Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week 4 Reading

In Chapter Nine, the story of the "Certain things in life are better done in person" really struck a chord with me! I agree fully with this statement. Many times when people hear you on the phone they are not thinking you are a real person, you are just the voice on the other end of the phone, but when you can put a face with the voice something amazing happens. You become real!! A face is much harder to forget than a voice on the other end of the phone! Now, the chapter went on the talk about when you reach a person with a no on their lips. I also really felt that the comment about not taking the no personally was really great advice. I know that I do take things way to personally sometimes. My husband is constantly setting me straight, by trying to explain that sometimes things don't happen to me, they just happen. I am sometimes very pessimistic and feel that everything is personal. I have recently been able to separate the personal from school. I feel I do this better in my professional life than in my personal life. My first year of teaching was very hard for the very reason that I took everything the students did personally. Then my second year of teaching I completely changed my outlook and did not allow myself to think in that way. Wow, what a difference it made!! I was a much happier person my second year of teaching. Now, this is my third year and I am even happier this year than last!! As long as I continue to work on my outlook, I see happy years in the future.

Week 4 Comment

saturday, october 17, 2009

Week 3: Playing games

I have no time to blog or write my thesis, for that matter, since I've found a new and amusing way to waste time. Tired of taking quizzes on Facebook? Try instead. It took me six minutes to name all the United States! Shameful. Plus, I forgot Arkansas. I have to do it again. Can you name all the people who were in Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign in five minutes. Yeah, I couldn't either! (see below) What educational value does this have? Probably none, but it was a very fun diversion and the spelling is a whole lot better than the lame Facebook quizzes. Plus, they don't claim to predict your future or tell which celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend you'd have. They are just trivia or facts. If you are a trivia buff, you could make your own game to share. Or, you could create your own quiz for studying and review purposes. So, I guess it does have educational value. Kinda.

Week 4 Copyright, Creative Commons, and Databases

I thought I would let you in on this live class that was held by Classroom 2.0 a Ning site that I am a member of (which by the way is a great site, I believe I have talked about it before). Anyway, on October 17th they held a class much like Wimba on a program called Elluminate. It has many of the same capabilities of Wimba such as raising your hand, voice interaction, slides, interactive questions, chat window, and whiteboard capabilities, and much more. There were two guests speakers Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton. The videos are also available on itunes. The class started out copyright and creative commons. The speaker began by showing a video by one of her students that addressed creative commons. The student used South Park characters for a video creation for a class assignment. The speaker began to discuss how she was reluctant to put the item up on their school website due to the copyright laws and fair use. The rest of the class goes on to explore fair use, creative commons and how the laws are being interpreted and how they have changed. It is a long video that lasts about an hour and 20 minutes, but I thought it was perfect for week 4, since we have been discussing creative commons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week 4 What I learned

This video is an overview of three most important techniques or software that I learned about during this class.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 3 Stickam Chat

Well, that was interesting!!! I really see why we don't use the audio on Stickam. Initially, my group could not figure out how to get our video to show up, but when we put our minds together we finally figured it out. It was also interesting when the group members forgot they were on video and made a really crazy face(ok who am I kidding it was me). Anyway, I think we are all set for our group Stickam and Skype tomorrow.

Week 4 Possibilities!

I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to post my lovely picture! I made this pic with my Wacom writing tablet. As you can see, I am not the most spectacular artist with the tablet yet, but it has so many different possibilities! I have used a few different times, and it has really come in handy. The example at the right is a picture that was attached to my lesson plans for the day, so on short notice my sub could see what I wanted the students to create. Again, my hand is still a bit shaky but I still really like the outcome!!

Week 3 Reading Cont.

The idea of contribution is a great a concept. I like the idea of giving yourself to something, and not basing your value on success or failure. I like the thought that even a little bit helps. Most of us feel we are so insignificant and what I can do will not really help others, but a in the starfish story one person can help make a difference. I just have a skeptical attitude I think, because I was wondering if this idea could cause a person to go so far the opposite direction that he or she develops an attitude of ego? Just a thought.

Chapter 5, Leading from any Chair is great advice for any manager. Honestly, all managers should be required to read this chapter before they are allowed to manage anything. Throughout my short life I have had some horrendous managers, who could have really benefited from their employees if they only would have listened. Still today I get snubbed by many older teachers and staff due to the fact that I look young! Yes, I am young, but not as young as when I started. Just three weeks ago I got “in trouble” by a teacher because she thought I was a student. Now, I was a very nicely dressed student, but she didn’t seem to notice that. Anyway, I did enjoy this chapter and its concepts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 3 Women Only

The Broadroom

While sick the last two days, I caught up on my dvr Rachel Ray episodes and learned of a new webisode show created by Jennie Garth and Candance Bushnell (writer for Sex and the City). They wanted to create something different, so instead of starting a new weekly show for the tv they decided to create short shows for the web. Right now there are three episodes with a fourth coming on October 23rd. As Jennie and Candance stated on October 1st on the Rachel Ray show the point of the webisodes are to entertain. It should just be a short break from reality into the lives of other women. They have women in the episodes from ages 20-50, so there will be something for everyone. The reason I chose this website is because it is new idea to their knowledge they are the first professionals to create webisodes, and of course its for women so I couldn't pass it up!!!

