Thursday, April 28, 2011

Final Report on PLN

To be honest, when I first learned that we were assigned to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN), I was not very interested. I liked having iGoogle as my homepage and all of my frequently used websites saved under my Favorites tab. However, as I started creating mine I began to see just how useful and convenient it truly is. I used Symbaloo to create mine, and it was very user friendly. I would recommend it to anyone, any age! I absolutely love my PLN, and it is now my new homepage!

Check out my PLN by clicking here!


Project 15 Book Trailer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Special Assignment - Metaphors

1. Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head," why do you think you understood the metaphor, and why do you think that others in the class missed the metaphor?
At first, I didn't get it. However, when I got to the part where Tom Johnson says "Let me finish. Schools in low-income areas often have students who come in with a mentality that pencils are to be used for entertainment," I knew something wasn't right.. I knew he wasn't talking about "pencils." I finished reading the entire post, thought about all the other videos, blog posts/assignments and projects we were assigned and how they were all pro-technology and figured that Tom Johnson was, in deed, not referring to pencils, but to computers/technology. My guess for the students that did not catch the metaphor is that they simply took it too literally or that they just weren't thinking they would be assigned to read a post that was nothing but a whole metaphor.  

2. What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them?
Some of the metaphors I have encountered are: Let's get to the bottom of it; her comment was difficult to swallow; she got my blood boiling; she's going to steal the spotlight; he's the sunshine of my life; he was showered with presents; break a leg; and lastly, I would kill to have that car.

3. What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?
I definitely suggest spending a full day reviewing metaphors, giving a complete and thorough lesson with plenty of examples (depending on grade level, of course). In addition to the lesson, teachers could assign students to keep a log of metaphors they encounter, like we were asked to do. Then, they could share them in class and explain the underlying meaning of the metaphor to show their understanding. Also, teachers could encourage the use of them or even make it a requirement for each student to use at least one a day in class.

4. Why do we use metaphors?
In my opinion, we use metaphors as a way of communicating. They are like a shortcut to instant understanding. Metaphors make complex ideas simple and familiar to the listener because they compare the unknown to something the listener already knows. They can make speaking and writing more interesting and help us think about things differently. 


Friday, April 22, 2011

C4T 4

For C4T 4, I was assiged to Ms. Lisa Thumann. Ms. Thumann is the Senior Specialist in Technology Education with the Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She works with educators to improve teaching and learning using technology.

Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education
Post 1

In Ms. Thumann's first post, she talked about how she was invited to present at the inaugural Tech Forum in Boston. Just over 200 educators gathered at the Burlington, MA Marriott to learn together. Ms. Thumann and several other presenters facilitated the “Ultimate Web 2.0 Smackdown” and were joined by several educators as they spent no more than 3 minutes demonstrating numerous technological tools that could be used by educators. She shared several websites on her blog, which you can view here.

My Response:

Hi Ms. Thumann,
My name is Samantha, and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I admire your position with the Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education. With the rapidly advancing technology of today’s world, teachers need to be familiar and educated with the latest technology in order to fully meet the needs of their students. Congratulations on being asked to present at the Tech Forum. What an honor! Thank you for sharing those links, they are going to be very helpful to me when I have a classroom of my own. Dr. Strange has had us use a few of them in his class, and I really enjoyed getting familiar with them. I am amazed at the abundance of resources that are at our fingertips. Thanks again for sharing.

Post 2

In the second post I commented on from Ms. Thumann's blog, she shared some Everyday Math apps that were available for FREE download during April 13-16, 2011 for teachers, parents and students that have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. To see a list of the Everyday Math apps Ms. Thumann shared, click here.

My Response:

Hi Ms. Thumann,
It's me again, Samantha from Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I don't have an ipod or an iphone, but I do have a smart phone that I'm able to download apps on. I wonder if those are available for download on my phone; I will have to look into it. I love how companies that come out with all of this fun technology (apple and the ipad/ipod touch, for example) are also making them educational! Through Dr. Strange's class, I have seen numerous teachers incorporate this kind of technology into their classrooms. I wonder how many of them are using apps like the ones you shared above? I definitely want an ipad to try out things like this and see how they could be beneficial in my future classroom. Thank you for sharing!

