could open the door to limitless amounts of knowledge about any subject known to man. As a teacher, this would be an amazing tool to follow someone in your subject area to gain new ideas.

It's just the beginning... if you haven't tweeted - good luck resisting the urge! As my best friend always says: "Sharing is Caring"! So Follow me (and show me that you care!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PowerPoint Project

In SEDU183 we recently were required to create a PowerPoint that we would use in the classroom. We were challenged to take a risk and try new features. I've used PowerPoint plenty in the past, but was unfamiliar with hyperlinking- so to hyperlink words to different pages in the presentation or to a youtube video was quite cool.

I do feel that PP is very time consuming. I think it's a great tool - but I would use it sparingly, I think. I certainly would not put all class notes onto slides... I would use it for an extra punch to get something across in a different way.

This project DID stretch my brain into "thinking like a teacher". I had a harder time coming up with WHAT to create, rather than just creating it... all in all - it was a good exercise :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Response Blog

We are no longer on our own. In Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli’s book, Personal Learning Networks, David Wiley, a professor at Brigham Young University, expands upon the thought that there has been a shift from “isolated to connected”(16). There’s been a significant shift over the past decade from a world where information was only attainable via our immediate surroundings. We picked up a telephone, a phone book, or an encyclopedia. Other information was available but not without first crossing the barrier of “time”. Sending a letter and awaiting a response took time. Physically going to the library and conducting research took time. Our world has changed drastically to one of constant connectedness and instant information gratification.

At first glance this concept of connectedness appears to be freeing. It opens the doors of education to include a global presence in which to share an infinite amount of knowledge. Richardson and Mancabelli make the point that since we’re connected to the internet and have two million teachers, the “sum of human knowledge will be at our fingertips”(18). While this concept may sound great, it implores me to think about the immense responsibility that this type of “freedom” brings. How do we keep from experiencing information overload with so much access to anything and everything? How do we filter through the mountains of useless information to find the gold nuggets worth our time and effort? How do we preserve the importance of face-to-face communication in a world where we no longer need to depend on those we physically encounter?

I feel that these are all questions that need to be addressed in order for this “shift” to truly be a positive change. The authors in the abovementioned book agree that these questions are not easily answered and “require a deep understanding of the complex changes that are happening right now, and they also require a willingness to re-examine every aspect of our profession in that light” (32). I believe that part of the answer lies first in determining our own individual passions and using this connectedness to ignite and fan the flame of knowledge about a particular subject – this narrows the path and allows for clearer focus. But perhaps the most important aspect of adjusting to this shift of “isolated to connectedness” lies within how we choose to feel about it. I truly believe that our subconscious attitudes play a large role in our ultimate acceptance of change. We must be willing to explore the new opportunities of being so connected and expect positive results, rather than fearing negative implications. When we open our minds to change we step into an arena of infinite possibilities.

Will Richardson & Rob Mancabelli, Personal Learning Networks (Bloomington: Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stuff I Like

When I have the time, I like to cook: Check out this video on Herb-Crusted Salmon... yummy!

Also, when I have the time I love to read anything by my favorite author, Anita Shreve. Check out her webpage and read the synopsis on Rescue - I just finished reading this book...

The stuff I love the most though are the really important people in my life - such as...

Mom and my best friend, Christina

My two amazing kids

And the man I love...

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me :) Please feel free to drop me a line anytime!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ya Gotta Begin Somewhere...!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Andrea and I'm a newbie at this blogging thing. I'm currently a secretary at General McLane High School, but have been working diligently for the past 3 years (6 credits at a time) towards a teaching degree. Since I work in education already, I see lots of good teachers, and some that are not so great. I see kids that are high-achieving honor students; those who are popular and stand out in a crowd, and those that really need someone to care about them because they feel like noone else does.

My teaching aspirations are rather simple: I want kids to know that I care about them, and I want to share with them knowledge that will help them be successful in whatever path they choose.

I hope to share my education journey with you while creating a portfolio of important achievements along the way. For all of you who already support and love me so well - "Thank You!" Let's DO THIS!