Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Post #2

Did You Know

The video Did You Know? brought up many facts that I did not know, but I wasn’t completely surprised by them. The world is changing so fast. Technology is changing every second. Someone is always coming up with new things to “better our lives.” The video brought up the fact that “we are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist; using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems.” In all honesty, that scares me; I can’t even imagine that.

I personally know two mothers who parent in very different ways. My best friend’s mother is what some call old-fashioned. She is an older mom with seven children, her youngest being seven. Her kids have so many restrictions on what technology they can use at what times. All of her many children are great students. They make wonderful grades and are all readers. On the other hand, my cousin, who is a newer mom, her oldest being seven this week, shows a whole new side of parenting. Her son is constantly watching tv, playing Wii, or playing on his very own iPad. I am not criticizing his mother; it is simply the new age of parenting. That seven year old is brilliant (which he always has been - knowing the difference between an orca whale and a killer whale when he was two.) He read more novels in one summer than I have in three years. He even read the King James Version of the Bible twice! I don’t know how much the presence of technology has affected him, because I know that a lot of it comes naturally to him. However, I do believe that it has had some major impact.

Technology is becoming more and more an active part of everyday life. We can’t even hang out with friends without constantly checking our cell phones. Many children nowadays have some sort of access to a computer, smart phone, gaming system, or some sort of technology 24/7. I feel it is our job as teachers and parents to teach children the smart ways to use these “smart” machines. Technology will have an impression on our kids’ lives, and we must decide if it will be for the good or the bad.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman talks about how much in 100 years technology has changed. Mr. Winkle goes throughout a city full of office buildings and finds that all the technology and frustration (haha I liked that! Because technology is often very frustrating) was beginning to make him feel bad. Therefore, being a wise old man, he goes to the hospital. The hospital makes him feel worse! Technology is everywhere! Everywhere except school. Mr. Winkle finds that school is much like it was before his slumber. I really liked the comment that school “went on without interruptions from the outside world.”

However, this video is a little out of date. This video was only made four years ago, and already a lot has changed. While school is pretty much the same, teachers lecturing while students take notes. In the technology aspect, it is much different. In almost every classroom now there is a SMART board and at least one computer, if not many. Just look at EDM 310. Almost everything we do is online, where Dr. Strange can see it instantly while we aren’t even near the campus.

This isn’t happening only at the college level, this is also happening at an elementary level. While babysitting one day, the kids and I were watching the Disney Channel. A ten year old boy was being interviewed about an app HE CREATED. He made an app all by himself, at TEN! I wouldn’t even know how to begin something like that. His app was currently being used in his own school and he was gradually working on it being used nationally. His app was demonstrated on his iPad in his classroom. The teacher could post assignments, the students could submit their assignments (if the teacher chose), and they could take notes. This program reminded me of Sakai at South Alabama; however it was kid-friendly, created by a ten year-old. I would have never imagined this as a kid, much less known how to create it. The world is changing; therefore the people in it are too.

The Importance of Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson discusses many interesting thoughts in The Importance of Creativity. In the beginning he states, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” However, in our school system, and even in life, we are constantly putting pressure on those around us, especially kids to do the “right thing.” We don’t want to be wrong; we always want to be right.

He also talks about being “educated out of creativity.” When he said this I immediately thought of my all time favorite Broadway musical, Wicked. In this musical, my favorite character, Fiyero says, “The trouble with schools is they always try to teach the wrong lesson.” In a way, that is very true. Sir Robinson goes on to tell the story of Gillian Lynne and how if she had been in school in this day and age someone would have given her some pills and told her calm down. However, that wasn’t the case, she was a dancer. I think that is a powerful statement. Constantly more and more children are being medicated for a “condition.” Many of the cases are simply kids being kids. When I was working at Dauphin Way, we had one little girl that was very strong willed and hyper. The teacher came and talked to me about how the mother was having her tested. “That isn’t her problem,” she said, “She is only being a little girl.” I feel as though we give out these medicines too easily.

Sir Ken Robinson goes on to say when children are in school, there may be things he is very good at or enjoys. However, because these things aren’t in the top tier of the hierarchy, they are besmirched. As Sir Robinson says, we are given a great gift of human imagination. We need to use this gift wisely and also teach how to use it wisely. The video ends with Sir Robinson talking about the need to educate the WHOLE being, so that they can face their future. “We can’t see the future, but they will. Our job is to see that they will make something of it.”

