Final Blog for EDCI 506

November 16th, 2015

For the final blog entry, we were asked to chose one of two prompts to answer. I chose the following prompt below to answer.

Schools are responsible for making sure students are safe at school. Based on our study of the of school law and the endorsement area for which you are preparing, what strategies will you employ in the classroom to ensure that students are safe and respected?

I am currently pursuing a license in elementary education, preschool through sixth grade, and one of the first steps I will take will be establishing a community classroom environment from the very start of the school year. During the first week, I will work with students in creating a set of classroom rules based on the type of classroom environment they want to experience. Along with creating classroom rules, I will also work with the students to create a classroom bill of rights, to ensure that everyone not only has the right to a safe classroom, but to also ensure that everyone is respected. I know that some elementary schools have counselors visit each classroom to discuss topics related to safety, acceptance, and respect, and if my school does not do this, I know I can ask a counselor to come in and talk to my students. I could also ask for the school sheriff or DARE officer to stop by and talk to my students as well. I know that in the DARE programs topics such as safety and respect are addressed, but they are only for fifth graders.

Depending on the grade level I am assigned to teach, there are many other ways teach my students to be accepting and respectful of others. One easy way would be to use literature to teach values such as respect and acceptance, but also to introduce students to different cultures. I could also hold class discussions or meetings, and also integrate these topics with social studies too.

Another aspect to keeping students safe is to make sure they feel safe and know that they can approach you for help. If an educator is not approachable, then the student will be less likely to ask for help, and will feel that they are not a valued and respectful member of the classroom. The students need to know that school officials and educators are supporting them and are there for them when they need them.

Blog 4.2 for EDCI 506: Different types of Schools

October 29th, 2015

1) If offered a contract to teach in a year round school and the other with a traditional 10 month calendar – what would you choose? In a perfect world, I would be teaching in an all year round school, but due to other reforms, such as Common Core and test reforms and other factors like culture and logistics, as mentioned in the readings, I would have to stick with teaching at a ten month calendar school. There are many benefits to year round schools and it seems to work well in Europe, where I believe they are on a 45/15 schedule. I think more people would be sold on the idea if standardized test scores were gone and especially if education were a true priority, and if they were more informed. The parents of West Virginia changed their minds once they were informed on what year round schools were. I know most kids would probably think year round schools would mean having school 365 days a year, but if they really knew what the term mean, they would opt for year round schools if given the choice. I like year round schools because of the possibility of utilizing the breaks for remediation and reteaching, and that this would create more stability for students who truly need it and schools could be better connected to students families. Being informed is a problem because not many people are informed on things they should be such as education and politics, and if they were, they would be making better choices.

2) What are your thoughts about the magnet school model — is it something school districts should invest resources supporting? I think that more information would be needed (at least for me) in deciding if school districts should invest in magnet schools. In my opinion, school districts should hold off and focus on the neighborhood schools until more information and studies are available. I am also concerned that while these schools say there are no entrance requirements, that they are in a sense contradicting themselves because they have to have a means of deciding who gets in and who does not, as this is what colleges and universities have to do each year. The selective criteria can mean the difference between having a truly diverse student population and a not so true diverse population.

3) In a perfect world – how should the school day be organized for learning? In a perfect world, school days would be organized for learning based on the needs of the students and not on the needs of outside factors such as businesses or standardized tests. All subjects would be taught every day, and teachers would teach and students would just learn without the pressure of big tests. I mean, having no tests seems to work well in Finland, so why not here? Sadly, I do not think we will ever know as too many people are hung up on the need for testing. If I had to choose, I would choose block scheduling as when my hometown started this, I was just starting high school. I remember that all the teachers had to go in for training to learn how to plan and conduct 90 minute classes, and this worked pretty well. I did not really encounter an instance where a teacher lectured the whole time. I remember having breaks and moving around and doing hands on activities. I was apprehensive at first, along with everyone else, but as soon as I saw that my grades were improving, I was sold and loving the schedule change. For those who are curious, yes, test scores went up in most cases. I also do see the benefits of a modular schedule too, but I would need more information on how it would work for elementary students, as I plan on teaching at the elementary level. I do see this working and benefiting the high school students the most, as this type of schedule would prepare them for college more than the block scheduling can, as suggested by the readings assigned for this week.

