Demotivational PD Opportunity!

We were given a quickfire challenge to create a poster or video regarding some sort of tech professional development (PD). The only theme we had to use was that the PD had to be terrible! Desi and I took some elements from our reading and our experiences about how not to conduct PD. Some of our key ideas: big sponsors, out-of-date ideas, and inconvenient timing for teachers. Check out our video here!

We used Go Animate for this project. There were a few constraints in the limitation of how many of Go Animate’s scenes and images you could use for free though. However, the program is really intuitive and fun to use. This is a program I am interested in buying an account for to use in and out of my classroom.


Unclass: To Flip or Not to Flip?

Unclass time was an opportunity to delve deeper into a topic that we wanted to learn more about, outside of our courses’ class times.  I joined other Language Arts teachers as well as foreign language teachers to investigate and discuss a flipped classroom model. While we liked the maximized activity time, in class, with the teacher, we often found ourselves drifting back to home work issues–how and why we give it as teachers. Follow this link to read more about our flipped classroom conversation, thoughts and resources that we have gathered on our wordpress site.

Thanks to my Unclass group for putting this resource together and providing intriguing conversation.

Viewing Failure as an Opportunity to Learn

Today we were given the challenge of creating a lesson idea that incorporates Sadler’s framework for formative assessment (1989) with 21st Century Skills in a quickfire. We also needed to include an aspect of computer-based technology to aid in the formative assessment. I chose a lesson that I use throughout the school year, and adapted it to include more formative assessment and an aspect of computer-based technology for a self-assessment. My challenge will be to encourage very ego-centric, self-image aware and grade-driven 5th Graders that making mistakes encourages learning and won’t affect their report card. Using this lesson as a model will hopefully promote failure and mistake-making throughout the school year in other lessons and activities.

5th Grade Language Arts Content: Writing Process; Editing Experts  

a. Students are broken up into “expert” groups for specific editing marks
(capitals, punctuation, verbs, spelling, extra/missing words,etc.)

b. Students rotate small stacks of writing and edit as a group, color-coded, and signing-off on their editing work on peers’ paper check list. Groups help each other mark correctly during each rotation. Ex: Capitals group may suggest to the punctuation group about how they can improve their marking; Group members may help others mark peers’ papers correctly.

c. Groups identify what areas or “experts” need guidance doing their marking.

d. Individual students also receive feedback on their writing about what they can improve in their writing.

e. Students complete a google form self-assessment based on making mistakes and learning opportunities from those mistakes

More information on elements to incorporate: We discuss intermittently (a break in rotation of papers) about how we can guide the groups or individuals in improving their marking. We might discuss any unknown comments on papers after the class has received their feedback, as a whole class. Students have the opportunity to re-write their work using the feedback. Students also have the opportunity to re-join expert groups or try another expert group in the following Editing Experts session.

All technology aspects, including computer-based: colored pencils, peer-editing forms, and a smartboard to guide the roles of each student, colors and timer for organizing rotation. After the editing process, the students would also fill out a google form about a self-reflection in the “taking risks” while writing/editing. This assessment would not represent any number or grade for them, as to reinforce not distracting their learning, and encourage futher “buy-in” into “failing to learn”, as well as becoming flexible problem-solvers, and responding to peer feedback. It may play a part in their overall grade for the writing activity (is the self-assessment completed-y/n?).

What’s more, considering how  Editing Experts is a routine, I’d hone in on this model to further guide the feeling that failure is okay to promote learning in other areas of our Language Arts class.

Link to self-assessment

5th Grade Editing Experts in action!

Juxtaposing In and Out of School Tensions with Pixlr

We were asked to use the tech tool Pixlr to create a juxtaposition of a tension that exists in school and out of school.

The tension that I have chosen to illustrate was the expectation of completing homework. On one hand, the school in which I work must give homework. In fact, the amount of homework given is considered a product of what our school parents pay for in our private school. Children bring home A LOT of it. However, the other side of the situation is the homework is really unrealistic to complete–or not thought of as necessary to complete once home. In any case, it usually doesn’t get done by any of the teachers’ standards: sometimes tutors complete homework, sometimes homework answers are copied directly off of the internet, or sometimes, it is done but seems of no use to the students once completed.

My proposed images for my tension are below.