Week3 Reading Chapter 1-3

There were three main ideas that caught my attention in the first three chapters of our reading for this week.

At the end chapter 2, the book speaks of laughing because all the questions you ask yourself seem to be hopeless. I have lived by this philosophy for a while. You either laugh or cry, and sometimes I do both. Laughing lifts your spirits and sometimes you reach a solution due to your new found attitude. Also, in the last paragraph of chapter two the word “perfect” is mentioned about what type of day a person has when they are asked. I like this outlook. Most people really don’t even listen to your answer, so going into a long explanation about how bad of a day you are having will simply do no good. The word perfect works on many levels. I know I say “well this is just perfect” in a bad sort of attitude.

Secondly, I have some issues with the third chapter in our reading. I like the overall idea of giving an A so students can be freely creative without the worry of grades. I think there is a place for activities like this in the classroom, but I know my administration would not approve of giving an A grade to every student in the class just because (for their entire grade). Now, (as some of our previous professors have done) single automatic A assignments could be placed within the curriculum to encourage creativity and originality. I am thinking of the students I currently have in class, and I know I would have a few that would definitely abuse this privilege. I have students who don’t like art at all but need a fine art elective to graduate. Many of my students are juniors and seniors and they just want to make it through. So, how do I motivate these students to actually participate fully in an automatic A assignment?

Finally, I really enjoyed the entry about the student who thought of himself as a 68 out of 70 students, but then changed his thinking when he received an A. That is a great example of how teachers can have a positive (or negative) impact on the lives of their students. It also shows just how much a student can change or accomplish with the right kind of attitude.

All in all I do like the ideas of the book. I am not sure they are as profound as I thought they would be. I had the book played up in my mind based on others opinions of it, and so far I haven’t found anything that just knocked my out of my seat. Hopefully, there will be one of those moments to come.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 3 Comment

Trying to keep up with everything

Here I am again, trying to keep up with my life, my job, my classes and my studies. I feel like every day that goes by it is less and less the time that I have to do everything I must do. Sometimes I have to decide between finishing my assingments for Full Sail or planning the lessons for my classes, and I am not mentioning the times when I have to grade homeworks or tests. A lot of people tells me that I am crazy, that not having enough sleep is going to be bad for my health, and they are right, I am already suffering the consequences. The levels of stress that I am accumulating have made me go twice last month to the doctor with infections in my throat and lungs. I have also needed to receive a massage at least once a week, to help me relieve the back and neck pains. In spite of this situations I am convinced to finish what I started, and I am trying to organize my time the best I can, to be able to finish with the last classes at Full Sail and finish to write my thesis. I am looking foward for my two weeks' vacation in December so I have some time to rest and relax.

kswmccleary dijo...

I also hear and feel your pain two weeks ago I missed two days of school (monday and wednesday) after having a sour throat the entire week before. Now it has been four weeks since I started this junk and I am sick again with the same stuff, except this time I have a fever of 103. I have also been to the doctor twice, and they just keep putting my on medication that so far is doing nothing. I again missed two days of school this week (Thursday and Friday). Stress can really wear and tear on your body. I just watched a show that was on the Doctors this week (on Tuesday), they discussed stress and your heart rate. The expert that was called in explained that when you are stressed your heart rhythm is erratic and jagged, but when you are calm and relaxed you have a consistent relaxed heart rhythm. She suggested placing a hand on your heart, breath in and out slowly, and think of something or someone that makes you happy. It is a good exercise and it only takes a few seconds. I would recommend completing this exercise between classes. I know there seems to be no time during the day (believe me I know I actually only have 20 mins. of plan time each day and I travel between two schools) but take a few second to do this and who knows maybe you will feel better.
Another trick I learned from a veteran teacher this week that I am going to try in my own classroom starting next week is onion!! What? Yes she swears and emailed us a historical story about when the flu was killing thousands of people and one farm was not affected by the flu. The mother said that she had placed an onion in each room of the house. A visiting doctor tested the onion to find the onion carried the flu virus, but the family was not sick. The onion absorbed the bad virus and kept the family healthy. Myth or not the teacher said she used it last year in her office and no one got sick.

McGraw, J. (2009). The doctors [Television series].[ With Dr. Drew, Dr. Masterson, Dr. Sears, Dr. Stork]. Los Angelas, California:Stage 29 LLC.

Ok- Claudio's blog is in Spanish that was kinda difficult to post to.

Week 3 Ron Smith Interview Interactive Q&A

1.The academy focuses on Careers.