PINTERESTing Classroom

Pinterest is a site that I have been using almost since it was created. I absolutely love it! I use it to organize everything. One of the first boards I created was “Teaching Corner,” in which I pinned things for my future classroom, or neat ideas for teaching.

In Four Ways to Use Pinterest in Education, I learned a new way to use Pinterest in my classroom. I never thought about allowing my students to use Pinterest to help with their class projects. It is perfect even for group projects because of the collaboration tool that is available.

From the article The 20 Best Pinterest Boards About Education Technology, I began to follow many new pinners. I chose the following: ‘Vicki Davis’ because she has more than 20 boards dedicated to teaching inspirations; ‘Edudemic’ and ‘Students Like Tech!’ because both of these pinners had a lot of infographics, and I am a huge fan of infographs; ‘Patricia Brown’ had 3 education boards and many other boards I love for my personal life; ‘Twitter Resources, Apps, and Tools’ which has a lot of information about twitter which I could use for EDM 310 and beyond; and ‘Ed Tech Articles’ and ‘Technology’ simply because I liked many of their pins to use in my own future classroom.

I plan to continue using Pinterest for myself and pinning things I want to remember for my future classroom. In addition, I also plan to use these new found ideas in my classroom. I really like the idea of students using Pinterest to work on projects, “break the ice,” display their own artwork, etc. I also like the idea of using Pinterest to organize my classroom and allow the parents to stay up-to-date with what is happening in our classroom and what they need to know or remember.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blog Post #1

About Me

Hi friends! My name is Katelyn Fleming. I was born and raised here in Mobile, Alabama. I attended Cottage Hill Christian Academy for 18 years, and am currently a sophomore at South Alabama pursuing an Elementary Education degree. I am a God loving Christian, raised in a good ol’ large southern family. I only have one sister; however I have many aunts and cousins which I am just as close to, if not closer. I am attending South Alabama mainly because of the location. I couldn’t stand to live far away from my family and miss out on our many parties (my family looks for reasons to have a party, from birthdays to surgeries to “We haven’t seen y’all in about a week!”). I love children and always have enjoyed working with them, which is why I am studying to become a teacher.

I like reading (always looking for new authors, series, or books), watching movies (mostly Disney classics), spending time with my best friend, Annie Hii, crafting (I LOVE crafts!!!) and sleeping (I love my naps). I also have a passion for being behind a camera. Ever since I was little I have loved playing around with a camera. For my sixteenth birthday my family gave me a Nikon D60 and I’ve been attached to it ever since. I especially love to take pictures of my many little cousins. In my opinion, children are the best to photograph because no matter how many poses or smiles we try to force on them, their true feelings will always show instead; therefore, a great picture will always be genuine. I am presently trying to learn to play the ukulele. I have never been musically inclined, but when I found a cheap ukulele online, I just had to get it, but I am finding that my lack of music skills is difficult to overcome. I also enjoy singing (I sound terrible, but I love it nonetheless).

This past summer I worked as a counselor at Dauphin Way Baptist Church’s summer camp program. I loved it so much I continued working throughout the past semester as a floater in their daycare department. I absolutely loved working with the children and getting to watch them grow and learn. I unfortunately had to quit because school was getting put on the back burner a little bit. I walked away from that job with new wisdom and many lessons learned. Aside from the experience, this job reassured me of my career path. I now know without any doubt that teaching is my calling and where God wants me to be.

My Future Classroom

I hope my classroom will be a little different than most students I graduate with, simply because I plan to teach the deaf. When I was younger and finally old enough to attend “Big Church,” I would rarely hear what the pastor was even saying. Instead I would be focused on the interpreter for the deaf section. I would watch that lady the whole time, trying to pick up on words that I could use every day. As I’ve grown, that hasn’t left me. One of my friends actually minored in ASL (American Sign Language) and has been teaching me a little. Since South Alabama doesn’t offer a minor in ASL, I plan to take all of the courses available to me, and work after graduation toward a Master’s degree in deaf education. However, this is something I am still thinking and praying about. I am not positive this is the road I will take, but for now it is a wonderful plan.

