Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post 16

Keep calm

Part 1

         Hello! For this blog post we were asked to reflect on the past semester in EDM 310. In blog post one, we described ourselves, our teaching methods, our student’s and how they will learn, and the tools we will use in our classroom. Many of these answers have changed since the beginning of the semester. The one thing I am sure of is that being a special education teacher, technology will be a core component in my classroom!

         My teaching methods will depend greatly on my student’s abilities. I plan on using a lot of project based learning lessons. I love project based learning, because it gets the students involved in the teaching and learning process. Throughout the semester, I have watched videos where “impossible” does not exist in classrooms. I have seen the student teach lessons, make blogs, and work computers better than I ever could at that age! I am a very “up for anything” type of person, so I want to push the limits with my students and see just how much they are able to do.

          My students will have all different special needs. Experimenting with different ways for them to learn will be a daily task. I learn best with “doing” and that is why I like project based learning so much. I also like working in collaborative groups, because you get to hear different opinions and learn from your group mates. I will try these methods of learning, but if these do not work, I will try letting the students work independently. Trial and error is the key to figuring out what is best for your students.

          The tools I will use in my classroom will also vary according to my students. I will definitely use the SmartBoard to introduce new information to my students. I will also have lessons on the SmartBoard. I will have interactive lesson games where the students will be able to come up and solve problems. This gets everyone involved! I will also have iPads in my classroom. IPads are great for verbal and nonverbal students. There are countless ways an iPads will be used in my future classroom!

         As you can see, my opinion on many things have changed since blog post one. Looking back now, I have learned so many things from EDM that have changed my opinion on methods of teaching. In my first blog post, I wrote my dream method of teaching students, which I know now, is completely absurd.

         As I said above, I want to incorporate project based learning into my classroom. Before EDM, I had no idea what project based learning even was! One of the tools I would change from my first blog post would be the picture cards. I would change this to simply an iPad, because the iPad has apps that have picture cards. This would allow me to have more space in the classroom and it would be very convenient to have them on an iPad, rather than scattered all over the room!

Part 2

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post 15

assistive technology

By Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

         This week we were asked what assistive technologies are available to us as teachers? As a hopeful special education teacher, we have learned about several technologies available to us throughout this semester, but this week we learned about a few more by watching a few different videos. The videos we watched were iPad usage for the blind, Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children, and Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is Learning On the iPad. Two of these videos covered VoiceOver for the iPad. This technology also people who are blind to navigate around the iPad very easily. The person simply has to slide there finger over the iPad and VoiceOver will tell which app you are on. VoiceOver will then tell you to double tap your finger to open the app. It was fun watching the mom figure out the iPad and learning what her deaf/blind child already knows in Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is Learning On the iPad. In iPad usage for the blind, it was also amazing to watch Wesley Majerus, an Access Technology Specialist for the National Federation for the Blind, work the VoiceOver on the iPad. We learned, through Wesley, that iBooks on the iPad has read aloud textbooks, something that Nook and Kindle does not have. Wesley said it was very liberating to be able to search and read books of his choice.

         Assistive technologies are going to be a huge part of our day-to-day routine, as special education teachers. Every person deserves to be included in the lesson and able to interact with the environment around him or her. We as teachers need to remove as many barriers as possible in the classroom. We need to be open to new technologies that help all the students with special needs!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Post 14

         This week we were to create an assignment for a Blog Post for our area of specialty. I plan on being a special education teacher, so this blog assignment will be about learning to not limit students with special needs in an inclusive classroom.

Blog assignment:

Watch the following video. What can you learn from Megan Bomgaars as a future educator?


My Blog Post reply:

         I have learned so much from Megan Bomgaars. Megan has down syndrome, but that does not stop her from anything! She was the first cheerleader with down syndrome in her state, she was a fashion model for Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s fashion show, she worked at the Mile High Down Syndrome Association, and now she is at a Bridge Program learning to be a public speaker. She sends the message loud and clear not to limit her! Don’t limit her by thinking she cannot learn in your classroom. Don’t limit her by thinking she will always need someone to help her. She said that she has the same needs as everyone else. Everyone needs life and work skills, and she is not an exception! She also said that she needs to learn and work independently and speak up for herself, not have someone do everything for her.

         I have learned several things from Megan. I have learned that just because a child has special needs, does not mean they need help with every little thing. I have learned that every student needs to be held to the same standards in the classroom. I have also learned the difference between high expectations and impossible expectations. Don’t limit any child in your classroom, disability or not. Megan said it best when she said, “Good teachers teach and learn with their students.” This video is very powerful and every educator should take five minutes and watch it!

C4T #4

Remember This…

         For this C4T I was assigned to Will Richardson at his blog, Read. Write. Connect. Learn. Richardson is a parent, educator, speaker, author, 12-year blogger. He is trying to answer the question, “What happens to schools and classrooms and learning in a 2.0 world?" In his blog post Remember This…, Richard tells how students are not remembering what they learn because they were forced to learn it. Richardson said “Social, voluntary learning is more powerful than institutional learning,” and now the potentials for social, voluntary learning have expanded, thanks to the Web. He says that we need to figure out a way to make the students become motivated learners. He finally asked, “How are we helping kids develop into the powerful, connected learners they need to be, to solve any problem and create meaningful, beautiful, important work that lives in the world and changes the world for the better?” he said the hint was: not worksheets.