2. The academy’s ideal goal for the students is to work in the entertainment industry as well as attend college.

3.What media do most students at the academy enjoy most? Animation

4. How does Ron Smith engage his students in their own learning? The use of technology, his class is his laboratory, anything that he must do to grab the students attention

5. What technology are most teacher stuck on? PowerPoint

6. Why is Ron Smith not allowing his students to use PowerPoint? PowerPoint is too simple and does not require much thought or learning (most students already know how to do this)

7. There a few new hot button technologies that are being used at the academy and they include: scratch, sketch-up, and blender.

8. Ron Smith mentioned that each of these programs cost nothing.

9. Trends in education that are just beginning include all programs going online.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 2 Podcasts

Through the process of looking for educational podcasts, I rediscovered a Ning community that I have been a part of for months. There are so many great resources on this Ning site for Art Educators, everything from lesson plans to discussions about school issues. If you teach art you have to check out this site!!!

So far, my favorite resources are the videos of lesson plans or the videos created to go with lessons. The one listed below is a Matisse video that was created for third graders as an introduction to who Matisse was and what type of art he created. I think this video was a great way to get the students interested the artists that they know nothing about, or for some of them care nothing about. I find in my own elementary classroom that the students tend to ignore my lessons and just want to skip to the doing portion. So, this video has inspired me to create videos of my own for my elementary classes to get them engaged before I even speak of the artist. I also feel if I put it on the TV they become more aware and hopefully will pay more attention to what I am trying to teach them, not just the process of creating.

Week 2 Reading

In Chapter Four of Convergence Culture, the reader finds the epitome of convergence with the Star Wars fans. The book stated that fans had previously created films about Star Wars, but no one was aware of them until the Internet made accessing others materials easier. The Internet woke a crazed giant of fan creators. I do like how the creators of Star Wars embraced this and ran with it, allowing their fans to have contests and create videos. They could have gone the other way and not allowed this. On the other hand, I do see how the Internet has made problems for creators. The Internet has allowed for unlimited access to creations that many people rip off or use the information in a way that does not follow the copyright laws. I believe this is a really fine line between creation and copying, and I am still unsure as to what side I sympathize with. I do think that the Star Wars fans creations helped promote the movies. Sometimes, when creators don't allow advertisements created by fans I feel they are doing themselves a disfavor. It is also encouraging that amateur film makers and the such can be noticed by their work on the Internet. It gives the little guys hope of one reaching the same heights as others who have grown up creating or have had other advantages along the way of life.
Visit one of the websites mentioned in Chapter 4:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week 2 Comment

EDM613 (Week 2) Motivations for Media

Picture 3

From time to time I have to ask myself, what is the motivation behind the addiction that some have for media (ie: video games, television, mp3 players etc.) I ask this because when you think about the average routine of the working man/woman -
they work their 8 hour job, and when they get home they are more than likely to use some form of media in the evening. Whether they are watching the local or world news, browsing the internet, watching movies etc., they have some motivation to do so. Imagine what our world would look like if the majority of the world spent time reading, out door activities or educating themselves instead of watching their favorite tv series’, playing xbox or researching celebrities.

My personal solution – if you are interacting with some form of media in your spare time, try researching/interacting with something educational or inspirational. Lately I have vowed to myself that if I am watching television it has to be an educational learning experience. I have been watching the Discovery Channel and absolutely am intrigued by what I have been learning about God’s creation in the deep blue sea. There have been more discoveries found miles below sea level, that are unique and very interesting. has done a great job giving info on the

Planet Earth series. Check out the link and inspire yourself…

Discovery Channel Online. Retrieved on October 9, 2009, from

Katarina McCleary
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

My motivation for using media (mainly Tv and internet) after my workday comes in two parts. First, I watch Tv for entertainment. At the end of my day, I like to unwind,so my motivation is relaxation. I like to indulge in comedy and or drama. I feel I don’t have to think, I can just watch, and at the end of the day that is what I need! Secondly, I am usually on the Internet for necessity. My motivation for being on the Internet is an A, and to finish my masters. Which, I guess you could call that educational. Saying all of this doesn’t mean that I never watch educational Tv, sometimes I enjoy it, but for me I have to be entertained.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week 2 Star Artist

One of the best programs I have set up for my elementary students (if not the best) is that each month I choose about ten students for STAR ARTIST. I choose ten pieces that the students took their time, followed directions, behaved in class, and just did extremely well on. These pieces of artwork are displayed each month at a local bank, the students receive a pencil, and their name goes on a list displayed in my room and in the hallway!!! The students absolutely love it!! It is really easy and inexpensive for me. I believe I spend a dollar a month on pencils, because I try to buy in bulk.
The bank employees are really great as well, they even bring the artwork back to the school, and pick up the next set of artwork. Each elementary school in the area is invited to participate
The parents also really like being able to take their students to the bank to look at their artwork!!! We get lots of compliments for community members as well. It is a great program all around.