Blog 4.1 Budget Exercise for EDCI 506

October 16th, 2015

Budgeting for an entire school system is not an easy task, and after this exercise, I now have an idea how superintendents feel when they are expected to make budget cuts. One thing that I do with is that more funding went into education, and the funding method or strategy changes to allow more funding. Prior to this exercise, I have amassed some knowledge on how schools and public school systems are funded, usually through taxes, and that is where the unbalanced funding occurs. Before making any cuts, I reviewed the categories list first, to get an idea where potential cuts could be made. Going into this, I also wanted to spread out the cuts, so that not one category had the most budget cuts.  This way I was able to prevent the total loss of programs such as the activity bus. Only a small handful of the individual categories escaped cuts. I focused on trying to especially limit the budge cuts to learning resources and instructional staff, but reluctantly had to take some points away, to cut the overall budget by twenty percent. I knew that making big cuts to instructional staff would translate to larger class sizes. Large class sizes are not good for students, especially when it comes time for the SOLs, as there is less one on one instruction for each student in the classroom. As for the learning resources, the biggest cut was made to field trips, but no cuts were made to academic technology. Some field trips can be turned into virtual field trips, and field trips are getting to be very expensive, with some schools in my hometown only allowing two field trips per grade level. Also, with the push for technology and engineering to be integrated in the overall curriculum, this category could not be cut. Student services section also had some budget cuts as well, a loss of six points total. Some of these services received cuts based on trends that I have noticed, as well as level of importance. The activity bus lost one point for example because less students are using the bus (at least where I live), as most high school students are able to drive or ride home with friends. Plus, to ride these buses, parents have to send in a note, and the number of total stops made by these buses are shrinking as well. Since more emphasis is being placed on certain academic subjects, the athletic and recreation programs budget was also cut in reflection of such emphasis. Those are just some of the reasons why the student services category received budget cuts. To see my proposed budget, see the attachment. This exercise is based on a point system, not a monetary system.Budget Exercise blog 4-1

After completing this assignment and reviewing the class power points, I have a better idea on how schools are funded, as well as how everything is budgeted and organized. I also now have something else to take into consideration when I am budgeting for my own classroom, in terms of materials and other resources.

Module 3 for EDCI506

September 25th, 2015

If I were presented with multiple teaching position offers, there are a number of factors I would take into account in deciding which offer to accept. I would first start by visiting the school websites to get more information on the school and the community within. I would also want to know each of the schools education philosophies and the philosophies associated with the programs they offer students, such as for the gifted, special education, and ELLs. As a teacher making a decision I would want to know if the philosophies of the schools matched or were similar to my own. The education philosophies would give me an idea what the atmosphere in the school was like, and also insight into what the administration is like as well. I would hate to discover that the school I had chosen was not a good fit during my first year of teacher. For class this week, we took a survey to get an idea on what factors would shape our education philosophies. I also found out which of the five educational philosophies I relate to most, which would be progressivism and social reconstructivisim. Some examples of what I look for in education philosophies are the type of learning experiences provided to students and what the curriculums are. These factors are important because I would want to make sure my teaching style and philosophy would fit in with the overall vision of the school and education for the students. As a teacher, I want my students to experience hands on learning, provide them with opportunities to practice higher level thinking, and also engage with technology. I also believe that students should take ownership of their own learning, while also providing them with multiple ways to access and learn the same material. These factors are especially important if I want to be able to create and maintain a community environment in my own classroom. For this assignment, we were given list of schools to review. Since I am pursuing a license in elementary education, I focused mostly on the elementary schools and middle schools (my license would range from preschool to sixth grade). From the list, two schools had education beliefs that are similar to my own, Daniel Morgan Middle school and Arlington Focus Science school. Links directly to the schools education philosophies will be posted below. Both schools have education beliefs that are similar or match the ones I have, and they also have philosophies for their gifted education, special education, and English Language Learners education programs as well, which also align with my beliefs as well. This activity for this week was very interesting and beneficial to me because now I have more to think about when I start searching for my first teaching job. There is a teacher fair coming up that I plan on attending, and hopefully this activity and future activities will help prepare me for the fair and any questions I might be asked.