My reply:

         Hello! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. EDM is an educational media class that shows us how to use technology to enhance our classrooms. I have learned more in this class than I have with any other class, because it lets us practice our tools we learn. Usually, I am just taking notes and never putting what I learn to use, but that is not the case here. When you said the answer is not worksheets, you hit the nail on the head. Teaching about subjects that hits close to home with the students, and letting them interact with others is an awesome way for students to become connected learners.

The Limitations of the iPad

         This week on Will Richardson’s blog, Read. Write. Connect. Learn, I read a blog post called, The Limitations of the iPad. In this blog post he tells us how some people think the limitations of iPads are numerous. Richardson shows use a quote from a man named Justin Reich, who says, “If you believe that learning to code is a vital skill for young people, then the iPad is not the device for you. The block programming languages basically don’t work. There is no Terminal or Putty or iPython Notebook. To teach kids to code, they need a real computer.” Richardson says for most, the iPad is about earning style points with the parents and lighting up students backpacks. He says that it frustrating because the people who invest money into the iPads are unwilling to invest time in the technologies they expect their students to use. This then sets a low bar for the use of the iPads in the first place.

My reply:

         It is very unfortunate that schools spend so much money on technologies that they do not care to spend time learning about. I have spent this last semester in a classroom observing a teacher who has three iPads in her class. She told me when they first received the iPads, they had a class they went to, to learn how to work the iPads. She said that everything she uses on the iPad, she has discovered herself by spending her personal time researching different tools to enhance learning in the classroom. The limitations are still many, but if a person is willing to spend extra time learning about technologies they expect the students to use, then maybe it won’t be just lighting up the student’s backpack.

Project #2- Final PLN Summary

Linda's PLN

         My PLN, personal learning network, has come a long way since the beginning of the semester! I admit that I did not use my PLN to its full potential at first, but now I use it all the time! It is my homepage, because it literally has everything I need in one spot! I use to add all the websites I used regularly to the “Favorites” tab, but now there is no need! I will definitely use it in my future classroom, as well as in my personal life. Right now I have two main categories, which are personal (pink) and school (turquoise). I am so glad Dr. Strange had us make a PLN! Symbaloo, the PLN I used, is super user friendly and very helpful and convenient!

Project #12 Part B

Sunday, November 17, 2013

C4K Summary for November

C4K #1

This week I was assigned to Dillon M., for my C4K. Dillon said this was a writing assignment to talk about his first day of school. He said he was very nervous to introduce himself to the class. Then, the teacher told them to write and he got very scared when the teacher walked up to him. She was only trying to help, but it still made him nervous. The bell for morning tea rang, and they were going to finish their writing after tea.

My reply:

Hi Dillon! My name is Linda and I am a student at the University of South Alabama is a class called EDM310. I think you did a great job with your writing! I get very nervous when I have to introduce myself too. I just have to remind myself that the teachers are there to help us, not hurt us! I think it was cool that you talked about the morning tea. We do not have that where I am from, but it sounds interesting! Once again, you did an awesome job! Keep up the good work!

C4K #2
Mrs. Yollis class

This week I was assigned to Mrs. Yollis’s class blog. In the blog post I was assigned to, Our First EdCamp, I learned all about the first EdCamp Mrs. Yollis’s class held. Mrs. Yollis allowed her students to come up with ideas and vote for their favorite EdCamp. They voted to learn about looming, which included drawing, exploring the new World Book Online Encyclopedia, cursive lessons, and exploring shortcuts on a computer. At the end, they had a slam session, which allowed students to tell what they learned during the EdCamp. It was a great success, and they decided to hold an EdCamp every Friday!

My reply:

Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,

My name is Linda Check and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I have never heard of an EdCamp, but it seemed like so much fun! I love that the students were able to have a voice and choose what they wanted to learn during the EdCamp. I really liked that if the session was not meeting the student’s needs or was not what they thought it was, they were able to move to a different station. In addition, I thought the idea of a slam, to show what the students had learned, was very cool! I wondered if the students will vote each Friday on different EdCamps? Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to hearing more about these EdCamps! If possible, please check out my EDM310 Blog!

Blog Post 13

To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful
By: Linda Check
Shane Koyczan

         The video I watched this week was a poem by Shane Koyczan called, To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful . This video took my breath away. Everyone, especially teachers, should have to watch this magnificent piece. Koyczan talks about how we are told to stand up for ourselves, but how hard that is to do if you do not know who you are. He says that we are expected to define ourselves at an early age, and if we do not, others do. Kids are labeled as freaks, fatties, fags, and as kids are being told what they are, they are asked what they want to be. As kids dream big and say they want to be a writer or wrestler, the teachers they look up to are calling their ideas “stupid” or “unrealistic”. Teachers make students feel that they need to accept the identity others have given to them.

         Teachers also tend to ignore bullying and say, “Well, kids can be cruel.” This leads to the making of bullies. Koyczan became what he hated most, a bully. He had to, though, just to survive. The first line of poetry he wrote is very powerful. It is, “I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean toward the opposite.” He says that standing up for yourself does not have to mean embracing violence. I loved this, because I think it is 100% true.

         The last thing that Koyczan mentioned was the “sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you” saying. He said this was completely a lie. Being called names is the most hurtful thing a child can experience. A broken bone will heal, but being bullied will follow someone for the rest of his or her life. People that say names will never hurt them, are lying to themselves.