This Ning website has a discussion forum on rewards for students in art. I found it interesting and posted the information from this blog as an answer to the behavior question.

Week 2 Student Behavior

The first few weeks of school I began having problems with my elementary students during clean-up time (last 5 minutes of class). So I began brainstorming about what I could do to control the chaos in my room.

I also probably need to explain that I teach two classes of each grade K-4. I see each class once a week for 50 minutes. So I feel some of my problems at the very beginning of school was that by the time the students came back to my class the following week they had forgotten all the rules.

So now to the answer: I made a clean-up song that the students could groove to. They can chant along with the song, but as soon as the song is over they are expected to sit in their seat, put their head down, and there is so to be absolutely no talking.

Does it work? So far! The students really love the beat of the music!! Most of the students dance around while singing and cleaning up. It is effective in lessing the chaos. The students also make it a race to see if they can clean up by the end of the song, which was the entire point! I now do not have very much trouble at all with talking during clean up! They sing and then get quiet at the end of the song. Ahh, the power of music!! (and technology)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 1 More Thesis Information

I am using a social network to answer the problem of unengaged learners. I am still working on the final wording of my thesis statement, since I got feedback for Laura that I needed to change it. Anyway, I have chosen Ning as my Social Networking platform for my media project that will go with my thesis. My thoughts are that I will upload all information that I would normally give to my students in class including: a calendar of when assignments are due, all handouts, scanned copies of the reading materials (Ohh, when I wrote that I wonder if I should worry about copyright issues. Maybe it would be better just to make sure I put the reading page numbers in, but if we have already purchased the books for class, and I only allow students currently enrolled in the class to join the Ning, how would that work?), discussion questions, scanned copy of students work (with their permission of course, etc. I am hoping this is enough media and complex enough for my thesis. Any thought on this? I would hate to get started with it, and then it not be approved when it came for me to turn in my project.

Week 1 Comment

Conveying Content
I'm struggling with using new technology and the arts to convey content. I teach in the Loveland Integrated School of the Arts (LISA) and we strive to integrate the arts into the core content areas (science, English, social studies). I'm attending a weeklong workshop/professional development opportunity. It has, so far, been geared primarily to the arts teachers (art, music, theater), but has offered little for the core teachers. I'm frustrated by this and by the fact that so much of what we do with technology and art offers "fun" or relevance, but has no real content connection. Is it enough to make a movie in English class when they write the script?Is this enough of a connection? What are we teaching kids? I'm looking to provide a rigorous classroom experience where students learn to better understand literature and its influence on the world. I'd like to hope I offer some relevance, but I maybe I don't? I try to use "the arts" to accomplish some teaching, but I try to do this in an authentic way and not just an artsy craftsy project here and there. I've seen some interesting things in the past few days, but I don't see how they further the curriculum I am required to use. Digital storytelling? Really cool. Awesome stories. Doesn't have a lot to do with what we are doing in English. As a personal narrative? Maybe. But the time it takes to use the technology and watch the movies is a luxury I don't really have. What to do? I think teachers must make room for fun projects and activities, but I don't think we should just be doing "stuff." Technology is another teaching tool that too often provides a "cool" factor without advancing the content. I could live my whole life without ever seeing another powerpoint presentation. How is having our students make boring powerpoints teaching them anything? We're using technology but not contributing anything to the educational conversation. So, what do teachers do? I don't have an answer, but maybe you do?
posted by amy white at 7:06 pm

kswmccleary said...
Hey Amy I would love to find out about the art workshop you went to. Did you get handouts or a cd with lessons, if so I would like a copy!!!

One suggestion I have is based on a lesson I have done with my art history class. First, we talked about the Japanese and their different writing styles. Next we created a poem in the Diamante style. This is a simple style because my focus was more on the art side than the English but you could do a more complicated poem style. Then the students had to illustrate their poems. I believe we used watercolor and pencil for these. Just a thought. Maybe you could have the students illustrations match up with another poem style. If you choose for them to write in another style, possibly you could the Diamante style to have the students illustrate the poem that they wrote.

October 4, 2009 7:42 AM

What I Know

This video goes over much of the information, tools, software, and organization that I have used within this program. I would like to learn more about Photoshop and creating websites, as the information we learned in month five was great, but it was limited due to time. I would like to update the look of my blog by creating my own website to blog in.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Week 1 Reading

Introduction Reading:
Convergence means different things to different time periods and peoples. The basic definition of convergence is where the old and the new come together, and different companies and ideas come together as well to form a new idea all together. In the convergence culture, the user or viewer is just if not more important than the creators and the users become the creators themselves. Some people feel that this convergence switch happens in people not necessarily in companies or media, and I would have to agree. The change starts with ideas from individuals and then spreads like wild fire to companies and media. Old media predicted a new culture of combined media that works together to improve and build upon existing media. One device was expected to do everything. Now, when new media looks forward it tends to have a doom and gloom outlook, where the new media takes over and pushes out the older media completely. When we look back over the past few years that is not exactly what happened. Companies that did not consider using different avenues of media are now providing the public with information in multiple ways. The old media ideas did not come to pass either. There is no one device that does everything (although the IPhone is getting close). Jenkins quotes a Cheskin Research report from 2002, that states each different section of your life requires different things from you, you may use the same device to access the information, but you will be accessing different media for different areas of your life.