Blog Assignment 13


ALEX, also known as the Alabama Learning Exchange, is a project of the Department of Education. It was designed to index and share a variety of educational materials and information. ALEX is a communal database of lesson plans created and shared by educators. The website is searchable by subject area as well as areas such as technology, education and information literacy. The ALEX website offers personal workspaces, podcast submissions, bookmarks, literacy tips and activities, web links, professional learning etc. The Alabama Learning Exchange website is an extremely helpful resource for teachers. They can find lesson plans, activities, and podcasts to incorporate in their teaching. It can even serve as a good resource for future teachers; I have used it for projects in prior semesters. I highly recommend getting familiar with it now!  


ACCESS, also known as Alabama Connecting Classroom, Education and Students Statewide, is a product of the State of Alabama. Their vision is to provide equal access to high quality instruction to improve student achievement through distance learning. ACCESS is striving to allow students, no matter where they are, to have access to higher learning and classes that aren't available where they live. For example, if a student was excelling in their classes in high school and advanced classes were not available, ACCESS would allow them different courses to enhance and challenge their learning. I think this program is great; it gives the students without the funding and upper level classes the opportunities to be challenged that they otherwise wouldn't have. 

Both ALEX and ACCESS are fantastic sites. Both programs are based on students' needs and education. 

C4K 7, 8, 9 & 10

C4K 7
For C4K 7, we were to view Mr. McClung's class blog. I was assigned to watch the video of Josh putting in some work with his yo-yo at the school's talent show, which you can view here (2nd video from the top). He was very good!

My Response:
Hi! My name is Samantha, and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to watch the Talent Show: Josh. That is definitely some talent, Josh! I’m curious to know how long it took you to learn how to do all of that! I have never been any good with a yo-yo. How long have you been doing it? You are quite the entertainer! Keep it up! I hope to see more videos of you yo-yo’ing in the near future!

C4K 8
For C4K 8, I was assigned to a little girl named Amelia. She is a 6/7 year student in Ms. Thompson's Room 13 class at a school in Adelaide Australia. In Amelia's most recent blog post she talked about her new house. She says that her and her parents just moved into it four weeks ago and that she's never moved before. She misses her old house, but her new one is much bigger; it has a three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a spiral staircase and a tennis court.

My Response:
Hi Amelia! My name is Samantha, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States. I enjoyed reading your post about your new house; it sounds very nice! I would love to have a house with a tennis court and spiral stairs. I do not like moving! We just moved last year, and it has taken forever to settle in. I hope you adjust to your new house soon! I know how hard it can be. Good luck and thanks for sharing! I hope to read an update on your new house later.

C4K 9
Mrs. Yollis' class blog was very interesting. She had lots of tutorial videos and how-to's, some of which were very helpful to me and my blogging. Although her blog wasn't as detailed and organized as Mr. McClung's, I still enjoyed researching it. She did not have her classroom rules, things students need and all of that on there. It was a little difficult to navigate around because there was so much stuff, but I still liked it. I really like how into writing and grammar Mrs. Yollis is. I think by her making the students blog and comment, she is teaching them grammar and writing in a fun and enjoyable way, a way that the students will want to participate. I also really like how she declared April to be Family Blogging Month. This is a fantastic idea and way for the students' parents and family to see what the students are learning in the classroom. Overall, I think it's a great classroom blog, age appropriate and a great way for her students to communicate and learn!

My Response:
Dear Mrs. Yollis and Students,
My name is Samantha Fleming, and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. First and foremost, I am thankful to Dr. Strange for assigning us to your class blog. Throughout this semester with Dr. Strange, I have often wondered how I would incorporate technology into an elementary classroom. At the start of the semester, I was convinced it was impossible. However, teachers like you have proved me wrong. Looking at your blog, I am amazed at the ways you have incorporated technology into your 3rd grade classroom. It is such an inspiration to see teachers like you! Your passion for teaching definitely shows in your blog.