         I have taken away so much from this video. As a future educator, I cannot sit back and let bullying happen. I cannot say “Well, kids will be kids,” because that would be taking an easy way out of doing my actual job. I am especially worried about my students getting bullied in the future, because I want to be a special education teacher. Many typical students have never been around kids with disabilities, so I think I will have to work extra hard to make others understand that everyone is unique and beautiful. Once again, everybody should watch To This Day... for the bullied and beautiful . It is beautiful, moving, and a huge inspiration!

A girl who demanded school- Kekenya Ntaiya
A girl who demanded school
by Meagan Freeman

        Kakenya had to start preparing to become the perfect wife at just age 12. She had an arranged marriage. Kakenya woke up at 5am every morning milking cows, sweeping, cooking, and collecting firewood. Kakenya went to school and had a dream of becoming a teacher; she admired them and their lives. Kakenya had a problem: Once she reaches eighth grade she will go through a ceremony to become a woman, which means she will become a wife. Once Kakenya is a wife her dream of being a teacher cannot come true. She needed a plan. Kakenya told her father she would only attend the ceremony if he would let her go back to school. He agreed, but she did not know the circumstances. He made her get a female circumcision during her ceremony.
        Kekenya was healed after three weeks and back in High School. This event made her even more determined. She met a “well dressed” man while in high school, he was from the University of Oregon. Keyenya was accepted to Randolph Women's College, she needed support of the village for travel money. The village came together and Kekenya made it to America. As she was in school, Kekenya learned that abuse, female mutilation, and other things she had witnessed in Kenya were illegal. This infuriated her and she had to do something. Kekenya spoke to the village and wanted to give back, and the woman said they wanted a village for girls, to keep them safe. The village donated land, and a school for girls was built. Keyenya began to show before and after pictures of students, once they started school. The girls look so much happier. The girls now how many opportunities. 125 will never be mutilated, 125 girls will not be married at the age of 12, 125 girls are able to achieve their dreams because of the revolution that has been started in their community. “Be the first, because people will follow you. Be bold, stand up, be fearless, be confident”


        Overall, this video showed me that all dreams are possible. Kekenya did what no other girls in her village do, she went to college. Kekenya made a huge change. She believed in herself and wonderful things happened. Kekenya knew that going back to school would be going against the grain but she tried anyways, and she succeeded. I am amazed by her strength. She had hardships along the way but they made her stronger. Her determination made her educated about illegal things happening in her village.Through that information, she was able to help. Kekenya is saving hundreds of lives, just because one girl wanted to go to school. Education should never be underestimated.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project 15, Lesson Plan #3

Blog Post 12

How to escape education’s death valley
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check

        The first video we watched this week was How to escape education’s death valley, by Sir Ken Robinson. In some parts of the country, 60% of kids drop out of high school. He said if we cut this number in half, it would create a new gain for the US economy over 10 years of almost $1 trillion. Ken Robinson says that this number is only the tip on an iceberg. The number only counts the children who are actually dropping out. What about the children who are in school, but are disengaged and are not learning? He says there three principles on which human life flourishes. They are contradictory by the culture of education on which teachers have to labor and students endure. The first is that humans are naturally different endeavors. He goes on to talk about how everyone is different, yet education is based on conformity. Schools find out what kids can do across a narrow spectrum. Real education should give equal exposure to math, art, physical education, reading; etc.

         Ken speaks about the overdiagnosis of ADD. He says they are not suffering from ADD, they are suffering from childhood. If you sit children down hour after hour, do not be surprised if they start to fidget. The second principle that drives human life is curiosity. It drives students to learn. It is the “engine of achievement”. Teaching is a creative profession. Great teachers mentor, provoke, engage, stimulate. If there is to learning, there is no teaching. This brings him to testing. A problem is that there is a big focus on testing. Yes tests are important, but standardized tests have a place: they should be diagnostic.

         The third principle is human life is inherently created. Ken Robinson states that we each create own own life though imagining outcomes. This is why we are all so diverse. He questions. what role of education gives us these powers of creativity? Our culture is a culture of standardization. He says Finland comes number 1 in math science and reading. They do not have standardized testing, and they have a broad approach to education. Finland has no dropout rate. Any time a student is struggling, the support is amazing. Ken Robinson admits you cannot compare Finland to America, but you can compare it to a state in America. The big difference in FInland is that their education is engaging, individualized, and they receive constant support. The teachers and students are the only ones who can education successful.


         My group believes that Ken Robinson brings a powerful message to education. We were astonished to see that the dropout rate is 60% in some parts of the country. After Ken spoke that number not counting students who are disengaged in school, it opened our eyes even more. We spoke about how school curriculum, and how we agree it is a conformed system. Every child is different, and they is why we also think all subjects should have equal exposure. We definitely think students and teachers would become more engaged but doing this.

      When Ken spoke about the overdiagnosis of ADD it really grabbed our attention. We both think that children are ADD, but children are being medicated who do not need to be. We agree with all that Ken said about that subject.

      Teaching and creativity should definitely go hand in hand. With no creativity added to lessons, students will not learn. We both think that it is the teacher's job to embrace that creativity within the student. Teachers should do all they can to help their students succeed. When Ken started to talk about Finland, we were both a little shocked. How is there no dropout rate?! The educators must be amazing.