One interesting fact from the Introduction stuck out in my mind. Jenkins states that technology is changing so rapidly that is very difficult to write about what is going on right now, because it will change tomorrow. That is so true!! Everyday there are new technologies available and it is hard for everyone to keep up. The technologies you have right now, will be old and new models will come out in two to four months. This exact thing happened to me when I got the IPhone, not more than four months later (I didn’t get the IPhone when it first came out) the new IPhone S was out. I think this is one reason school don’t keep up with technology. Everything becomes old so quickly that some school do not even try to keep up with technology, which is a travesty for our students. A better idea would be for the schools to update technology as they go along. New computers are not needed every year, but each year some new technology could be added. (Smartboards, projectors, writing tablets etc.) Start small and add more each year. This is better than leaving our students without any technology whatsoever. Where are they going to be as they head out into the “real world” where technology abounds?

Another interesting point that was brought up in the Introduction of Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins was that media itself does not disappear, just they way that we access that media. For example the Beatles music did not disappear just because the record players did, the music itself is still being downloaded on ITunes today. I think this is the point of Convergence now, and this is actually what convergence is going in our time.

Chapter 1 Reading:
Collective intelligence is simply the information or intelligence of a group. Each person in the group has a piece of the information, and when all pieces are put together they come together to complete the entire picture or answer. Now, when fans or nonfans of Survivor come together with their little tidbits of leaked information they can spoil the ending of the show. Jenkins calls this “collective intelligence in practice”(Jenkins, 2006). It is amazing what groups can come up together. This reminds me of a unit I teach on Surrealism. The class completes a Surrealism trading game and we discuss the idea of groups of people coming together to make pieces of artworks that they would not have normally been able to create out of their own mind! The students cut out a head, torso, and legs to complete their character, and then they are traded with others in the class to create a completely different character. The students love the process of interacting with others and their characters more times then not come together so well! It’s a great project for everyone involved.

The act of spoiling in Chapter 1 is compared to gaming. Jenkins state that the act of spoiling is a game to the spoilers. They are problem solving, being detectives, and beating others. A lot of research could take place for a spoiler and he or she must take what he knows and turn it into answers. I also think that spoiling could compare to gaming in the fact that gamers are always trying to one up each other or be the best, and some people go to any lengths possible to do this (enter cheat codes). I think the cheat codes in a game could be directly compared to the cheat information of the spoilers of Survivor.

Chapter 2 Reading:
The thought that viewers are couch potatoes that will watch just about anything that happens to be on, is a thing of the past. Active watching is what I would call what we do today. The viewer now has many choices as to what is to be watched where it is to be watched and for how long. TV and movie theaters are no longer the only places to find video. Really the Internet is a cheaper place to find video, yes you pay for the Internet (but pretty much everyone already does this) but you do not pay for the cable to watch a show. The user can just look it up on the Internet.

Brand loyalty is faithfulness to a specific brand of product. Love marks goes into a deeper emotional tie (or love) to a product or brand name. At first glance, I would say that my faithfulness to Coke is a brand loyalty. My kitchen is decorated in Coke which is a great example of a Brand extension (plates, silverware, wall hangings, salt and pepper shakers, replicas of past coke bottles). But, if I would be truthful I would say my obsession would be more of a love mark. I have a bit of am emotional attachment to my Coke. I guess you could say I am a little bit addicted to it. I love a good Coke and it never fails to calm me! Now, I am not as bad as I used to be I used to have to have at least one everyday, and now I only allow myself one every couple of days, but I am still faithful to the brand, I am just trying to be healthy as well.

Chapter 3
Transmedia storytelling is telling the story using various medias. The media examples the book gave are movie, tv, novels, comics, games, and rides at amusement parks. The same story is told through all these methods. Each part has to be separate enough where the viewer must not need to see or read the other areas to understand the story. I enjoy transmedia storytelling, for example my favorite right now is the Twilight series. The series started as a book series and moved into movies and many products. You can watch the movie without reading the book or vice versa. Now, the products themselves wouldn’t really make sense on their own. The books have much more detail, but you still get the picture in the films.

In our reading, Casablanca is referred to as the cult classic because it is not consciously created into a cult movie. A cult movie is a movie that is not created around one idea, but many ideas. It must have a complete setting and ideals, so that viewers can feel as if they are part of the movie. It can also create a sense of de ja vu for the viewers, and there is no way they have seen the setting before. I also feel the title of this chapter referred to the unattainable, not really real thing (unicorn)(whether it is a movie, book, etc).

