I am really happy that I was able to take CEP 810. This is the last course I chose to take for my masters of art in teaching and curriculum. One of my goals as an educator is to understand how technology can be used in the classroom and how I can better implement technology into my daily instruction. I find there is no time during the day to use the laptops or iPads that are available at my school. I do use an interactive whiteboard to teach my students everyday, but I still love making anchor charts with paper and markers. Although technology is always changing, it truly is a tool to enhance learning. I have to remember that my students and I are co-learners when it comes to teaching and learning with technology. Prior to this course I felt like I needed to have all the answers about the technology that I would have my students use. The ISTE NETS site states, “Moving forward, teachers must become comfortable being co-learners with their students and colleagues around the world.” Even though my students are young they know how to use technology. I do not have to have all the answers. It is important that I remember that I can learn and grow WITH my students when it comes to using technology. I can be a mentor/facilitator. While taking CEP 810 I was able to explore a variety of technologies and I created a lesson plan that encourages students to create a digital story and share it in a digital library. Although I would love for my students to do this. I still sometimes wonder, are they really capable? I get overwhelmed when using technology and I can see that they do too when they can’t get something to work. I have to remember though, I need to give them time to explore, collaborate, and create! I thoroughly enjoyed this course and it forced me to use technology and think about how it can enhance learning. If I was able to learn using various networks, my students can learn using various networks. Learning is about taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy.
In the video below I selected a task by chance and a plate, a bowl and a utensil were selected for me by chance. The task that I selected by drawing a slip of paper from a hat was, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The plate that was selected for me was a larger dinner plate. The bowl that was selected for me was a large salad bowl, and the utensil that was selected for me was a serving spoon. In the video I have to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the tools that were selected for me. I talk about how well suited the tool (serving spoon) is to the task that I have to complete. I also mention the tool that I rather have and whether or not the bowl and plate that were selected for me were adequate to complete the task of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was able to complete the task at hand with no problems or complications. I would have preferred to have a knife to complete the task because that is what I am used to using when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This specific activity relates to the TPACK framework and the idea of repurposing because I had to make due with what I had to complete the task. TPACK is a specific framework that shows what teachers need to teach effectively with technology. Every classroom is different and has access to different technology. No teacher is going to have a classroom made up of students with the same knowledge, same content that needs to be taught and access to the same technology. Therefore, just like this project I had to make due with what I had to complete the task and teachers need to make due with what they have to teach effectively with technology.
One of my goals as an educator is to incorporate more technology into my classroom. I am always trying to find ways to do this and sometime I find it difficult to find time during the school day to actually do this. I think I sometimes forget that incorporating technology does not have to be an extra thing during the school day, it can be integrated into my planned lessons. In the beginning of CEP 810 in my “Mindsets for Technology Integration” discussion post I stated, “One mindset that I have identified as essential for my own professional growth as a teacher and technology integrator is that my students and I are co-learners. The ISTE NETS site states, ‘Moving forward, teachers must become comfortable being co-learners with their students and colleagues around the world.’ Even though my students are young they know how to use technology.” I think it is important that I keep this in mind when planning lessons. My students are very capable of figuring out how a particular program works if I give them time. I do not always have to have the answers because my students and I are co-learners. I created a 21st century lesson plan that integrates one digital technology that I explored this past week that expects students to create or publish a story into a digital story. I explored Storybird. This particular lesson is aligned with my districts curriculum. My first grade students are expected to edit and publish their writing. Usually my students do this on paper with pencil and crayons, but I think it would be so neat to give students the opportunity to create and publish a digital story that could be found in a digital library. This lesson gives students an opportunity to play with a new piece of digital technology and create a story that is published to a library.
Click here to view my 21st century lesson plan!
I thoroughly enjoyed creating a scarf for my Networked Learning project. I have always wanted to learn how to knit and this project pushed me to do so. In my video posted below I state my learning goal from this project, which is, to learn how to knit a scarf using YouTube and other various online resources. I researched several different sources to use to learn how to knit, from written directions online to YouTube videos. I decided to use one YouTube video that I felt best explained and modeled the knitting process. Click here to see the video that I used. In my video I also explain the challenges I faced when learning how to knit. When starting the knitting process one must “cast on” the yarn onto one of the needles. This was a very hard step for me to accomplish and I had to re-watch the video several times, pause it, try to do it, then pause it again. This was frustrating and I began to feel discouraged. Once I did it and got the hang of knitting, it got easier and more enjoyable. I originally wanted to make an infinity scarf and changed my thinking once I learned what I was doing. I feel knitting is a skill that one gets good at by practicing, just like anything really. I feel I will continue to use YouTube to help me learn how to do things. I feel that there are particular basic skills that “networks” can not teach a person. I believe a young student (first grader) would have a hard time learning how to knit using YouTube. I think age and background experiences play a role in learning how to do something using a particular online resource. A young learner does not really have the skills to do this quite yet. I am glad I was able to take part in this project and gain a new skill. I am already planning my next knitting project!