Also, I love your idea of Family Blogging Month! Where did you come up with this idea? I think a parent’s involvement in their child’s education is incredibly necessary and important so I love the creativity of Family Blogging Month. I like how you urge the parents to leave quality comments and how other students respond to them.

I will be following your class blog and hope to see more quality posts and tutorials. I have referred to your “Learn HTML” post several times. Feel free to visit my blog at I hope everyone has a wonderful day; thanks for sharing!

C4K 10
For C4K 10, I was assigned to Grace in Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade class. In the post I chose to comment on, Grace talked about a day she spend baking with her mom. She shared several pictres of her baking, the recipe and the finished product. It looked like she had a lot of fun that day! See for yourself by clicking here.

My Response:
Dear Grace,
My name is Samantha, and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I love to bake as well! Your cookies look like they turned out amazing. Did they taste good? I have never made those before, but I would like to try them. My husband loves sweets so I'm sure he would really enjoy them. I really like all the pictures you shared. It looks like you had a great time baking with your mom. Do you and your mom bake often? Thank you for sharing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blog Assignment 12

Blog Assignment:
Read Nick Sauers blog post Teachers v. Technology. What are your thoughts? Whose side of the spectrum are you on, Nick Sauers' or Tim Walker's? Why?

My Reaction:
My initial reaction was to immediately side with Tim Walker. With all this pushing of technology into the educational system and classrooms, I sometimes feel like the need for teachers is slowly diminishing. However, Nick Sauers made some very valid points in technology's defense. He states "It is certainly possible that online courses could eventually eliminate some teaching positions, but even in those cases, there is still a teacher. In actuality, a school may replace a face-to-face teacher with an online teacher." I never looked at it from this point. I still believe though that children need to have that face-to-face interaction and teaching. I think it is extremely important for instruction and interaction. I believe student's need to have that outlet for their growth and maturity. However, I do not agree with Sauers' statement that "On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction." According to him, that was based on information from a report for the Department of Education, but I do not for one second believe that to be true. I have personally taken online classes and struggled to stay afloat because you're pretty much teaching yourself. I'm not saying it isn't possible and won't work, I'm just not at all alright with the idea of schools converting to online classes.


Progress Report on Final Project

Progress Report

My final project is coming along nicely. I have picked a partner, we have decided on our topic, and we have already started working on our script. We don't want to say what our topic is, we want it to be a surprise for Dr. Strange and the rest of the EDM310 students. Hopefully it will be helpful to future EDM310 students!  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Assignment - Mr. McClung's World

1. What do you know (or have you found out) about Mr. McClung that is reflected in the way he has constructed his class blog?

Mr. McClung seems like a very neat and organized teacher. His blog makes him come across like he is a dedicated, hands-on, eager to teach kind of teacher. His enthusiasm and passion really shines through in his blog and each of his posts.
2. Comment on what you would say about Mr. McClung as an educator.

It seems as though Mr. McClung has found a very effective method of teaching. He calls upon his "class" and they respond as a whole, as a team in a sense. He is sure to keep them involved and interested in his teaching, which is huge in order for students to succeed. This goes hand-in-hand with his enthusiasm and dedication; it makes for a very welcoming environment where students will want to learn and be a part of the class.

3. I asked above that you read Mr. McClung's "rules" and think about them. What do they say about Mr. McClung, his teaching, and his connection with his students? What is your reaction to these rules (and guides) as a student and as an aspiring teacher?

After reading Mr. McClung's rules, I think he is very structured and likes a disciplined classroom. He doesn't have many rules, but the ones he dies have, he enforces them. As I have learned in EPY 355 this semester, the fewer the rules, the better they are followed. His first rule is to "follow directions quickly." This is extremely important because your time in the classroom is limited so time is of the essence, and I like the fact that that is the start of his rules; it sets the tone for his whole classroom atmosphere. Overall, I really like his rules.