Jenkins, H.(2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aghh the THESIS( Week 1 post)

I thought I would take the first post this month to focus a little bit on my thesis idea. My initial thesis statement was:Twenty-first Century learners are not engaged in their learning. The use of social networks within the classroom would greatly increase student involvement in their own learning. Now, as stated in the first weeks Wimba, I have been asked how I would prove that students are not engaged. This was not my thought at all when I wrote my thesis statement. The purpose of my thesis was to prove that students are more engaged when using technology and specifically social networks, than when they are taught by "old-school" reading, paper tests, etc. So, now I must come up with a way to state this in a problem-solution format. Joe Bustillos suggested starting with the second part of the statement, which is a great idea!! But I still have the problem of putting it into a problem solution format without making it sound as if I am trying to prove something else. I am having no problem proving that students are more engaged when using technology. We have used several great books throughout the program that have provided me with great statistics to back up my thesis statement.

Thesis Statement:
The use of social networks within the classroom would greatly increase student involvement in their own learning.

Any ideas out there?

Photo was downloaded from copyright free site at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ideas come from anywhere and nowhere.

The internet.
I consistently use three internet sources for ideas for lesson plans and activities. The first sight is Incredible Art Department. This site house hundreds of lesson plans for k-12 learners. Most lesson plans have everything prepared for the viewer (materials, GLES, National Standards, objectives, etc). I usually take a prepared lesson and tweak it to meet my needs. Secondly, I use a site called DickBlick. The site is mainly used for art supply ordering, but it also has a section with lesson plans. I really like that the lesson plans contain links to the product needed that send the viewer to the product in the online catalog. Finally, I also use KinderArt. KinderArt houses lesson plans for K-6.
Observing the world.
I also gather ideas from items I see everyday. I could see a pattern or color and it could spark an idea I could use within my classroom. People would also fall within this classroom. I get ideas from conversations and watching people, whether it is from their personal styles or ideas.
I love reading!!! At the elementary level I incorporate many books into my lessons. I have lesson plans that are purely based upon books. Reading books gets the students imagination running. Also, at the high school level I have students illustrate scenes out of their favorite books, or I have also had them illustrate poems that they wrote themselves.
I have crazy elaborate dreams that come from nowhere. Sometimes I wake up with ideas floating in my head.

Websites mentioned:
Incredible Art Department:
Dick Blick

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Aghh, the Iphone (sigh). I love this product!! I just received my phone yesterday and I think it is wonderful. I haven’t had much chance to play with it yet, but I am already hooked.

This list could be endless!! It has an application for almost anything you would want!! The phone has so many functions. My favorite so far are: Itunes, Maps (which I haven’t used yet, but I know I will this summer on road trips) and synch to MobileMe. I love that it synchs to my mac computer. This will be so beneficial for school and keeping up on all my work.

It doesn’t come with a book or instruction guide. I could not figure out how to get my SIM card into the phone. I had to go online and watch a video tutorial on the proper way to eject the SIM card holder. Secondly, it is a little pricey to have a monthly media plan. Other than that I have no other complaints at this point.

Answers to the disadvantages:
The media plan is pricey, but it helps you avoid a huge bill. The IPhone constantly updates, so monthly bills would be huge without the media plan. Instruction guides are available online to view at apple and there are many tutorials available. Many times I view information about my phone online over the use of my paper copy, so that idea works for me.

Art Education Application:
I downloaded a very interesting application last night. The application includes many famous artists, information about those artists, and a quiz over the information. This could come in handy as I am an art teacher. You never know when you might need some extra information or an idea.

Conclusion: I would recommend the Iphone to anyone who has a mac computer and wants to stay connected, no matter where you are at. (I am sure there are advantages for PC users as well- anyone have any comments on PC users?)

P.S. I am having trouble uploading my ical- my email works fine for my mobile me any ideas anyone?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Online School for High School Students

The YouTube video: National Education Report provides interesting information about a new way to use technology for the classroom. In the program, outlined in the above YouTube video, students have online classes,much like college. Students and parents do have the option to go to school 1-2 days a week to meet with teachers in person. As, outlined in the video this type of learning is ideal for students with unordinary schedules or life styles such as singers, athletes, etc.

Student involvement
Students are completely engaged and involved in their learning-they have to be or they do not learn the material. I love this concept of putting the learning back into the students' hands. It makes them responsible for their own learning and places a higher value on their education. When students actually learn the information by doing or being involved it means more and they retain the information.
Parent Involvement
Parents can follow students progress on the internet, and by meeting with the teachers in person on their office days. Parents are a huge part of this program. Parents must motivate, encourage and teach students time management. I also love the involvement of parents in this program. Many times at the public school level parents are not involved in their student's learning and this program is focused on the parent and school as partners. A problem that would arise here is if the parents are not fully committed the students could easily become behind.
Teacher involvement
First, the teacher actually gets to teach in this program. Discipline and other classroom management issues are not a problem with this program, so teachers can focus on teaching and helping their students. Sometimes I know I get bogged down with the paperwork and discipline issues related to education, so this program really interests me!! I am sure there are downsides as well, but another fact of this program is that the teachers work from home 80% of the time, and that is really appealing, especially for raising children.
All in all this program has many positive factors that seem to outweigh the negative ones.