Daniel Morgan Middle: http://www.wps.k12.va.us/dmms/Academics/index.html

Arlington Focus Science Elementary: http://www.apsva.us/domain/265

EDCI 506: Common Schools

September 8th, 2015

The first episode of the PBS television series School: The Story of American Education, was very interesting to me. I took an undergraduate course on the history of race and education, which mainly focused on higher education and very little on public and private school education. The video provided a missing piece of the overall history of education of our country. The first episode covers multiple questions relating to common schools, so only the following question will be addressed here.

Question: How did the task of nation building shape the formation of common schools?

Following the American Revolution, leaders were faced with the task of creating a unified country, and saw the opportunity education provided, and made education a starting point.

(The evidence cited in the video below starts around the 5:16 mark.)

The task of nation building brought with it familiar questions and themes that leaders have dealt with across the world and throughout history, such as having a documented history and culture. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson knew that the people needed to learn a common history, and linked that to creating a more unified culture, which led leaders to ask questions many in the education world are still asking today, as seen in the video clip below. What do we need to teach? What do children need to learn?

(The evidence cited in the video below starts around the 6:00 mark.)

Overall, as seen in the video clip above, leaders realized that the survival of democracy depended on education, thus the building of a nation had a significant impact on the formation of common schools and importance of education. Thomas Jefferson advocated the idea of public schools being free for all to attend, as at the time, going to school was not free, and due to the fees of attending, students did not stay in school for the same amount of time, children of wealthier families outlasted those of poorer families. The idea of free public school for all was a radical idea during Jefferson’s time, and not one that everyone eagerly supported. One underlying reason why not everyone supported the idea was that some wanted to preserve the social status, an idea that played a role in admissions policies for universities such as Yale, Harvard, and Princeton over a century ago.

References

ELC381 site. (2010, May 1). The History of American Education 1770-1890- Part 1 0f 3.rm [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRWsj5X63F

 

 

 

EDCI 506: Reflecting on my K-12 experience

September 7th, 2015

Reflecting back on my K-12 experience as a student, more than one teacher stands out. They both define good teaching, and have inspired me to become a teacher. Both my fifth grade teacher, and my math teacher from elementary school, influence the type of teacher I want to become. In elementary school, I had epilepsy and along with that I also had a math learning disability. To help me overcome my math learning disability, both educators had to work together with each other, but with my parents and other school officials, as outlined in the InTASC standards. One of the sub-standards of the first standard expects that teachers “collaborate with families, communities, colleagues, and other professionals to promote learner growth and development” (CCSSO, 2011, p.10). As a pre-service teacher, I believe that all students can achieve at high levels and will work to help them reach their fullest potential. Reflecting back, this particular InTASC standard was very evident, as both teachers did not give up on me and found ways to help me reach my full potential. The last, but very important quality that teachers need to have relates to the following standard, requiring that “teachers understand students with exceptional needs, including those associated with disabilities and giftedness, and knows how to use strategies and resources to address these needs” (CCSSO, 2011, pg. 11). My math teacher in particular definitely possessed this quality, as looking back on my time with her, she utilized a variety of strategies and used numerous resources and manipulatives to help me understand and master the math concepts I was learning. She also gave me extra time on tasks, and was always willing to answer any questions I had. Without encountering these two important and amazing teachers, I probably would not be pursuing a career in teaching right now, and instead I would be sitting in a cubical in front of a computer all day. In my practicums, I have encountered other amazing teachers who also demonstrate excellent qualities called for in the InTASC standards. When I do become a teacher, I will refer back to these standards to self-assess myself as a teacher, to ensure that I can be the best teacher for my students.

References

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2011, April). Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue. Washington, DC: Author.

IDNT501: Technology Review of the 3d Doodler Pen (3Doodler)

June 23rd, 2015
An image of someone using a 3D pen. Many images like this, along with videos can be found online with a simple search.

An image of someone using a 3D pen. Many images like this, along with videos can be found online with a simple search. This image is a still image taken from the video shown below.