The Importance of Creativity
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check

         The second video we watched by Sir Ken Robinson was called, Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity. In this video Robinson talks about how schools are, literally, killing kids creativity and leaving them with what the school system dictates is important, math and language. He says that creativity is as important as literacy, and after this video, we agree. Robinson defined creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. He talked about how children are not afraid to be wrong. They take chances and sometimes come up with a piece of work, more extraordinary than any other, because of their mistake. As they grow older, however, they become scared of making any sort of mistake. We have stigmatized mistakes as the worst things people can make, but if you are not prepared to make a mistake, you will never come up with anything original.

         The story that Robinson told, that made us think the most, was a child could not stop fidgeting around, so the teachers told her parents that they thought she had a learning disability. After taking her to a specialist, the doctor questioned the mother, and then the mother and doctor left the room, after turning on a radio. When the door was shut, the child immediately got up and started to dance. The doctor turned to the mother and said, “Your child does not have a learning disability, she is a dancer!” The parents took the girl to a dance studio, and she ended up becoming a millionaire that choreographed “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera”.

         The story was so eye opening, because if it were any other doctor, he would have given the child medication and told her to calm down. Her talent would have been buried, and unfortunately that is the case is much of today’s society. We learned several things from Sir Ken Robinson. We learned to never doubt a child’s creative ability; the quiet, solitary child may be the future Picasso. We learned that if a child is fidgety, they might be the next star dancer of their time. Finally, we learned to never criticize a child’s mistake, that mistake might have been made on purpose, or it might just change your thinking on what is “right”.

         We think Sir Ken Robinson said it best when he said, "We are educating people out of their creativity." As future educators, we need to put an end the stigmatisms of what subjects we think are the only important ones, and give our students the opportunity of flourish in all areas.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blog Post 11

Little kids, big potential
         This week we watched three parts of Cassidy 13, part one, two, and three. Ms. Cassidy is a first grade teacher, who uses technology in her classroom to benefit not only the students, but also the parents and herself. I was amazed after watching Little Kids...Big Potential. It showed Ms. Cassidy’s first grade students blogging, working on the internet, and even warning people to be careful of what you say on the internet. These kids have knowledge beyond their years, and that is all because Ms. Cassidy gave them the opportunities to expand their learning beyond the classroom walls.

         Ms. Cassidy said that by allowing her students to blog, it has opened doors and has given the students the chance to meet people all over the world, it has allowed parents to keep track of their child’s writing progress, and gives the students the ability to keep up in the technology driven world. Ms. Cassidy has several techniques she uses in her classroom, but she said it changes from year to year. One of the ideas I could see using in my special education class, would be to use blogging as a rotation in guided reading. She said that she had blogging, spelling activities, and students reading to her all in rotations, and this idea would definitely be one I could implement in my classroom. My students might not all be able to blog themselves, but I would find different accommodations that would allow my students to experience blogging. I would want them to see all the visitors in all the different countries that visit their blog, just like Ms. Cassidy’s class.

         I also really liked the way Ms. Cassidy talked about protecting her students on the internet. I would make sure my students only used their first names, but instead of just telling them not to click on different links to games and such, I would have my students use iCurio. Overall, Ms. Cassidy said it best when she said technology is here to stay and we must keep learning. She also made an excellent statement when saying that teachers handicap the students and yourself when not using technology tools available to you. I have taken several ideas from Ms. Cassidy that I plan to use in the future.

C4T #3

C4T #3

Anytime, Anywhere Learning #CE13

         For this C4T, I was assigned to the blog BLOGGING ABOUT THE WEB 2.0 CONNECTED CLASSROOM, whose creator is Steven Anderson. Steven Anderson is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom.
         The first blog post I read was Anytime, Anywhere Learning #CE13. In this post, Anderson talked about how October marks Connected Educator Month. He said the main idea of CEM is to help educators look beyond the wall of the classroom and look to the brilliance of others to learn from and learn with. He gives a list of several learning conferences going on and says these events are great, because anyone can take part from anywhere as long as you have a connection. He also says that face-to-face is very important, therefore gives names to a few educational camps that are happening all across the US.

My reply:

         Hello! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. I never knew that October was Connected Educator Month! I also did not know that there were educational camps that teachers could go to. I love the idea of looking beyond the walls of the classroom and learning from and with others. I have learned that I learn better face-to-face, so I will have to look into a camp for the future! Thank you for sharing!

The World Innovation Summit On Education-#WISE13

         In this blog post, The World Innovation Summit On Education-#WISE13, Anderson talks about the WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar, which he is going to. He said that the at the WISE Summit people from over 100 countries are gathered to talk about what is working in education, examine current trends and discuss how countries can work better together, to provide kids everywhere a solid education. Just because this convention is in Doha, does not mean that you have to be to participate, though. Anderson said that people from all over the world will be able to voice their opinion and watch the conference on a live stream. He also gives the Twitter account and the hashtags to use, in order to make your voice heard! If you are still wondering what the WISE Summit is, here is a short video for you.

My reply:

         Hello! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. I have never heard of WISE, but it is definitely very interesting. I think it is amazing how you do not need to be in Doha to participate and learn in WISE. I love the idea of educators from all around the world gathering and bringing ideas to the table. The WISE initiative is something I will be looking into further. Thank you for sharing!

Project #12 Part A

Project #10

C4K Summary for October

C4K #1

read read read read

This week I was assigned to Brendan in Mrs. Eppele’s class. Brendan wrote about a book they were reading in class. The book is about a girl named Meledey who has a dog to help her. He wrote that the mom and dad are busy with all the other people in the house, so it is good that Meledey has the dog to help and play with her. He felt bad for the goldfish, Ollie. Brendan said he really liked the book and gave it almost five stars!