National education report. (2009, April 21). Video posted to

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Easy Photo Editing for Non-editors
Picasa is an easy to use free program that can be downloaded from the internet. The program allows the user to alter photos in basic ways. Options include:
Color photos can be changed to sepia or black and white
Tint can be applied to the photo with various colors
Photos can also be adjusted to have clear areas and fuzzy areas as well as blackened edges
Photo saturation can be changed
Photos can be cropped
Red eye can be fixed
Text can be added
Photo can be sharpened

I have my students use this site at school. It is a really easy way to allow them to use the computer to alter photos. It takes less knowledge than PhotoShop to use, but also has many limitations. Items can only be altered to a certain extent, but works for computers that do not have PhotoShop available. This program is one touch altering, but you can only alter photos from a chosen list of options.

*Note: Brandi Martin mentioned in Wimba class today that there is Photoshop program that works with Picasa- I would be really interested to see what other options this gives the editor.

Martin, B. (2009, April 21). [Wimba Session discussion]:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Motivating Students

As the end of school approaches, it becomes extremely important to motivate yourself and your students. Especially after MAP Testing it seems that many students check out for the year, yet we still have four weeks of school to go. How do we motivate our students to continue learning right through to the very last day of school?
The above YouTube video titled Just for Teachers: Motivating Your Students Through a Supportive Environment houses five ways to motivate yourself and students.
First, be excited about your material and your area!!! When you are excited it rubs off on the students. They will not always love the content or assignments, but many times they can get on board when the teacher is excited. Secondly, teachers must always be respectful. We expect students to respect us, so we must expect the same thing of ourselves. Next, effective teachers use humor. Now, I agree with this to a certain extent, humor can be a teaching tool in many classrooms, but I also feel some classrooms can not handle humor. I believe the teacher must evaluate each class and decide whether or not to use humor as a motivator. Clear expectations are another must have in the classroom. Students do not respond well to unclear expectations. Students will become defensive about grades and behavior issues if the teacher does not have clear expectations. I learned this the hard way my first year of teaching. A teacher must explain clearly what is expected and stick to those expectations throughout the year. I now use rubrics that specifically line out the expectations of each assignment. This has cut down on much defensiveness from students and parents. Finally, teachers should focus on learning, not just grades and teaching to tests. If students develop the love of learning (not love of getting A's- this doesn't hurt either) early they will most likely carry that with them as they enter what I like to call the "real world." If students just learned the information to get by, most likely this is a pattern they will keep as well. Don't we want our students to succeed in life? So, we need to instill our passion for learning in them.
I also have a few pointers for motivation as the school year nears its end.
1. Allow for time off. It is ok to take a day off here an there to give the students and yourself a break. Add in a fun activity that goes with the lesson. I usually allow the students to play pictionary as a group, because I teach art.
2. Ignore Complainers. Complainers bring other down with them. Be upbeat yourself and voice your enthusiasm, and most likely the complainers (whether students or other teachers) will find someone else to complain to.
3. Keep your area nice and tidy. Ok- this may be just for me, but I feel better about my work and myself when me work area is clean. Do some spring cleaning. Get rid of things that are just taking up space and gathering dust literally. You would be surprised what this can do for your spirit.

Dubguy1988. (2008, December 5). Just for Teachers: Motivating Your Students Through a Supportive Environment. Video retrieved from the YouTube website:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cartoon Creator

A site that I have recently found, allows students to create electronic comics that can be printed out. The first step is to type a name and author for the cartoon. Next, the creator chooses 1-6 comic boxes. To start creating the comic a background is chosen from a list of eight backgrounds, which range from blank backgrounds to cityscapes. Next, a character must be chosen from the list of seventeen characters. Humans and animals are included in the character list. Next, captions can be added in two ways. First, there is a caption tab that can be typed in, and it will appear under the comic when printed. Secondly, there are caption bubbles that can be added so it seems your characters are speaking. There are some pre-typed captions available as well. Props can also be added to the cartoons. There are many to choose from, but some of my favorites include: trees, castles and clouds.

This site does have some limitations. First, the characters are limited. Initially, I wanted my students to create the same cartoons that they drew on a comic strip earlier in the week, but that was not possible with the character limitations. Secondly, the cartoons print small on the paper, so there is not mush room for captions. Too much writing would not be readable. Next, the cartoons only print in black and white ( I had my students color theirs after they printed them). Finally, the cartoons can not be saved. They must be printed or the creator has the option to start over, so time management is important here.

I would recommend this site to use within the classroom!!!


Cartoon Creator Website:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Classroom Management isn't what it used to be.