Other than ASL, I have a passion (a strange passion, some may say) for math. I have been fairly good at math throughout my many years of schooling. I can still remember the day we learned short division in third grade. My teacher held a competition of who could solve the division problem on the board the fastest. I was among the five to compete against my teacher! Of course she won, because we were all using long division. Amazed, we all took our seats and Mrs. Martin continued to describe how to use short division. I have many moments like that which I remember quite vividly of different techniques my own teachers used to teach us new ideas. I plan to take those memories and inspirations to use in my own classroom. Since I can remember the enjoyment I got out of learning short division through a competition, I plan to use that one day to teach my students.

I want my classroom to be a fun and happy place. I have had a teacher stand on her desk and sing and dance for us. I hope one day I can be as crazy and fun and surprising as she was. I hope that my students will enjoy learning as much as I did. I have been told, and experienced that if the teacher enjoys the subject matter, the kids will too. There are areas (like history and science) which I have hated all my learning days. These are the areas I feel I need to work on personally to figure out how to enjoy myself so that the children will not end up struggling through like I did. Because I am such a “crafty” person, I feel there will be a lot of arts and craft time in my class. English is also important to me because I am a stickler for good grammar. And as I said before I am a math person. I would like to teach 3rd or 4th grades mainly because this is when they get into what I consider “fun math.”

I think I am still stuck in my childhood days of playing school at home. I love a good old-fashioned chalkboard. However, technology is taking over. Don’t get me wrong, I like technology and enjoy playing with the SMART board in my cousin’s classroom. With the way technology changes so fast, I can’t positively say what my classroom will be like or how I will cope without colored chalk. What I do know is that I plan to put everything I have into being the best possible teacher I can be with whatever tools I am given. I want to inspire my students like so many of my teachers did for me.

Randy Pausch and Time Management

Randy Pausch talked about many interesting things in this video. I actually had to watch this clip twice before all of the information fully sunk in. The first thing he talks about is asking “Why am I doing this?” No one ever stops to think, why is this so important that it made its way onto my ‘to do list’? His next question goes hand in hand with this one “Why will I succeed?” This part is somewhat skipped over, but it’s an interesting thought. Not only why do it, but why do you need to do a good job? It’s something that I think everyone needs to figure out, even in the simplest of tasks. Pausch goes on to say it is much more important to do the right things, “It doesn’t matter how well you polish the underside of the banister.” You need to focus on the important things, instead of doing a fabulous job on something that doesn’t even matter. He says it is important to plan each day, each week and each semester. Personally, I am a lists fanatic! I make lists for everything; I wouldn’t be able to function without some sort of checklist for everything that I have to accomplish in the day! I even have a list for going to bed and what I need to do every night. But I never plan out a semester in advance. I have my calendars and syllabuses from my classes but I don’t look at them until the week before usually. This was an interesting concept that I am going to try to work on starting now. Another thing he pointed out was tackling the big tasks first. This is a common sense thought, but rarely put it action. It’s more comfortable to forget this and start off easy, accomplishing the small things. This is another area in which I plan to work on my personal habits.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” I laughed, cried and have tried to put his teachings into practice. I enjoyed it so much and learned so much from this one video. In fact, I watched the lecture again after watching this time management clip. When I first saw it, the idea of “enabling others childhood dreams” really stuck with me and helped along my decision of becoming an elementary teacher. I had planned on buying the book about his Last Lecture, however a few weeks went by and it was out of sight, out of mind. So, thank you, Dr. Strange, for reminding me about Randy Pausch and his book which I have purchased and awaiting its arrival.

Penn State’s Time Management Page

Many of the suggestions made in this article I was happy to find were things I was already doing. In the beginning of this week, I had already made a weekly schedule for myself and have been sticking to it. Some of the topics covered were things I hadn’t thought about and things I plan to include in my future study sessions; for example, keeping an extra notepad next to you while studying to jot down random thoughts in order to focus on the subject at hand. Another area which I am personally working hard on, is saying no. I have a hard time saying no when someone asks me to join them for lunch, help them or just hang out. If I am going to cut my procrastination habit and manage my time better, however, I am going to have to learn to say no. This page made a number of very helpful suggestions which I needed and will learn to implement into my personal life.