My reply:

Hi Brendan! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in a class called EDM310. It is very nice to meet you! I have never read this book, that your class is currently reading, but it sounds like a great book! I work with children with special needs and, have seen some children who have service dogs. You are right, though, they are a big help to the parents! You did great with this post! Keep up the awesome job!

C4K #2

Preparing To Garden

This week I was assigned to Tyler in a 7th grade Life Science class. He wrote about how he and his two partners, Hannah and Dustin are preparing to garden. Tyler said he was planning to plant strawberries, Hannah was going to plant marigolds, and Dustin was thinking about hybrid tomatoes. The whole class learned about the dos and don’ts or gardening and the garden teacher has already prepared a garden bed for the class. Tyler said when the strawberries become ripe, he will share them with his garden-mates!

My reply:

Hey Tyler! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in a class called EDM310! I think it is awesome that your class gets to plant a garden! I have never had a “green thumb,” but I have always loved looking at gardens! Strawberries are my favorite fruit, so I love that you picked those to grow! I also did not know that marigolds kept bugs away, very interesting! You did an awesome job with this blog post! Keep up the good work!

C4K #3


This week I was assigned a student in Mr.So`s Grade Twos class, named pransqarpants. I learned that they have a mom, dad, and older brother. They said they liked lights and the brother liked music a lot! I also learned that their parents met, gave each other rings, and then moved to Brampton.

My reply:

Hello! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in a class called EDM310! It was very interesting to learn about you family! I have a younger brother, not an older one like you, but I bet having an older brother is fun! It is cool that you like lights, too! Your parents giving each other rings is awesome! You did a great job and keep up the good work!

C4K #4


This week I was assigned to Matthew in Mrs. Geldes class. Mathew wrote about baseball and the man who created it. He first asked if you had ever played baseball. He then said that Abner Doubleday created baseball in the summer of 1889.

My reply:

Hi Matthew!

My name is Linda and I am a student at the University of South Alabama! I have never played baseball or softball, but my little brother use to! I enjoyed watching the game and cheering for the team! I bet Abner Doubleday would be amazed at how much baseball has changed over the years! Great post, and keep up the good work!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post 10

Achieving your dreams
         This week we watched a video called Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, by Randy Pausch. Prof. Pausch brought tears to my eyes in his last lecture, where he talked about achieving your childhood dreams. Prof. Pausch had ten tumors in his liver, and on this lecture date had two more months to live. This lecture was not one that was looking for pity, but to show people that anything is possible. Prof. Pausch was able to make all his childhood dreams come true, because of hard work and the determination to never give up. He talked a lot about brick walls and I learned the reason why they were important. Brick walls are put in front of people to make you prove how badly you want something. The brick walls separate those people who are serious and show dedication and those people who do not. I also learned about teaching and learning from Prof. Pausch.

          One thing about teaching is that you should never limit your students. If you have students that exceed your expectations, you should encourage them, but also let them know that they could do better. I also learned that the best gift an educator can give is the gift of making your students self-reflective. A student that can point out and criticize their own flaws is one that has many more roads open to them in the future.

          Prof. Pausch also taught about learning to learn. He talked about how teachers should get a feedback loop, this lets the teacher and the students learn about the class and themselves, if they are willing to listen. He said that people will tell you what you need to hear, but the hard part is listening, learning, and not making up excuses. As a future teacher, I need to cherish what people are telling me, and not take it offensively. One statement that really stood out to me, was when Prof. Pausch said that you should be happy when someone criticizes you, because it means they care. However, if no one is criticizing you, that means they have given up on you. This statement is very eye opening and made me think twice.

          As a future educator, my job will not only be to teach, but also to learn. Prof. Pausch taught me many things in this video, which I will not soon forget. He taught me to focus on others and not on yourself; he taught me to be good at something, because it is what makes you valuable; and he taught me to find the best in everyone, no matter how long it takes. Life is too short not to teach, and learn from the experiences around you!

Project 14, Lesson Plan #2

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post 9

Back to the Future
By Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

         In the first video we watched, Back to the Future, we met Mr. Brian Crosby. Brian Crosby is a 4th-6th grade teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Nevada. The video begins when Crosby tells the audience that 90% of his students are second language learners in poverty level homes. He also explained how less than half the class knew what city, country, and state they lived in. This shows how little his students are exposed to, both in school and in life itself. Crosby opens up a whole new world to his class, though. Oh, he makes sure to cover the state standards, but he takes it a step further by not only teaching the material, but also letting his students teach, invent, and witness the class material.
Back to the Future

         Crosby’s class has a one-on-one laptop/student ratio, which the students use to make individual blogs, Skype with students all over the world, and conduct additional research of the topics gone over in class. All of us wish to have an opportunity like this in our future classroom. These students, who live in poverty, are able to teach lessons to kids in New Zealand, because their teacher encourages and gives them the opportunity to do so. This video showed us that you cannot judge a student’s ability to learn by where they come from. We all agree that Brian Crosby is an excellent educator and his classroom has no limits! We learned how to become more efficient teachers, thanks to this video!