What can technology do for your classroom management?


Technology can help you get organized. Technology can be used to help in planning lessons, keeping grades, creating inventory lists, and creating rubrics. Being organized is a must for a teacher. When we are disorganized our students are also disorganized. We must model what we want our students to be and do in our classrooms.


Seven Simple Secrets states that one key to an effective teacher is planning and over planning (Breaux, p. 2, 2006). A variety of software can be used to create lesson plans. The internet can also be used to search for lesson ideas. Computers can also be used for enrichment. It is sometimes hard to create enrichment for specific projects, the internet can help solve this problem. Generic research questions can be created in a worksheet format and could be used for any topic area.


Technology can also be useful for discipline. Primarily technology can be used to take a proactive approach to discipline. The proactive approach is the first step of discipline as stated in the book Seven Simple Secrets (Breaux, p. 36, 2006). Secondly, technology can be used to create lists or posters of the rules and procedures that should be in place in every teachers’classroom. Maybe this process could be a class activity. Each student could be given a specific topic and come up with the procedures that he or she feels need to be in place for the topic area. They could be printed out and discussed by the group before the final copy was approved for printing. Lastly, there are many different software packages available that are used to track discipline. Usually, the teacher enters the discipline in the computer and the principal is able to view the discipline and take further action if necessary.

What problems arise due to technology and how do we fix them?

There are a few new problems that arise with the use of technology. First, there is a large amount of inappropriate material on the internet. The answer to this is supervision. Filters usually do their job, but students are smart and can maneuver around them, so this leaves supervision. Teachers must walk around the classroom and check on what the students are doing at all times. A second problem comes in the form of electronic devices that can transfer information, these devices can be used by the students to cheat on tests. The answer to this issue is the same as the first issue, supervision. One option is to have students place all bags and purses at the front or back of the room on testing days. The final problem is time. The use of technology can mean more planning time, especially for new teachers. Now, the answer to this problem is to keep on planning. The next time you teach the lesson or skill it will be easier, and less planning will be needed. The answers to the problems that come up with technology can usually be answered by the same methods used for problems within the classroom without technology.

Breaux, A., Whitaker, T. (2006). Seven simple secrets: What the best teachers know and do. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Social Communities

A social community is a site where people can connect with others. Many times social networks have a theme where people with similar ideas can connect and share. I have worked with two social communities throughout my master's program with Full Sail University.
The first social community I have experienced is Facebook. Now, I did have a Facebook page before the start of my master's program, but I have been more active on the network due to my classes. Facebook began as a site for college students. When I first signed up for Facebook a person had to to have a college or university email address. In three short years, Facebook has changed tremendously. Now, any person with an email account can create their own Facebook site. I have thought long and hard about whether it is a good or bad thing that there are no longer restrictions on who can join Facebook. My conclusion is that the lax restrictions are both a good thing and a bad thing. First, I like that now many of my family members, younger and older, are on Facebook. Sometimes this is the only way I communicate with my very busy sister. On the other hand, recently I have discovered it can be a bad thing as well. I had one of my students try to add me on Facebook to her friend list. Now some people might not think this is a bad thing, but I try to keep my personal and professional life separate and I felt it was not appropriate for a junior high student to ask me to be her friend on Facebook. Furthermore, in a staff meeting our principal and superintendent stressed how important it was for us to not have these types of sites, because some teachers were having lawsuits brought against them due to students changing information on their sites and taking their photos off of Facebook and altering them to show precarious situations.
The second social community I have experienced is Ning. When using Ning, the creator chooses everything from the layout to what videos and photos will be posted. The Ning site can be customized from the original layout chosen. Ning members can join in one of two ways. First, members can be invited by other members or the creator of the community. Secondly, they can sign up for the site. When invited, each member created his or her own page that cannot be changed by other members. Videos and photos can be uploaded to the group page or the individual's page. Discussion Forums can be added or posted to by any group member. There is also an event tab where events can be announced. The Ning Community members also have the ability to add links to Google-docs and weblogs. The possibilities are amazing.

Comparing Facebook and Ning
There are advantages and disadvantages to both social communities, personal preferences play a big role in determining which site is best. Facebook offers an easier way of connection as compared to Ning. There are thousands, maybe even millions, of people on Facebook. It is easy to find people that you have lost contact with, by just simple typing in their name. Ning does not offer this feature. Ning's searches are more geared toward content, not people.
Nest, there are many more choices for the creator on Ning as compared to Facebook. Ning has many different layout options and each layout can be customized with new colors and pictures. Facebook does not offer any choice on the layout or colors of your page. Both sites offer applications that can de added to your page. Facebook allows friends to send invites to new applications, which can sometimes cover your how page with invites. Ning does not have invites like Facebook. Finally, both sites offer group pages. Facebook has group links on individual pages and Ning has an individual page for each group you have joined that matches the layout of the group. Both sites are useful in different ways.