Description and other Basic Information:
The 3Doodler is the world’s first 3D printing pen. This pen is one of many available 3D printing products available to consumers. I am a very creative person, so this type of drawing device appealed to my artistic nature. The first time I used the pen, I tried to free draw numbers and letters before deciding to trace pre-drawn objects. The items I traced with the pen came out much better than my free drawn objects. The filament or ‘ink’ used in the 3Doodler is the same stuff used for 3D printers. The 3Doodler enables individuals to draw both three dimensional and two dimensional objects and write almost anywhere and on almost anything. The filament cools very quickly and does not seem to stick to anything, which can be good for those who have trouble keeping their masterpieces on paper or plastic mats.
This particular device has two speeds, slow and fast, along with two temperature settings, high and low. The device does not take too long to heat up, as it only takes about a minute. The device is also easy to hold in one hand. As mentioned earlier, there are many types of 3D printer pens available. 3D printer pens, such as the 3Doodler, can be purchased on Amazon. Individually, the device can cost anywhere between $74 and $170, depending on factors such as the seller or if the device is used, new, or a collectable. 3Doodlers are also sold with accessories and printing filaments as packages, ranging from $144 to $190. Another place this fun device can be found at is Michaels. At the time of my research, Michaels was selling the device for $79.99. Besides Michaels, the device can also be purchased from the 3Doodler official website, which is listed below in the references section. The official website has videos and projects/stencils that are available for downloading. After searching through the site, I came across an area for educators and schools interested in the device. On this page, I found a case study article about a study conducted at St. Augustines High School in England. In a nutshell, the study found that the device can be used in all academic subjects and students were motivated to do more than the minimum required for assignments. The pen also allowed for various levels of differentiation, as it engaged different type of learners, such as kinesthetic and visual learners. Students who are either convergent or divergent thinkers also responded well to the device, especially when working together. This pen also helps to get girls interested in technology and STEM related activities. This pen is also good for students with ADHD, as the pen allowed them to maintain focus and engagement. For more information on the case study, see the PDF link below or go to the 3Doodler official website.

Here is a YouTube video illustrating a 3D printer pen in use. The link to the video is below in the references section.


How would I use this device?
As a future teacher, there are many possibilities. Under adult supervision, small groups of elementary students especially kindergarteners, can practice drawing or tracing letters or numbers. In art classes especially, teachers can use them to teach students contour lines and how to write their names in cursive. This can even be used to create concept maps templates for students to trace or manipulate. This can be also used to add specific details to any 3D printed models. For one of my classes, I printed a 3D model of the earth to teach a unit on oceans, and so, if I wanted to teach my students about specific ocean floor features, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Ridge or the Marianas Trench, I could draw or indicate the location right on the model. There are also some potential issues that can be foreseen with the device, so teachers may want to practice using the device to scope out any potential troubleshooting issues prior to use in the classroom. Other issues are that the pen must be in constant use, which can get students frustrated if they are using the device for the first time or drawing something complicated. Also, the metal tip where the filament dispenses from can get hot, so the device should be treated like a hot glue gun.

References:

For the Case Study: 3Doodler EDU. (2015). “3Doodler EDU Debut: Differentiated Learning in Three Dimensions.” Retrieved from: http://3o5blc1g4dkb1koq0fnnpq5z.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/St.-Augustines-Case-Study-FINAL-v2.pdf

  • There are also more videos and curriculum materials in the Case study that you may find interesting.

3Doodler Official Site: http://the3doodler.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/3Doodler-3D-Printing-Pen-Pack/dp/B00IFCJKYW

Michaels: http://www.michaels.com/3doodler-3d-printing-pen/10391993.html

YouTube video (and still image): Epic Technology. (Feb. 2013). “3D Doodler- The world’s first 3D printing pen!” Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y52VxbuS3Cc

IDNT 501: 3D Printer Object Blog

June 17th, 2015
Small model representations of the caltrop, a weapon used by the European settlers of the Jamestown settlement. On the left is the clay model; on the right is the 3D printed model.

Small model representations of the caltrop, a weapon used by the European settlers of the Jamestown settlement. On the left is the clay model; on the right is the 3D printed model.