Blended Learning Cycle
By Linda Check and Meagan Freeman

          In the second video,Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Andersen explains blended learning. He tells us that blended learning is taking compelling parts of online, classroom, and mobile learning and blending them all together in the classroom. This comes together with the learning cycle, which has “five E’s”. They include starting with an Engaging question, then students are able to Explore, then the teacher Explains the phenomenon, the class Expands upon the question, and last the class Evaluates what happened. The learning cycle helps present material and ensure it is learned. Putting those two together creates the Blended Learning Cycle. Paul gave us an acronym to remember this, “quivers”. His blended learning cycle contains six parts.

1. Question- Something to really get the students attention.
2. Investigation/Inquiry- experiment and use inquiry learning.
3. Video- use learning through video instead of just classroom lecture.
4. Elaboration- give your students reasoning/diagrams.
5. Review- meet students individually and check their understanding.
6. Summary Quiz- students will take a quiz on the lesson.

After the students have a few “quivers” learning cycles, the students will have a unit test to show what they know. Paul explains this as a type of mastery learning.

         We both agree that blended learning should be used in the classroom. Blended learning helps students become more engaged and retain the material easier than other types of lessons. Paul did a great job of explaining blended learning piece by piece. We agree that starting lessons with an engaging question not only draws students in, but helps get them thinking. Letting students explore is important. It gives them freedom and a chance to learn by his or herself. The acronym Paul uses is a creative way to remember the six parts to his blended learning cycle, which we agree is a great cycle. We love the idea of the individual reviews. It is crucial for each student to comprehend the lesson for it to be successful. This video was very informative!

blended learning

Sunday, October 13, 2013

C4T #2

See Mary Teach
The purpose of the English major

         For this C4T I was assigned Mary Worrell’s to the blog See Mary Teach. Ms. Worrell is an American newspaper reporter-turned-teacher living in The Netherlands. The first blog post I read was one titled The purpose of the English major, which had a link to The Decline and Fall of the English Major and, that is what Ms. Worrell’s blog post was about. Ms. Worrell said the article made he think about her job as a teacher of English and, more specifically, a teacher of thinking and communicating.

         The Decline and Fall of the English Major is an article about how the humanities have fallen into hard times. Parents worry when their children want to become an English major, because “what is an English major good for?” The article also tells of how students can assemble strings of jargon, but they cannot write clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them. It says that writing is a fundamental principle of the humanities, but it does not get credit where it is due.

My comment on the blog post:

         Hello! My name is Linda Check and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. Reading the article you linked with your blog post, made me stop and think a moment. As a future educator, I hope to instill the knowledge in my students that literature and writing are powerful tools for life. I have seen parents shake their heads when my friends have told them they want to be English majors, but what the parents do not realize is that their children will change lives. As a bookworm, I have had pieces of literature open my eyes and change my view on many different topics. The gift that humanities bring to people is “clear thinking, clear writing, and a lifelong engagement with literature.” I agree with this statement and hope that more people can see just how important the humanities are. If interested, my blog page is, and I would love for you to take a look!

When boundaries don’t protect

         The second blog post I read on See Mary Teach, was titled When boundaries don’t protect. This was a very enlightening blog post that Ms. Worrell wrote about the boundaries that teachers draw between their students and themselves. She said that at her first teaching job she did not let her students see her human side. She said that people told her to not make friends with the students, suspect all students being friendly, because they were just trying to take advantage of her, and to even wear high heels, because she was shorter than some students were. She said she was guarded and she could tell students knew that she was not being honest with them. Ms. Worrell said as a result, she never connected with the students.

         Now, however, she is being herself in the classrooms. She is a funny-weirdo that has a deeper connection with he students, than ever before. She said, “I’ve revealed my human side in an appropriate way without compromising my professionalism and I am a better teacher – and person – because of it.”

My comment on the blog post:

         Hello! I have always been told that I am a pushover. People joke that when I finally get into a classroom, my students will run the class, not me. I have a fear that there is some truth in this, so during my classroom observations I try to be guarded with my true personality around the students. I know there is a boundary that you have to create when you are a teacher and I am scared to death of crossing that boundary. As you said, though, I think the best teachers are ones that show their human side to the students, but in an appropriate way.

Project #9

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Post 8


By Linda Check

         When I graduate, I plan to teach Special Education. Through EDM310, I have learned of many valuable resources that I intend to use when I get to my classroom. This week, though, we were instructed to find a 21st century learning and communicating tool not covered in class. I found Do2Learn, and in this website I discovered an evidence-based visual learning support tool called View2Do.

         First, Do2Learn is a website that is phenomenal for Special Education teachers! It provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioral regulation activities. It also has songs and games, communication cards, and academic material that teachers could access easily and use in the classroom. In addition, this website has an endless amount of information on the different types of disabilities and strategies on how to help a child learn to their fullest potential. Do2Learn is an awesome resource for both teachers and parents.

         Now for the learning tool I chose, View2Do. View2Do is an online program that lets teachers and parents create customized teaching aids for visual learners. The program can be accessed on any Macs, PCs, IPad, Android Tablets, and Cell Phones. It allows teacher and parents to create and edit individualized schedules, visual supports, graphic organizers, homework assignments, and to do list for each student on an easy drag-and-drop template.

         This program, also, allows students with special needs to receive constant visual support when doing schoolwork at home, immediate feedback on their work, and allows teachers to evaluate their student’s progress with real-time interactions and offer help when needed. Learning does not end when school is over and View2Do makes sure the students have the support needed at home to succeed.

