Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"This I Believe" Reflection

While making this video, I had mixed feelings. I really liked the idea behind it, but making the video scared me. I am not tech savvy at all and I proved this to myself while making this project! Picking out the pictures, recording the audio, and picking out music was easy. The hard part was putting them all together to create a presentable movie. I struggled with timing the audio and the pictures to be in sync. I also struggled with cutting my transition wasn't a complicated task but it took some time to figure out. Luckily, Windows Movie Maker allows you to cut in right in your movie which made it easier. The one thing that I didn't like about Movie Maker was that I couldn't overlay the audio. Instead of having back round music under my voice, I was only able to use music as a transition. To be a bit more positive, I loved writing my narrative! It reminded me once again of why I really want to be a teacher. Writing this essay gave me extra reassurance that this profession really is for me!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take my survey!

Open Educational Resources

                 Before this week,  I have never heard of OER's. Open educational resources is a movement aimed at opening up and promoting free sharing textbooks, curriculums, and teaching strategies. Many people have differing opinions on OER's but I personally think that they are an essential tool for teachers.
           As a learner and a student, OER's are very beneficial. They can cut down the cost of education by offering free textbooks. Open educational resources also decrease the economic barrier to access to education. I think this is great because I believe that everyone has a right to an education.

                From a teachers perspective, I see a lot of potential in OER's. I can see  myself using teacher tube. I would use teacher tube to find appropriate and educational videos for my classroom.  There is a site that I found that offers math practice problems and homework sections for all grade levels up to 8th grade. I like this site because not only does it offer practice, it offers explanations. If a student answers a problem incorrectly, this site will explain to them what to do. This site also sends grade reports to the teachers and parents to let them know how their students are doing.

                In conclusion, I feel like OER's are productive in expanding our learning networks. I feel like instead of being afraid, teachers need to take a step back and see the real advantages the OER's and PLN's have to offer to the education of our youth.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Believe...

I believe that teaching, as a two way street, is about more than just book knowledge; more importantly it’s about life lessons.

Every Saturday of my life, from childhood through adolescences, followed the same routine. I would get up at eleven am to the smell of my mom’s cooking. On most Saturday mornings, she would cook my favorite meal- French toast! The cinnamon smell would fill the house and my nostrils. After breakfast, the rushing would begin. Typically, I would have a half hour to get dressed, get into the car, and drive to TJE Dance Force.

 TJE Dance Force is a quaint dance studio located in the heart of my hometown of Holbrook, New York. It is surrounded by multiple stores, bakeries, and restaurants on our Main Street strip. From first glance, one may perceive TJE as a useless dance studio; but to me it is so much more.

On Saturday afternoons, I always found myself at TJE. I took multiple special needs dance classes such as hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, and jazz. I danced with the same group of girls and teachers for ten years. Looking back now, the years flew by. Obviously after spending so much time together, we became our own little family.

Out of all the years that I danced at TJE, one Saturday afternoon, when I was thirteen years old, stands out in my mind. It was the Saturday that I was asked to assist in another special needs class. The class type was an autistic hip-hop class.

On my first day in the class, I went to the studio as usual. Only this time I had butterflies in my tummy. I had all of these mixed emotions. I was excited for such an opportunity yet nervous. I was nervous about whether or not the kids would like me and in all honestly if I would like them! After my dance class, I entered the new class. I remember it as clear as day. I was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt and jeans. When I entered, the kids and teachers were sitting in a circle in the middle of the room. They were singing and dancing to a song called “The Green Grass”. I instantly joined in with the group, and fell in love from that moment on!

The next week, I was paired with an autistic girl named Megan. She was seven years old and it was her first year dancing. We bonded almost instantaneously. I would assist and guide her through all of our drills, combos and routines. It was my job to make sure that she learned the moves, positions, and everything that was required.

I really enjoyed teaching Megan everything that I could, but in a way, I feel like she taught me so much more. The smiles on her face when she accomplished a simple task or the hugs she would give me at the end of every class taught me a whole lot about appreciation. Megan, along with all the other kids, taught me to appreciate the small things in life. Their level of appreciation towards somebody who just puts some of their time and effort into helping them was incredible. They didn’t need big, materialistic things to be happy; all they needed was somebody to care. I think if everybody lived that way, the world would be full of peace. The one other major thing that this experience taught me is that I want to be a special education teacher. I have had the same goal since I was thirteen years old thanks to these kids who showed me that I really can make a difference doing something that I love.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Top 10 cool tools for school!

Here are my top 10 favorite tools for school that people found! 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) 10.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cool Tool for School!

Hey guys! When you were in school did you ever wish that you didn't have to do so much work for a project? Sometimes I remember thinking that the arts and crafts part of a school project was more difficult than the assigned material itself! Well I have found a solution to this problem! Take a look at this cool tool called Glogster. Glogster is a tool that students' and teachers can use to make virtual posters! Student's can use this tool to do reports and projects in basically any subject! Take for example this Glog which is a project about an author.

Instead of physically making this poster, a student did it virtually! The benefit of this is that students can focus on the content area of a project while becoming computer literate at the same time! It also saves parents money on materials since this program is free to students under a teacher's license. Teachers can also use this tool effectively! Glogster can be used as an anticipatory set to a lesson, a lesson itself, or even an assignment sheet! Here's an example of an assignment sheet:

There is a lot of cool features to Glogster! First, you can add a playlist of music to your Glog. This music will play in the back round while someone is looking at your page! You can also embed videos and links to onto your poster. This feature enables learning to expand further than just your Glog. You can't do that with a poster made out of poster board and markers! I would like to use Glogster in my elementary classes to make boring subjects more fun! I would use it for group and individual projects, class games, and lessons! Let me know what you all think of my cool tool for school! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inequality in Schools and Quality of Education

The United States is a political and economic system which is defined by inequalities. Our country thrives off of creating competition between people from different socioeconomic status'. A major issue in education is that we are seeing these same inequalities in our schools. Schools in suburban areas differ greatly from those in urbanized, low-income, poverty stricken areas.

Why are there so many differences between two schools located in different areas? First of all, urban schools receive less funding from our government. School funds mainly come from a state's government. Poorer areas of our country receive less state funds for education due to their inability to pay higher taxes. These lack of funds that the urban schools have to work with limit there attainable resources. School districts that are in poverty stricken areas can't hire the most qualified teachers. They are forced to hire teachers who are new to the field or those who have lower qualifications. These are the only type of teachers that they are capable of affording to have on salary. Along with less qualified teachers, school districts cannot afford to purchase reliable and effective school materials. Students' who live in poverty are forced to read and learn from inadequate textbooks. This effects the level of knowledge that they are obtaining. One final difference is that these students, who live in poverty and need guidance, have limited availability to qualified counselors. Without these counselors and others to guide them, they are likely to fall off track.

There are consequences of these poor school standards and conditions in poverty stricken districts. The drop out rates of poverty level students are much higher than those of the middle or rich class. Students in the poverty level are less likely to succeed in life and stay out of trouble. Many of the students who drop out of school end up in prison at some point in their lives.

These are the reasons that I would love to work in a poverty stricken school system. My goal is to be one of the good teachers in these types of areas who really help their students. Just because our politically and economic system is divided, doesn't mean that education opportunities should be as well. Every person deserves an equal chance to succeed and by providing lower level of service to those who are more unfortunate is going against our nation's ideals of providing equal opportunities to everyone.

For more information and articles covering this issue of inequalities in our schools, visit Poverty and Equality.