Friday, November 25, 2011

Reflecting... again

It is the time of year when we all sit back, bellies full of turkey, tryptophan glazing over our eyes, and reflect on the last year. It is a time to spend with family and friends, laughing and eating. Instead I sit here reflecting on a week's worth of online coursework...
I found that the workload this past week was not too difficult, just terribly time consuming. It was challenging to find the right balance between my job, family, coursework, and Thanksgiving. Balancing my full plate is something I have always struggled with. My class being completely online for the past 2 weeks has made that task nearly impossible. Having said that, I did greatly enjoy creating the internet workshop for my students and reading about everyone else's projects. Everyone approached the project from different angles and used different media and Web2.0 tools. I love the idea of creating your own search engine and look forward to exploring the possibilities it has to offer. It would have been nice to see everyone present their projects that they put so much effort into. There is a tremendous sense of pride in presenting a project you created to your colleagues and friends. I learn so much from my peers in this class. They are fantastic teachers and I am truly honored to sit in class with them each week. Even though we have been in constant contact electronically this week, I feel as though I have missed out on valuable learning that would have taken place in our classroom.
When reading Alan November's (2010) book I found his Critical Planning Questions on page 33 intriguing, in particular "Do we have the capacity to support teachers after the technology is installed?" I often find that new technologies are implemented in schools yet never supported. How can we expect teachers to use technology effectively without teaching them first how to use these tools. New technology can be overwhelming to veteran teachers and new teachers alike. If schools do not provide professional development teachers will either use the technology incorrectly (possibly damaging it) or not at all.
Technology is a powerful tool for educating todays students. They live in a virtual world and we need to prepare them for their digital future. How can we be expected to do so if no one teaches us?

November, A.  (2010). Empowering Students with Technology. California: Corwin SAGVE Ltd.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hippo and the Potamus

At bedtime tonight, Conor decided that he wanted to read to me for a change. He picked up an alphabet book, this one happened to be all about the letter H. He held up the cover for me to see (there was a picture of the letter H and a hippo) and announced that this book was called "The Hippo and the Potamus"
This bedtime story is for you buddy...
It was a long walk to the watering hole. The hot African sun beat down on Hippo's tough gray hide, slowing his short stride to almost a crawl. Hippo was relieved when he reached the watering hole and found it deserted. "How strange that on such a hot day I am the only one here." thought Hippo. He walked to the edge and slowly inched himself forward into the chilly water. Hippo waded deeper into the watering hole and as he walked he scraped up cool mud from the bottom and splashed it up onto his back. Hippo was just starting to relax when he heard loud, thumping footsteps coming towards the watering hole. The footsteps were so distinct, that Hippo did not need to look up to know that Potamus had found his way to the cool water as well. Potamus, Hippo's brother, was not at all gracefull. In fact, Potamus was what you would call a klutz. Hippo had always been embarrassed of his brother, clumsily bumping into other animals wherever he went. So he pretended that he didn't see him on the shore.
As Hippo relaxed, mud-covered in his private watering hole, Potamus donned his swimming cap, goggles, and arm floaties. He climbed to the top of the highest acacia tree, and before Hippo could open his mouth to protest, Potamus cannonballed down into Hippo's refuge. Water splashed everywhere. Mud flew up into the nearby trees. If you remember, I mentioned that Potamus was not a graceful fellow. You see, even though he intended to do a cannonball, Potamus ended up doing the largest and loudest bellyflop in all of Africa. When the waves of cool water and mud finally stopped, the only things left in the watering hole were Hippo and Potamus. Almost all traces of wetness were gone, and only the two brothers remained. Potamus had landed on top of Hippo, whose back was still covered in cool, wet mud. Without the rest of the water from the watering hole the mud on Hippo's back began to harden, cementing Hippo and Potamus together. Hippo was so embarrassed. He tried to shake his brother off, but it was no use. The brother's climbed out of the watering hole in search of more water to moisten the mud and separate themselves. Hippo and Potamus searched for days with the hot sun beating down on them relentlessly. Finally on the third day they reached another watering hole, this one not as private as the last. Zebra, Giraffe, Monkey, and Lion were there cooling off and bathing in the water. They were surprised to see the two brothers stuck together because everyone knew how embarrassed Hippo was of Potamus. Hippo and Potamus went straight into the water hoping it would moisten the mud and free them. Unfortunately after days of baking in the sun the mud refused to let go. Hippo was upset and began splashing about wildly. The other animals teased Hippo and Potamus, calling them "Hippopotamus!"
.... to be continued
Goodnight buddy, sweet dreams

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Since this blog was created for class... here is my reflection on the week's work:
Our discussion of the three instructional models (internet workshop, internet inquiry, and internet project) was very helpful in clarifying the differences between the three. All are similar yet different and distinct in their own way. If I were still working with older students I would love to work on an internet inquiry with them. I like the idea of giving students the opportunity to generate their own questions and the freedom to independently explore them on the internet. An internet project is an exciting option for my second grade class. I have a friend who teaches second grade in Vermont. The options for collaboration between our classes through internet-based multimedia are endless! After the holidays I would like to start a pen-pal glog program (if she has the computer access necessary to participate at her school). The instructional model that best suits my needs at this time is an internet workshop. I plan on having my students research a topic, using sites provided to them, to collaborate with their peers and complete a graphic organizer demonstrating their understanding of the topic. I'm using my class wikipage to host the lesson, a prezi presentation (thanks Leon!) to introduce terminology to students, and a glog to showcase the videos and sites I want them to visit. I'm excited to complete the project and show it to my students!
Once again our discussion in class left me feeling inadequately prepared to teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in their future. The National Educational Technology Plan (2010) was a very interesting document to read through. The section Andrea, Tricky, and I read discussed the need for more technology training for pre-service teachers. Based upon my college experiences I can say that there definitely needs to be more instruction in lesson planning and technology. With today's technology changing by the minute it is important now more than ever that teachers stay current. Teachers need to know how to implement new technology into their classroom. They need to have the knowledge to be able to do more than just check their email. How can we prepare our students for the future if we are still working with the tools of the past?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Smocus Smocus?

You are probably wondering about the meaning of the obscure title... I would like to thank my 3 1/2 year old son Conor for attempting to cast a spell on me while I was creating this blog. "Smocus Smocus Mommy! I turn you into a frog!" My little magician was dressed as a fireman and was using his fire hose as his magic wand...