         I could use View2Do to enhance my classroom for those students with learning and communication differences in many different ways. One way I would apply View2Do, is by creating a template with the class routine, so the students know what to expect each day. Another way this program will help improve my classroom, is by allowing me to use View2Do’s Image Library to create a folder that permits the students, who cannot speak, to choose an image that expresses what it is they need/want. Lastly, the program will allow me to organize, print, and save files I find useful for the class. Having all the files I need on View2Do will save me valuable class time and paper, because I can share lesson worksheets with the students via their View2Do account.

         I expect great outcomes will result in the use of View2Do. I expect homework to help the student, rather than add stress to the student, because they will be able to receive help whenever they need it. I expect the students will be more at ease in school, because they will always know what to expect next. Finally, I expect those students with no voice to find their voice, thanks to View2Do!

         After looking through many websites and talking to several Special Education teachers, I decided that View2Do had something for everyone, and that is why I chose this learning and communication tool. Overall, it is user friendly, it allows parents and teachers to work together to find what works best for a particular student, it has big, colorful pictures that make it engaging for the student, and helps the students with special needs reach their full potential. Being a future Special Education teacher, this 21st century technology is one that I will definitely put to use in my classroom!

Here is a short video that shows iPads giving students with autism a voice by using different apps that allow the child to select pictures, just like View2Do allows students to do.
iPad class gives voice to kids with autism

by Meagan Freeman

         I will be teaching Special Education after I graduate, so I thought about what types of technology my students would work best with. . I used Symbaloo to begin searching for the type of technology that I felt would be most beneficial in my classroom. I found a website called Fun and Function which an endless amount of categories for special needs. I found an AAC device called “GoTalk 9+”. AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This device enables people to communicate. The GoTalk is shaped like an iPad, except you can slide a picture board into it. The GoTalk comes with 5 different picture boards, including 12 pictures on each board. The GoTalk has 5 levels, so each level correlates with 1-5 of the soundboards. There are 3 core messages which stay the same no matter which level you are on. Each picture can have a phrase recorded up to 10 seconds long. For example: the phrase “I am hungry, may I have a snack please?” may be played when the picture of grapes is pressed. A helper will decide what phrases will be most useful in the GoTalk user’s daily activities. The recordings can be easily changed. The GoTalk comes with a handle, storage compartment for each picture board, and volume level. Here is a link to the website. It includes a desbription of the product and a video tutorial:GoTalk.

         I would use this in my classroom because it will give my students who can’t speak, an opportunity to have a voice. The GoTalk will greatly help students with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Speech Disorder, and children who are just plain stubborn.. Many times I have seen children left out of activities, or not have a choice just because they are non-verbal. People who are non verbal still have an opinion and know what they want. The GoTalk lets them express their thoughts and feelings in a way they cannot do on their own. It not only helps children express themselves, but it also motivates them to try and speak. Also, touching the pictures helps increase fine motor skills. I would use the GoTalk for everyday activities. It is only necessary that I give children who are nonverbal or who have a speech deficit the same opportunity to speak as every other child. My hopes would be that I could have more than one in my classroom, because I expect to have more than one student with a speech deficit. The GoTalk gives endless possibilities.


        Instead of the videos you provided, I found one for my field of study. It is about a little girl named Lianna who has Cerebral Palsy. She is not able to control her movement, therefore cannot use the GoTalk device. She uses a C12 Speech Generating Device. The device also has pictures with phrases just like GoTalk, but her device is slightly different. There is a camera on the device which follows her eye movement. The camera detects when she looks at for a specified length of time. Her device also has pre programmed and customized page settings. Her device also has “word power pages” which ensures her language development is continuing. The video features a few “gross” poems that Lianna wrote, which are funny. I think everyone should watch this video. It is just one example of why you never underestimate people with special needs. Lianna’s teacher Mrs. Fink asks Lianna “What are some things you would like people to know about you?” With her C12 Speech Generating Device, Lianna answers “I really do like it when you talk with me, but please don’t use baby talk with me. I like it best when you just speak with me like you do to the other 9yr old kids you know.” This says so much! Never treat people with special needs differently because you assume they do not understand. These devices are amazing and should be used as much as possible. Lianna Speaks

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Project 13

Our lesson plan is called Draw Me the Music. It is for a self-contained Special Education classroom. The lesson plan addresses art, literature, and music. The link below contains the lesson plan:

Draw Me the Music

Here is the schedule we will use for the project:

Schedule for the week

Project 2

Linda's Symbaloo

      I choose to use Symbaloo for my PLN. After watching A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment and Building Your PLN - A Primer for Anyone, I understood what PLNs were used for and how they can help the learning process in the classroom. After creating my PLN, I played around and found out that organizing and adding tiles was bot hard at all! Right now I have very few tiles, but as I progress through the course I will add more tiles, as I need them. Currently, I have two main categories which are personal(pink) and school related(turquoise). Symbaloo is user friendly, and I am excited to see what all I can do with it!

C4K Summary for September

C4K #1

This I Believe- Summary

For my first C4K, I was assigned to Pelma who is a 10th grader. She wrote a paper called, “This I Believe.” Pelma believes in commitment because of all her years in dance. She said that dance has taught her to always commit to everything you do. She said that commitment is the key to life.

My reply:

In my comment, I told Pelma who I was and what school I went to. I told her that I really liked her paper and she did an awesome job writing it. I said that I have never taken dance, but I played soccer and commitment needed for that, too.