4. What was the first thing under Everyone needs? Why do you suppose that is the first requirement?

A day planner was the first thing under "Everyone Needs." In my opinion, everyone should have one of these even if it isn't required by the teacher. I believe it's his first requirement because staying on top of your assignments and knowing when your tests are, etc. is key to succeeding in school. Mr. McClung seems very organized himself so he probably wants to teach that to his students as well. I think that a planner is a very important tool for all students to have and to keep up-to-date.

5. Note the penalties for being late (under Homework). Compare them with my penalties for being late. Comment.

Mr. McClung's late penalty is the loss of a letter grade for each day that an assignment is late. This is where the students' day planners will really come in handy. They should write all due dates in their planner that way they are sure to never be late. This is similar to Dr. Strange's grading policy. He gives you a checklist with the assigments and their due dates and you are responsible for getting them in on time. You do not receive full credit for a late assignment, but late is better than never.

6. Read carefully his paragraph about what he hopes to accomplish with his blog. Comment and apply to your own aspirations as a teacher.

I love that Mr. McClung's blog is intended for his students as well as their parents. This really helps keep parents involved and up-to-date with what their children are doing in school. Although I'm sure it is incredibly time consuming on Mr. McClung's part, I'm sure it cuts back on confusion and students forgetting handouts and/notes. I'm sure the parents really appreciate it too; I know I would.

7. I asked you to review at least two Useful Links in depth after reviewing all of them. Which two did you review in depth? Describe each of the two. How might each be used? Why do you think each made Mr. McClung's list.

The first link I reviewed was "Steve Spangler's Science Toys;" it was a very fun site! It had endless science toys available for teachers, parents and students. It also had experiments that you could perform with them. This is a great site for science teachers, lots of great products and ideas! I loved it! The second link I reviewed was "Guys Read." This site references the study that girls are better readers than boys. However, this site goes on to state that girls just have an interest to read and that guys could be great readers if their interest was simply kept alive. Great point and I enjoyed reading this site! I really like the fact that Mr. McClung took the time to actually share these sites on his class blog.

8. Under Internet Safety I asked you to read carefully the rules Mr. McClung sets forth for safely using the internet. Comment on these rules. Are there any you would add or subtract?

I really like the fact that Mr. McClung took the time to post internet safety rules on his class blog. Now, students can never say "But you never told me" or anything of the like. This puts all students responsible for their own actions and lets them know what is expected of them. This also shows parents that he cares about the students and their safety and will be enforcing his rules. They are clear cut and easy for tthe students to remember.

9. In the C4K part of this blog I asked that you look carefully at one of the categories under which you assigned post was filed. What did you find? Select one of the posts in the category and review it for me.

For this C4K assignment, I was assigned to the "Talent Show" category. I found lots of amazing acts being performed by different students in Mr. McClung's class. I was truly amazed at the talent of these eighth grade students. I was assifnws to watch Josh as he put in some work with his yo-yo. He did awesome routine for the talent show. I've never seen someone do that many tricks with a yo-yo before! I can only imagine the many hours he put in to practicing them!

10. Mr. McClung uses Edublog as his blog host. In some ways it may seem more "advanced." But Blogger has many abilities that we have not covered in EDM310. This leads to this question: Is there anything (or things) that Mr. McClung can do with his blog that you would like to do in Blogger?

I like how easy it was to navigate around Mr. McClung's entire blog. It seems as though he can pretty much organize it and design it however he chooses whereas it seems that you are more limited with what you can do on Blogger. Blogger works for me for right now, but upon entering my own classroom, I would want to research a blogging site that offers a little more creativity.

11. In what ways does Mr. McClung make his blog useful to parents, teachers, administrators, students like you, and others?