The tool that I attempted to use was Wunderlist. One thing that I love to do is make a list and then cross off the things as I go. It helps me feel accomplished. I have a problem and that is that I make too many sticky note lists. I stick these lists on my computer, notebooks and even in my purse. I can’t keep track of all of my lists. When I get very busy I make a list. I liked the idea of having an app on my phone that would allow me to make a list and check it off as I go. Wunderlist is neat because it allows one to share their lists with others. I think this app can really come in handy at work. My colleagues/teammates and I do a lot of planning together. We split up jobs and before big events at school we plan who is going to bring what. Wunderlist would allow us to make a list together and as we go out to get items we could check it off and see who got what. I also could see this app coming in handy when planning future events at work when a lot of people have to bring different items and even future personal events. I think this app is great but, I will always have a love for making sticky note lists. I also explored Pinterest a little bit more. I have been using Pinterest for a few years now, but I recently began sharing my Pins with my colleague. Pinterest is another great resource to organize ideas or to gain inspiration for future projects. I get a lot of art project ideas for my classroom from Pinterest. I can find a craft on Pinterest and type in what I need to get on Wunderlist! Both tools are great and allow people to stay connected and share their ideas and plans.
I am almost done knitting my first scarf! I began by going to Jo-Ann’s and picking up some red yarn and 14 inch needles. I had read that it is much easier to knit with thicker yarn and bigger needles. After I picked up my supplies I went home and began the knitting process. When I first started I really struggled. I had two computers open with two different YouTube videos going. To begin the knitting process one must cast on the first stitch. I could not do this. I watched and re-watched various videos. I would watch the video, pause the video, try to do it, then go back and re-watch the video. I started to get very frustrated and discouraged because I could not do it. I struggled holding the needles and yarn. When I finally got it and was able to cast on my first stitch, I continued the same process until I had 20 stitches. I decided to make my scarf a little bit larger since I plan on wearing it in the winter. After I casted on my first stitch and added 19 more I was able to begin knitting. I still had a difficult time figuring out how to hold the needles in my hand and switch the yarn back and forth between the two different needles without losing the yarn or the stitch. I actually started a scarf and got about four rows of stitches in and had to stop and start over because I lost a stitch and lost what I had of the scarf I was knitting. My second time around I had much better luck and now I am almost done! The main resource that I used to learn how to knit was YouTube. I just typed in “how to knit a scarf” in the search bar. It was helpful to hear a person explaining what to do and see the person actually doing it. The most helpful part of the YouTube video that I watched was the zoom in of the persons hands knitting. I am a hands on learner so it was helpful to watch and then try. I feel I am really getting the hang of knitting and it is very relaxing. I enjoy making crafts and knitting is something that is soothing. It has been neat to watch my scarf grow over the past few days. I am almost to end of my scarf, just a few more rows to go and I will have to add the finishing touches. I am excited that I have gained this skill and I am excited to make more scarfs and possibly a blanket. There were so many pretty yarns available at Jo-Ann’s that I would want to use. I liked that I was able to learn this skill quickly and the YouTube video was helpful. I feel the only way to get better at knitting or really anything is practicing and giving it a try. In my first grade classroom I always tell my students, “Smile and try your best!” This same idea goes to learning how to knit. I just have to keep trying and practicing to get better. Here is a quick video of me knitting!
This Popplet is a digital mindmap of my current Professional Learning Networks. The mindmap represents where and who I go to for information to help me grow as an educator. This mindmap has shown me that I do use many different resources to grow professionally. Not only do I collaborate with my colleagues to grow as an educator, but I also check out their social media accounts to get ideas on how to better my practice. I am posting this Popplet to my blog because I am interested to see what I will be able to add to it by the end of CEP 810. By the end of this course I believe I will have more resources and people to add to my digital mindmap!
For my Networked Learning Project I decided that I would like to learn how to knit a scarf. With fall and winter right around the corner, I would love a new scarf. Knitting is something that I have always wanted to learn how to do. My grandmothers and my mother all know how to knit and have knitted beautiful afghans for our family. I have never taken the time to learn how to do it. Before I knit an afghan (which is something that I would like to do one day) I think it is important I learn the basic skills of knitting. So, I am going to start small with learning how to knit a scarf. I feel online will have many resources to help me learn how to do this. I have started to research what type of scarf I want to knit. After looking at various websites, Pinterest, and really thinking about what type of scarf I would like to wear, I am leaning towards learning how to make an infinity scarf or circle scarf with a looser knit. I want to make something that I will wear and that will match my coats and sweaters. I found how to make an arm knitting scarf with a tutorial. This scarf looks simple and fun to make. I do not want to learn how to knit a scarf with a difficult pattern or design. My goal is to start small. I also found a chunky winter scarf that I really like with a video tutorial. These online resources that I am finding not only provide a detail description about the materials I need but also links to video tutorials. For this project I am going to need needles and thick yarn. Since I want to make a looser knit scarf I am going to have to make sure I get bigger needles because bigger needles help create a looser stitch. Also bigger needles and thicker yarn are easier to use and it makes the knitting of the scarf go much faster. I am going to stick with one color yarn. I am excited to begin watching these tutorials. It is always fun to learn how to do something new.
In CEP 810 this week I wrote an essay that describes what I believe learning is and how a teacher can support learning inside of a classroom. In my essay I describe various teaching methods that help support learning. Methods that I believe that can help support learning and understanding in a classroom are creating a positive learning environment, creating a classroom culture that promotes student thinking, and monitoring and reflecting on a daily basis. I define learning as gaining new knowledge that builds off of prior knowledge. I believe meaningful, hands-on opportunities need to be provided to students so they can gain new knowledge, but before learning can truly occur I think a teacher needs to be aware of the environment he or she created for his or her students, the language that they are choosing to use inside of the classroom to promote student thinking, and how he or she is going to monitor student thinking and progress on a daily basis. My thinking is supported from this weeks reading of Bransford, Brown & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn. I also pulled from other texts that I have read through out my teaching experience to further support my thoughts.