As you can see, I didn’t have the chance to represent the tension’s image, uniting the two photos in Pixlr. Pixlr was extremely difficult for me to operate without any guidance. After a lot of play, I had to rely on my neighboring peers to even start my project on Pixlr’s workspace. With what little time I had left to produce something, I still didn’t have an image that communicated this school tension. I think Pixlr is something that I would like to spend some more time on learning because it’s benefits of photo editing are useful for teaching purposes. However, I will need to set aside a chunk of time and make effort in understanding it, as it is not user-friendly.

Is the Internet Changing the Way I Think?

(Post John Brockman Article Presentations)

The internet has become this powerful, multidimensional tool that we all seem to not be able to live without. As many readings suggested, we are constantly connected to it, it shapes our work, our free time, our entertainment, and now, reorganizes our memory. I agree that it is an extension of our memory and an extension of what we have waiting for us, to learn.

I organize tasks differently with the internet. I check and compare my work, emotions, and thoughts with others online. I’m presented with new communities now, that I otherwise wouldn’t be connected to without the internet, like both DiBona and Kosslyn suggest in my readings. So in a sense, the internet changes the way I construct and synthesize ideas. It changes the way I plan projects, organize my life. It helps me determine what matters most and how to best be prepared for situations. With all of this in consideration, I must admit, it does change the way I think, maybe not in the structures of my brain, but in the way I can control my thoughts/plans/arrangements, from the outside.

That’s not to say though, that I shouldn’t not commit ideas to my long term memory. Remembering certain details like favorite movie or song facts, vacation photos, relatives birthdays, etc. matter to me. I don’t want to leave those types of items disconnected from my memory. They make me unique and shape the characteristics that I embody. And for me, those are unique thoughts, unlike DiBona’s point in his article Ephemera and Back Again in the Brockman book (2011). I do agree that unique thoughts should be kept in long term memory, whether it’s located on or off of a browser.

Also reinforced for me now, too, after many articles that have been presented in this book, that in internet is a relatively new and ever-developing entity. I need to continue to choose and synthesize my information incredibly carefully and model the same in my classroom for my students. As the internet grows and evolves, it will become even more necessary to navigate wisely and mold unique thoughts, to be kept on and offline.

Technology Speed Dating

In our technology “speed date” today, I presented Storify.

Here are some points that I presented:

  • Has great work space and search space–intuitive
  • Uses all types of media for building stories
  • Easy to arrange media in the work space and add text to it
  • Nice way to reinforce new literacy strategies with students
  • Publish your stories to share within your class, community
  • Allows students to show their understanding by multiple ways of knowing

Image from Ramblings of a Random Blonde…

Helpful links:

Do’s and don’ts for using storify

Benefits for children socially and emotionally

Great media that needs a little tweeking

National Center on UDL

Today we reviewed what Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is, what it looks like with TPCK, and what it would look like in our classes. We were given the challenge to choose two principles for our individual teaching context and find five tech solutions for each. Here are my fantastic finds! Hope to use all of them sometime soon!

Guideline 2: Provide options for language/mathematics/symbols

  2.1: Clarify vocabulary and symbols; 2.5: Illustrate through multiple media

Top 5 Tools for Guideline 2: Visuwords; Shahi; Tagxedo; Search Cube; WatchKnowLearn

Guideline 3: Provide multiple means of engagment

      8.3: Foster Communication and Collaboration; 8.1 Heighten salience of goals and objectives

Top 5Tools for Guideline 3: Glogster, CoSketch, ePals, Slatebox, teAchnology

James Joyce Abstraction

Today we were asked to create a 20 second video based on a James Joyce short story. Here is our entry. We were only allowed to focus on one, stripped-down element of the story. What do you think our theme was?

The process was really refreshing. I was able to work with two other students, each from 2nd year or 3rd year in MAET and we each contributed something really significant, unintended, really. I, of course, learned new things as the 1st year MAET student, was appreciative of my team, and am looking forward to using this activity (or something like it) with my students in the future!

TPCK Lesson Plan Quickfire + UDL Adjustments

Today we were given a chance to explore a new technology that we have been interested in. I chose Storify because I’ve heard several of my colleagues talking about it. The quickfire challenge is to plan a lesson considering Storify with the Content (C) and Pedagogy (P) of the TPCK model.

First I investigated what Storify could offer my students and what challenges it could pose for my students. Storify gives access to a work space, that students can easily drag and drop researched objects/media into. Searching is fairly easy in terms of choosing which sites you’d like to search from. However, sifting through sites and generating search terms requires more use of the new literacy strategies. I would definitely need to reinforce the new literacy strategies and help guide students in choosing some appropriate content. One worry is that social media can be included in the search and inappropriate content could be seen. Another affordance of Storify is that the students could easily manipulate the workplace and arrange media items in any order and add text to them.

