Weekly Review 4/22 to 28/2014

Back to work on my wiki. It was a crazy week last week. I had a lot going on as I am sure most of you had a lot too. The end of the semester is coming very close and trying to get everything done seems like that never ending pile of laundry. Maybe it is just me.

4/22/2014:

I started working on the France part of my wiki. I also added a quick finish for now to my China page. I added images and videos. I also added the French language page.

4/23/2014:

I worked on French fashion and created a page for that. I also did some research on Tour de France. I added some information about the French flag.

4/26/2014:

I worked on some of my Grad Student readings. It was hard to find articles for early childhood so I focused on elementary education.

4/27/2014:

I worked on finding other articles on either blogging in elementary classrooms or using wikis in the elementary classrooms.

4/28/2014:

I worked on my grad student readings 2 and 3. I have information for another one and will get that done either today or tomorrow. I am continuing my work on my wiki to get that ready for class.

Pages working on:

France

French Language

French Fashion

Grad Student Reading #1

Grad Student Readings #2

Grad Student Readings #3

Eiffel Tower

French Dances

Tour de France

India

Hindi

Taj Mahal

Indian Dances

Grad Student Readings #3

Challenges with Benefits

Technology is a great enhancement for any lesson. We can watch a YouTube video, look up information quickly, and give students new methods of doing class work. There are challenges that can also come with technology. Most of us have been there, our students are situated ready to work, we are fumbling with the iPad and the wireless internet isn’t connecting. The students become restless and start to focus on other things. Then we may have to just move on to something else and come to what we were trying to do before. “There are always challenges in the actual use of technology in instruction, not only in practical terms with familiarity with technology itself, but more importantly, in pedagogical sense as the benefits to teaching and learning are examined more thoroughly.” (Reynard, 2009)

Reynard focuses on 3 challenges that teachers may face while using a wiki in the classroom. She also includes benefits that go along with these challenges.

Motivation, is the key to any assignment. How do we get students to be motivated and create meaningful assignments? Using a wiki may be a waiting game for the teacher. They present the materials and tools, then the students are to use it. It maybe because teachers aren’t fully aware of the actual potential of the tool. In general students respond poorly to badly designed assignments with no purpose or connection to the content they are suppose to learn.

There are some things to get beyond this barrier. Keep the project moving. Students are collaborating together. A wiki can’t be completed with the full participation of everyone in the group. Through a wiki a teacher can view who is participating and who is  not. This will help keep students involved and on task. The teacher might have to remind students that full participation is being observed. There is a documented history.  The students also need to collaborate to keep the project moving forward.

Affirming grades through work is not new to education. Adding technology and grading is. Students may become frustrated when grades are only posted at the end of a project. Help the project along by using a grading system in steps of the project. Outline the stages of the project and how each stage will be graded. Students may feel that their work isn’t adequately reflected. It will also be helpful to focus on the learning process.

“Actual learning takes place when what is understood is applied in some meaningful context of use.” (Reynard, 2009) Using a wiki can visibly and logically capture the progress of thought and application. “A wiki- based assignment can illustrate stages of development in thinking, collaboration, synthesis, and application. Careful planning on part of the teacher will help collective learning take place.

Resource:

Reynard, R. (April 2009). 3 Challenges to Wiki Use in Instruction. (April 27, 2014) http://thejournal.com/articles/2009/04/01/3-challenges-to-wiki-use-in-instruction.aspx

Grad student Readings #2

Teachers are always looking for meaningful ways to engage and motivate our students. This may require some research on the teachers part to get to know their students. This may be easier in an elementary classroom than in secondary or higher education. There are trends that students go through. One part of my job, I feel, I have to keep up with the current cartoons. I need to know what my students are “into”. Then I direct some of my lessons to the characters. An example  might be during math. We need to feed Sponge Bob crabby patties. The student will draw a number card and put it on the board. Then we will put that number of crabby patties next to Sponge Bob. The students get number recognition, counting, and one-to-one correspondence.

I found a blog from an award winning teacher from Los Angeles school district. She discusses the rewards of teaching young students to blog. She discusses finding meaningful ways to engage and motivate her students. A blog is a learning community. The comment section becomes the giver of life for a blog. Together with her students, they set high standards. Before each student posts to the blog, they are to get an adult to proof read. She also created a video to help with their commenting skills.

Through the classroom blog, parent involvement increases. She has a Family Blogging Month twice a year. This method formally invites parents to the classroom. Many parents have a conflict with time and work and can’t make physically into the classroom. This is a great way for these parents to volunteer. They become “virtual volunteers.” Their task is to comment back to students. The interaction is a great way to strengthen home-school relations.

Blogging can also connect curriculum. An example that Yollis gives is after completing a reading assignment for language arts, the students followed up by researching an animal from the reading. They had to compose a blog from the point of view of the animal. During her biography unit, each student wrote a blog as if they were the famous person they studied. Mixed through the blog were creative writing, science, researching, and reading skills.

“Building a digital footprint and practicing Internet safety are not simply one week units of study, but are regularly taught and practiced via the class blog.” (Yollis, 2012) The students, parents, and teacher are contributing to an online community. In a sense social skills are also being taught. Relationships are built around the world. A great way to support and implement educational standards. “It has given students a real understanding of other topics such as geography, time zones, cultures, and friendships.” (Yollis, 2012)

From my own perspective, that is was a great educator does. We find the ways to encourage and teach our students that revolve around them. We go beyond the pressures of teaching to the standardized tests. I say this because it seems like every day we get an email from the principal commenting about testing or at staff meetings we are focused on testing. I feel if we have our students actively engaged and enjoying the content, the test will take care of itself in most cases. The students will gain the confidence they need to take the test.