Mr. McClung uses his blogs for almost everything. He posts assignments, requirements, sipplies, rules, etc. This is useful to anyone involved with his class - students, parents, teachers, administrators, everyone. With it being so easy to navigate and so user-friendly, parents or administrators could access his blog at any given time to see what the students are doing. I love that about his blog!

12. How does Mr. McClung's 8th grade blog differs from other blogs you have visited including other 8th grade blogs? Why the differences do you think?

Mr. McClung's blog seems to represent who he is as a teacher, exactly what  he expects from his students and how he wants his classroom to be ran. He is extremely organized, structured and to the point. He puts it all out there so no one is left in the dark. I think the main thing that stands out about his blog is his passion for teaching and helping his students to succeed.

13. Add any additional comments you think would be useful in analyzing Mr. McClung's World in depth?

Mr. McClung and his blog are really inspiring to me. It shows me that there are still teachers out there that truly care about their students' participation and success. He is really practicing educating his students, not schooling them. I really plan to look back and use his blog and teaching methods as a reference once I enter my own classroom.

Blog Assignment 11

Video & Interview with Kathy Cassidy

I really enjoyed watching Ms. Cassidy's video of her students and seeing the ways technology can be incorporated into a classroom with students at such a young age. Some of the technology she was using in her classroom never even occurred to me when teaching first graders. I could never think of how blogging could be used with younger students, but I really like her justification for it - that it helps improve their writing skills and encourages them to work harder because they know people from all over the world are going to see it, not just their teacher. I also like that she has a webpage for her classroom as a hub for not only her students, but their parents as well. So many people in today's world are consumed by all of this technology that I think that having a class webpage available for their access as well as some of their child's work online for them to view, might aid in them in getting more involved with their child's education. I liked her reasoning for using a Nintendo DS, which was helping students learn to share and improve their problem solving skills, but I'm not sure I would take technology that far. I could definitely see that resulting in some problems - kids trying to sneak non-educational games, possible stealing, etc. Overall, I think she is doing a fantastic job at introducing technology to her students and utilizing it in such a way that they are sure to continue using it even after leaving her class.

I definitely see myself using a class webpage as a way for my students to stay connected and for their parents to keep track of what their children are learning in school. I also really like the idea of student blogs for the same purpose as Ms. Cassidy. I want to teach the third grade so they will be able to do a little more than the students in the video. I also like the thought of using wikis, google presentation and maybe skype.

My only concern with all of this online business is privacy and safety. I would want to be 100% positive that my students were limited on what they could access due to the things that are available online these days. I also liked that Ms. Cassidy did not allow her students to leave mean comments, use their last names, or ever post their picture with their name beside it. I think technology in the classroom can be a great thing as long as the students' and their identity are protected and their safety isn't being affected.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

In Mrs. Bayda's post An Open Letter to Educators, she talks about schooling versus education stating that she sometimes feels cheated by her University, especially by the time she is finished sitting through two three hour lectures in one afternoon. She states that she is scarcely encouraged to speak about a topic and never ever encouraged to speak about a topic to another classmate. I think her definition of schooling is the same as Dr. Strange's definition of burp-back-education. Teachers feed you facts, you memorize them, and then you're given a test and graded on how many facts you could memorize. People, THIS IS NOT EDUCATION! You are not learning if you are memorizing; you are not being challenged and you sure as heck aren't getting your monies worth! 

Like I told Mrs. Bayda in a comment, last semester I took a class in which we had to evaluate the difference between schooling and education. I had never given much thought to what the difference between the two was until then. And, the more I learned, the more angry I grew because I started to realize that through all these years, I had been being "schooled" not "educated." It is sad to think that this is the way the educational system has become. Although I would never be brave enough to drop out of school like Dan Brown, I don't blame him for his actions or for his statement that "his schooling was interfereing with his education," as that seems to be the case for most students these days.

I am glad that this issue has been brought to the surface. It makes future teachers, like myself, aware of the difference and encourages change. I am so glad that I am going to be a part of a new generation of teachers that want to see change; I just hope we really accomplish it or at least pave the way.

Mark Twain Quote