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Mandy Wade

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD VoiceThread

My VoiceThread explores the topic of BYOD. The concept is not necessarily new to education, but it is new to many schools due to the expensive infrastructure needed. I explore the rationale behind BYOD and also mention a few popular apps and websites the schools use. I also make mention of the pros and cons of the subject.

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Using Comic Strips to Extend Learning in Math

This math extension activity is aligned to the common core standard, CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.OA.A.3. This standard states that the student will “Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations.”

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Using the Web 2.0 Tool Toondoo.com, I created a multistep story problem student example. This particular activity could be done after students have had a few lessons on the subject and time to practice independently. At such a time, this activity could be conducted as a formative or summative assessment to show that they have mastered the skill. In using Toondoo.com, however, students would be able to use their creativity in their work. The fact that students could learn how to solve such a math problem using my comic is one thing. However, having the students create their own multistep story problem for other students to solve in the class is even more. This tool would allow students to use the art part of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering ARTS and Math). Tapping into creativity during common math lessons in a sure way to keep students motivated to learn.

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Classroom Blogs: Using Blogging to Enhance Learning

The idea behind classroom blogs is to allow the teacher and students to converse by blogging about the class. Ideally, the teacher sets up a class blog and discusses various topics that are being covered in class. The students are able to review and add to the blog with their comments as well. There are multiple blogs that even include students who post to their own blog that is linked within the class blog. This allows the students to document what they are doing on their own site. All in all, the classroom blog can be a very powerful and valuable teaching tool. It gives the classroom a sense of oneness where every student is able to share, reflect, and respond to what occurs in the classroom and to each other. It can also be an empowering tool by enabling the students to have their own say in matters. Finally, the classroom blog is a wonderful example of outreach to parents and the community. Today, teachers are encouraged to be more transparent about what happens in class. This platform allows visibility as it is made public for all to see.

Elementary Blog: Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog

This blog is set up to showcase what takes place in Ms. Cassidy’s classroom. She has posted many fun activities including recent St. Patrick’s Day lessons and games. It seems very thorough and makes me very envious! Her school is in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan which makes me wonder about how different their curriculum is to ours. Ms. Cassidy also has links to her students’ blogs. Each of her students has their own page in which they have created and maintained throughout the year. Items on their pages include samples of work they have done in class, short videos, and other odds and ends that the students want to share. Jakob’s blog includes a video of him counting by tens and ones, and a picture of an amaryllis where he has identified the parts of the plant. Cohen’s blog includes a video of him reading his -ine words and a picture he created entitled Which fairy tale is this? This is truly a clear window to what takes place in her classroom. What a great way to keep parents informed.

Middle School Blog: Huzzah!

The title of this blog goes by the pen name, Huzzah. This person teaches 7th grade in a middle school in Vancouver, British Columbia. The page has the definition of huzzah and a brief excerpt from the Pirates of the Caribbean showing the sailors all shouting huzzah. It is very obvious that this is the overarching theme behind this class. Huzzah’s introduction mentions that the page is a work in progress while the students learn how to share through blogging. The top navigation bar has links for Commenting Guidelines. The bar also has a link for Huzzahnian Grads. Below this is a list of the students with links to their personal blogs along with a brief description and an avatar that I am sure the students came up with. The student blogs have numerous posts of poems, short stories, journal entries and pictures that they have been assigned to complete. Each of the students have their own unique style which goes to show that their teacher grants them autonomy when creating these blogs. Some examples of the student blogs include Boone’s Blog, Josh I.’s Blog, and Liam’s Blog.

High School Blog: Mr. B-G’s Blogging with Students

Mr. B-G is a high school English teacher in western Massachusetts who created this site to supplement the learning of his students. The subtitle of his page states that “…it is a resource for students and teachers looking to create their own blogs.” On his blog he has numerous resources that are linked to the headings, Journalism, English Resources, B-G Technology Videos, and Mr. B-G’s Blogs and Assignments which links to Twitter. The purpose of these resources are to offer extra help for students in various subjects. Within this blog, Mr. B-G has assigned all of his students to create his or her own blog. Students use his or her own blog to post assignments. These assignments include essays, book reviews, short stories, and other student works. Some examples of these student created blogs include Zach Z’s Bestest Blog, Ruffan Running People, and Hannah Boulais. Mr. B-G also has his own blog linked to this site. In his blog, he posts numerous photographs of his, as well as, original writings. His blog is a great example of what students or teachers can post to archive their own work.