 

Resource:

Yollis, L. (2012). Rewards of Teaching Young Children to Blog. (April 27, 2014). http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/08/08/rewards-teaching-young-children-blog/

Grad Student Readings #1

Education is always changing. Methods and technology has definitely changed since I have graduated from high school. As a teacher in the current educational system, we have to get our students to pass standardized tests in hopes of making AYP for our school. We are faced with “Do we, as educators, teach to the test or do we teach in hopes our students will get a full understanding of the content?” Now lets look at writing. There is an emphasis on reading rather than writing or literacy on standardized tests also associated with the No Child Left Behind Act. This pushes teachers into teaching formulaic writing.

Blogging presents a new approach for teachers to teach writing. The article The Influence of Classroom Blogging on Elementary Student Writing, a study was conducted in a fifth grade elementary classroom. Students that participated were of Hispanic, White, and Black. One was an English language learner and two were in the gifted program. The study was conducted over one academic school year. Most of the students were on grade level according to their teacher.

The purpose of the study was developed to address the question: “What happens when 5th graders blog and converse about literacies in class and beyond?” (Davis & McGrail, 2011) The researchers wanted to examine the influence of blogging in supporting writing and literacy development. “Young writers learn to write by writing, that young writers need to understand their own writing, and that writing development occurs over time.” (Davis & McGrail, 2011)

There were different people who served as the audience for the bloggers. A university professor provided informal feedback and conducted students interviews. Graduate students from the professor’s courses served as commenters and mentors. Other commenters were retired teachers.

“Prior to the project, the class curriculum focused on a review of 4th grade basics in sentence structure, nouns, and verbs, as well as fictional story writing” (Davis & McGrail, 2011) A total of 32 blogging sessions were conducted over the school year. To introduce the project, the teacher developed a webquest activity. She then created a wiki to familiarize different aspects of blogging: questioning, thinking, writing, collaborating, commenting, linking, and proof reading. The teacher also provided safety tips and guidelines.

In the beginning, the students wrote to their teacher. In a sense they wrote in the style a student would in a traditional writing assignment. Not really focusing that they are now writing to an audience. Over the coarse of the year, they became aware of their audience. The students developed a relationship with their readers. Their audience were real people, with whom they shared real interests. The students became empowered and motivated learners. They were willing to share with their readers with the help of confidence they started to gain. Some also made plans to improve their writing styles. In this study, blogging represented a new kind of space for learning.

The study suggests that the students grew as writers. They became aware of their audience and that it went beyond just their classroom teacher. I see this as a positive thing. This is another example of how technology and new methods both help the teacher and student. This is another way “hands-on” activities are  not only engaging students but they are enjoying the learning process. They gained confidence within themselves during this study.

 

Resource:

Davis, A. & McGrail, E. (2011). The Influence of Classroom Blogging on Elementary Student Writing. Journal of   Research in Childhood Education. Issue 25, pg. 415-437.

 

Weekly Report 4/8 to 14/2014

I am just going to somewhat journal what I am working on this week. It seems to be the easiest way for me to keep track of my work.

4/8/2014:

I did some research on different dances of the Chinese. It was interesting to learn about the different methods and the traditions. I decided to stick with 3 dances. It could become a very long page.

4/9/2014:

I created the Chinese dance page. I added some information about the ribbon dance and the fan dance. I also worked on the China page. I added some images. I am still doing my research on China. I added information about China on the China page and information about the Chinese flag. I also added information about the Red Lake flag.  I also started the Chinese language page.

4/10/2014:

I edited a couple of things and added some links between the China page and the language page. I added numbers in mandarin and a video on how to count.

4/13/2014:

I worked on my China page in my wiki. I added the Forbidden City page. I also did more research on the lion dance and added to the Chinese Dances page.

4/14/2014

I added the Great Wall of China page. I also added some to the speak Chinese page.

Things are going pretty well with my wiki. I am pleased at how it is turning out. I love learning and finding out interesting things. Things that the Chinese do reminds me of how things are done in my culture.

 

Pages that I worked on this week:

Chinese Dances

China

Speak Chinese

The Forbidden City

The Great Wall of China

Weekly Report 3/31/14-4/7/14

I started working on my wiki again. Perhaps I should have added Mondays to last weeks report. That is ok I will include it with this week.

3/31/14:

I added a powwow page to the Red Lake page. I worked on that for a while.  There are notes to follow if you were to teach this lesson or just for your information. Then I added the women categories page and the men categories page linked to the Red Lake page.

4/1/14:

I worked on the women’s category page. I added pictures, videos, and descriptions.

4/2/14:

I worked on the men’s category page. I added pictures and videos.

4/6/14:

I have been sick the past couple of days. I didn’t work as much on my wiki as I would have liked to. I worked on my wiki this evening. I added some things to the Red Lake page. I finished working on the men category page. I added short descriptions of the dances.  I started the Ojibwemowin page. I added images  with Ojibwe words and videos.

One of the things that got in my way this week was getting the flu. I am realizing that this is an awesome project that just keeps growing. I need to move a little faster to achieve my goal by the end of the semester. I will continue working on my wiki after the semester. I do plan on using this when I have it more complete.  As I get ideas for other pages, I have to write them down. I also will look up the information and save it in favorites so that I can come back to it when I am ready to work on that topic.

4/7/14:

I added more animals to the Ojibwemowin page.

Links to pages I worked on:

Red Lake Nation Page

Powwow Page

Women Categories

Men Categories

Ojibwemowin

I forgot to add this link last week:

Passport Page