Since I teach ELL elementary students, I would love to use this in reading comprehension of our (American) children’s novels in terms of (C) content. I could use it as a wonderful tool for organizing summaries of our novels, setting the scene for our novels, or collecting vocabulary activities (videos, drawings, definitions, act-it-outs, meaningful “teach me” sentences”, etc.) that the students create for our novels. If I consider just using it as a vocabulary sharing file, students could teach/share/connect to vocabulary words easily with peers in an online community and review for an assessment. It would also provide a differentiated learning opportunity for my emergent readers who struggle to complete vocabulary assignments/homework.

In terms of the (P) pedagogical aspect, I would conduct somewhat of a mini-lesson as an introduction in a whole class, with Storify projected on the SMARTboard. I’d let students prompt me with ideas/vocabulary words that we might need to know more about in our current reading. They could physically select the entries we would add with their hands and model the drag and drop action of using Storify. I’d also take this opportunity to review new literacy strategies in terms of using what’s appropriate to use for search terms or items by modeling think alouds/having more advanced students model think alouds. We’d discuss what types of media to include and why it’s appropriate or helpful for 5th Grade. Once the students were ready to start Storify on their own, I’d give them a word to create a Storify story for and let them choose their own vocabulary word from the novel  to create a story for. Before wrapping up the class, I’d signal for their attention and model how to link their stories to our class website with the help of a couple students in front of the class on the SMARTboard. Once finished, students could then post one or both of their vocabulary word stories onto our class website and begin to connect with their peers stories on the net.

How it fits with the TPCK model: The technology selected (Storify) is meant to create an avenue for students to share their work easily among their peers and create a learning network. They become invested in the sharing and collaborating to better understand our content and bridge new learning to prior learning. It also includes the ability to use multi-media in demonstrating reading comprehension, as the 2009 TPCK article suggests (in relation to the TCK), because students can show understanding in several ways–through composing art, video, definitions, meaningful sentences–all through the drag and drop of a mouse! Once practiced enough, hopefully become a routine that we use throughout the year to learn vocabulary, and as Mishra and Koehler suggest in the 2006 TPCK article, the technology in Storify wouldn’t get in they way of learning the content, or become isolated.

(Questions I still have about Storify: Is there another version for children/settings I can apply to Storify? Could I easily organize Storify stories on my website that my class produces for an entire novel? Would such a website be user friendly for my students?)

Here is a link to my first Storify!


Image from DEANGROOM wordpress

Now we have been asked to examine our TPCK lesson plan against the Universal Design for Learning .

This is how my lesson plan aligns with the UDL: The Engagement principal is covered well because there are choices in the plan that allow for students to fuel their interest and create autonomy (they can choose their own vocabulary stories to build/share). Also, they will want to have nicely done, accurate work because they will share their entries with their peers online so it becomes socially relevant.

The Representation principal is covered well because different perception options are offered in using multi-media to build their stories. Students can include videos, meaningful sentences, definitions, pictures, art, social media comments, etc. –in other words choose auditory/visual options. By adding text to their Storify entries they too, will be able to access background knowledge and connect new learning to it.

Adjustments: I think I should work in some pieces regarding the Action and Expression principal. While I have represented it in my lesson plan above (using alternative ways to show learning and the ability to comment on their peers’s work) I think this plan for my students needs more support in the Executive Function. As I mentioned above, students are going to be sifting through many types of media. I predict that they will become easily distracted or involved with inappropriate representations of our vocabulary words. I think it would be appropriate to utilize think alouds (whole class or individually) to show and exemplify how to monitor and plan accordingly to make the most useful story to share with their peers online in a timely way. It will be up to me to offer appropriate amounts and types of feedback to keep the students focused and using the correct strategies.

ISTE Teacher Standards and Infographics


Here is my very unfinished and first-ever infographic! I used to make it, which is more user-friendly than expected. That’s not to say there isn’t any trouble-shooting that you may have to get comfortable with. However, it should be a super tool to present information to my class and create information as a class or in partner work. I think in general, after much procedure-practice within my classroom, I would like to keep this as a solid tool that my students could revert to complete assignments about their reading comprehension activities.

My infographic is designed to look like some sort of a Candy Land game board that teachers beginning their path creating an PLN can follow and jump around on. The pictures represent some of the verbs in the Teachers’ skills and standards from ISTE, and ideally, I’d like to add other snippets of ideas that build off of the standards, as well as change the text to be a little reader-friendly.