Using 3D printers are amazing and can be used for a variety of activities in all areas of academia. There are just somethings that cannot be taught to or visualized by students without the use of a three dimensional model for them to hold and touch. Use of these printers is not just limited to just history, as it can also be used for science, such as modeling atoms or cells, or be used for other subjects. For this class, I decided on printing out an artifact from Jamestown. I had originally planned to print a helmet, but I could not find a file to download from 3D printing sites such as Thingiverse or Tinkercad. I really could not find much of anything, which left me with one option: to use the classroom 3D printer scanner and create a clay model. After tying to draw up a blueprint for the helmet with little success, I decided to stick with a simpler option, the caltrop. After finding some leftover yellow modeling clay, I created my own caltrop model. When I tried to scan the object the first time, it did not work due to the color and the clay’s shine, as the scanner is laser based. So I took home the object and painted it black, which only solved one problem. To solve the shiny issue, I applied brown paint to the model with a crumpled up tissue for texture, which eliminated the shiny issue. It took only nine minutes to scan my object on the scanner, and only about one hour and thirty-three minutes to print from the printer after uploading the file onto a borrowed SD card. Teachers can use the caltrop models when teaching their students about the Jamestown settlers and their conflicts with the natives and the threat of the Spanish, or it can serve as an introductory piece to get students interested. The following SOL standard guided my decision in selecting the 3D object to print:
Standard VS.3b: The students will demonstrate knowledge of the first permanent English settlement in America by: B) describing how geography influenced the decision to settle at Jamestown.
For another example and more information on 3D printers, see another blog post, EDCI 531: 3D Printer Objects and Science.
Resources:
Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center. (2015). Caltrop. Retrieved From: www.historicjamestowne.org/selected-artifacts/caltrop/
Virginia Department of Education. (2012). Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing:
History & Social Science. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/frameworks/history_socialscience_framewks/2008/2008_final/framewks_virginia_studies.pdf

EDCI531: Using the 3D Printer for Science

June 9th, 2015

After using the 3D printer myself, I can easily see the benefits of having one within the school. The printer gives teachers easy access to models that their students can touch and hold in their hands, especially for science and history. Teachers can print out models of planets and moons to arrowheads and ship replicas, using sites such Tinkercad or Thingiverse, along with the printer’s software, where you are able to resize objects and rotate them, and of course, you can also preview them before you print like you would a Microsoft word document.  I have read only a few articles about the achievements of 3D printing and the positives out weight the cons. The machine is a bit slow with the printing, but is amazing to watch. Below I have included a photo of the 3D object I have printed, of the Earth and what it looks like without water. It was originally gray before I painted it with green and blue acrylic paint. And painting it made it much easier to see the features, but again, due to the photo, you probably cannot see all of the features too well. This particular model would be great for teaching the following SOL standard below.

Standard 5.6: The students will investigate and understand characteristics of the ocean environment. Key concepts include the following: A) geological characteristics.

A 3D representation of the Earth. If held in hands, one can see and feel the geological features of the planet without water.

A 3D representation of the Earth. If held in hands, one can see and feel the geological features of the planet without water.

In the model students can see features such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and get kinda of an idea of the continental shelf. Basically, with this model, students can get a better idea of what the planet looks like without water, which can be pretty hard for people to imagine, even with photos. Teachers could also use this with any videos they find from YouTube or with ones they have created, which will be discussed in a future blog posting. 3D printers, depending on the model and what you are looking for in it, is pretty reasonable in price. The filament is is also reasonable in terms of cost and can be bought at places like Lowes and Home Depot.

Resourses

Virginia Department of Education. (2012). Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing:
Science. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/science/2010/curriculum_framewk/science5.pdf

IDNT501 Blog on making videos with the use of green screens

June 9th, 2015

Making short videos are easy and provide easy accessible tools for all teachers to use at any point in time. Teachers can make these videos to help students who missed class catch up, or can be made for substitute teachers to use in class. These videos are not just limited to science or history, as they can be used for a wide range of academic subjects, such as language arts and even math. For experienced video makers, they can incorporate the use of Google Earth Tours in them. The Virginia SOL standard I used to make this short video is listed below.
STANDARD VS.3f
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the first permanent English settlement in America by: f) Describing the hardships faced by settlers at Jamestown and the changes that took place to ensure survival

Putting the video together was the easiest part, but deciding on which YouTube video to use was difficult, and I nearly considered building my own from scratch. After removing the dialogue in the video along with a short segment, I added in my own dialogue after creating a script prior. For beginners, it does take a while to get used to using the movie editing software if they are unfamiliar with it, especially if they are using software on a Mac computer. Below is the video I have created. You can find the original YouTube video below in the references section.

References
Central Washington University. (2013). Jamestown Settlement/Deathly Problems. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQcGyChPBbc

Virginia Department of Education. (2012). Standards of Learning (SOL) & Testing:
History & Social Science. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/frameworks/history_socialscience_framewks/2008/2008_final/framewks_virginia_studies.pdf