After researching numerous blogs used by teachers I have come to grasp how powerful of a tool these platforms are for the students. It is very evident, especially when looking at the students’ work, that there is a high standard of work that is expected by the teachers. This high standard can be seen by the quality of the posts that the students are leaving. Having the students go the extra steps to publish their assignments on a website encourages them to fine-tune and edit their work to ensure that they are proud of what they post. The blog of a classroom can be a powerful tool as it allows the class to exist twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This contact seems as though it helps unify the class. The concept of a blog also offers transparency to all stakeholders who wish to see what is taking place in the classroom. I can see teachers setting up a class blog that shares resources and class updates with all students. It would also be a great way to brag and show off the great things the class is doing. Teachers can have the students set up their own blog and link it to the teacher’s page. This would allow the students to create a portfolio of their work and give the students the opportunity to show growth throughout the year.

I think teaching blogging to a staff would be beneficial. This could be done during one of the in-service or professional development days that are provided throughout the school year. There the staff can view multiple classroom blogs and see how they are being used in other classrooms. I could then introduce them to WordPress.com and demonstrate how to create their own classroom blogs. Another way to share blogging with other teachers in my building would be to volunteer to go into their classrooms to introduce blogging to the students and get them started. With a starting platform they could then continue to incorporate it with their students and their teaching. As a media specialist I would create a blog that features authors and their books. I would also devote a page for each grade level where I would include curriculum based resources for both teachers and students. In addition, I would also include a parent’s page encouraging reading at home.

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Educator Blogs: Using Blogs to Enhance Teaching

Educator blogs have become a great way to share information about teaching. With the number of education theories and practices exploding in literature, educator or edublogs, serve as a platform to share this information. These blogs tend to focus on pedagogy and topics that would reach out to a broad audience of teachers. Some of these blogs serve audiences of a particular content such as science or math, whereas other blogs may share theory and political topics to all teachers. Content specific blogs often give ideas that demonstrate ways to teach similar topics using one type of pedagogy. For example, a science edublog may offer numerous STEM lessons that lend advice to teach in an inquiry style. Other blogs that are more general may offer topics that can be used by all teachers regardless of the content. An example of this would be an edublog that focuses on the idea of close reading strategies and analyzing texts.

Linking and Thinking on Education

This blog is written by Joanne Jacobs who is a freelance journalist and has several articles written in many different newspapers and magazines. The blog focuses on educational trends within the context of our society. Ms. Jacob’s site has numerous current article excerpts that she has pulled from many resources. Examples include topics about poverty and education, education and migrant children, serving breakfast in school, as well as many others. She comes across as the education correspondent for NPR and all of “her” stories can be seen here. Except, they are not her stories, but instead stories that she has found and shared. Her blog also offers links to many other education blogs and teacher blogs such as Curriculum, Kitchen Table Math, Paul Bruno, and Organized Chaos. Lastly, she plugs her own book, Our School, in which she describes the book in detail and has links to purchase the book.

Science Fix

Darren Fix is a middle school science teacher in California who created this blog to share lessons and demonstrations with other teachers. On the homepage of his blog there are numerous short videos that are scientific demonstrations. Two examples of the videos include Melting Rates and Floating and Sinking Mystery. The videos are set up in a way that teachers could easily recreate the activities in class. These videos could also be used by students to watch, make observations, and think about why they see what they are seeing. Mr. Fix appears to be a phenomenal teacher and the type of person that other teachers would go to get great lessons. The blog is his way of sharing all that he does. Aside from the demonstrations, he links his own Twitter page, which is full of other science related tweets.

The Tempered Radical

Author, William Ferriter, has taught well over two thousand students during his twenty plus year tenure as a teacher. His biography continues to describe his work as an author, blogger, consultant, and speaker. His blog is very inviting and is loaded with thought provoking posts that discuss views of education. Mr. Ferriter’s banner has links to his own biography, information about his consulting work, references and information about the books he has authored, as well as his wikis, flicker slides, and twitter stream. He links wikis to his page that contain platforms for books that he has written, as well as one for his sixth graders. This link for his own class is minimal compared to the other links that he has within his blog. Under his consulting link, for example, he explains different workshops, coaching and modeling services. There is also a link to references, beside the consulting link, which seems to be used to validate his work.

As a media specialist, I could see myself setting up an educator blog that could be a school-wide resource for various instructional practices. This virtual venue would be open to all teachers to share and respond to one another. An edublog could be used for on-going professional development for the school. In this case, teachers, once shown how to use the blog, could share what they are doing in their classrooms and provide examples of lessons and student work. Other teachers would be able to learn from these posts in order to improve their own instruction. Throughout the school year, this educator blog could archive the many instructional practices and reflections that are being done within the school. As a teacher, I would benefit from having a resource from which I could draw inspiration. I could see what other teachers have done, write about my own lessons, and reflect on the success of my instruction. Ultimately, this would improve my class as it would be a way of growing myself as a teacher.

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