C4K #2

OUCH! Brain Freeeeeezee- Summary

For my second C4K, I was assigned to Aidan who is Year 5 in Mrs. Lieschke class. Aidan wrote about brain freezes and how annoying they are. He said they affect the roof of his mouth and the back of his head. He then asked if it annoys you and where does it affect you.

My reply:

Hi, Aiden! My name is Linda Check and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama! I know exactly what you mean with the brain freeze! I get them all the time, because I am a fast eater. Those brain freezes come out of nowhere and hit you! They effect right on the side of my head. They do not last too long, but they are horrible for the few seconds you have them!

C4K #3


For my third C4K, I was assigned to Promise a year 5 student at Pt England School. Promise posted a video of him and his friend skyping. Promise was mostly listening to his friend, and not a lot of information was given. You could not hear his friend, either.

My reply:

Hi, Promise! My name is Linda and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I really liked your video of you talking to your friend! You also did an awesome job getting the video on your blog!

C4K #4


For my fourth C4K, I was assigned to Macie who is in 6th grade. Macie wrote about how much the sky weighs. She told us that meteorologist estimate that air weighs 5 million billion tons or more. She also said that it you walk up Mt. Everest, the higher you go, the harder it is to breathe.

My reply:

Hi, Macie! My name is Linda and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. That is crazy about the sky! I never would have imagined that air would weighed so much! I knew that the higher you go the more pressure you have on you, but to think air weighs 5 million billion tons is mind blowing! Awesome post and keep up the good work!

Blog Post 7

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In Project Based Learning Part 1, Anthony Capps told how Project Based Learning (PBL) are not only projects that teachers give at the end of a lesson to check the student’s understanding, but are a means to get the students to learn something. Anthony said a good project involves having an authentic audience, keeping the students interest in mind, involves the community, and most importantly it is driven by content. The example project he told us about was a project he had his third grade class do, which involved writing letters to Congressman Jo Bonner. Anthony told his class about a recent decision that allows women to serve in open combat and the project was, using iCurio, to find a female or minority history figure that demonstrated success when it was uncommon. Then, using this information, write Congressman Jo Bonner and state whether they thought it was appropriate for women to fight in open combat, or not. They informally interviewed family and friends that served in the military and helped critique their classmates letters. They chose eight to send and got a stock reply, which the students were very excited about! The project was content driven and community involved. The project even covered ACCRS standards for writing, reading, and social studies. We learned that PBL is not only to show whether the students know the material or not, but to help teach the material in a fun and exciting way. Anthony Capps told us how to create a PBL project and how to get the best results!

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In Project Based Learning Part 2, Anthony spoke about a project he gave his third graders. After studying Afghanistan, his students wrote as if they were a child in afghanistan, then made an imovie of the script. The project was a huge success among the class, parents, and administrators. The students went above and beyond what was expected of them. All of the parents were amazed by the movies the third graders created. Through Project Based Learning we have learned that assignments are given meaning. Students see how PBL relates to the real world and are more excited to learn. We think that project based learning allows students to become more engaged in assignments and projects. They feel as if they have freedom with learning instead of a right or wrong answer. PBL encourages students to search for new knowledge and they excited to show it off.

By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      In iCurio Anthony, Anthony discussed the features of iCurio. We learned that iCurio is an online search tool that serves a few different purposes. The first, and main, purpose is to allow students to search websites, videos, images, and online media that have been pulled and filtered for educational use. The things the students are looking at have been deemed appropriate by a responsible figure, so the teacher does not have to worry about anything inappropriate popping up. The second feature is a storage capacity that allows teachers and students to store different content they find that is valuable. It also allows students to practice their virtual organization skills. The third feature Anthony mentioned was the historical figures feature. This feature allows students to search by criteria. It is a directory that helps the students find specific topics they are looking for, an example being 1960 African American male. The last feature is one that we really liked and would find very useful, being special education majors. It is a read-along feature that reads the text of an article aloud. This is very valuable to students with special needs. They are able to use the information the text gives, even if they are not able to read it. We learned iCurio is very helpful is the classroom, and we plan to make great use of it in the future!

Discovery Education
By Meagan Freeman and Linda Check
      Discovery Ed- In Discovery Ed Anthony, Anthony mentioned Discovery Ed is important because students retain a lot more about information about text when it has visual elements. Discovery Ed gives students the opportunity to add background knowledge and illustration along with text. It makes learning fun, instead of most children looking at it as a chore. We agree that visual cues are much more effective in remembering material than just reading by itself. Our group feels that Discovery Ed is a great resource for PBL . The goal of PBL is t to engage the students and make them feel more connected to the learning process, which is exactly what Discovery Ed does.

Teaching Tips

The Anthony - Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1
By Linda Check
      In The Anthony - Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1, Dr. Strange and Anthony taught me that teachers just starting need to prepare for a wide variety of obstacles in the classroom. The first piece of advice I learned, was that if you are not a constant learner, you will not be a successful educator. Learning does not stop once your eight-hour day ends, you are always learning from experience then, taking what you learned and using it in the classroom. The next thing I learned was that teaching is hard work, yet fun at the same time. Teaching is constant and very rewarding, if you let it be. I, also, learned that you must be very flexible as a teacher. Lessons will not always go as planned, and when this happens, you need to take what you got a roll with it. If you are planning to use the computers for a lesson, but the servers are down, figure out another way the students will still learn what you need them to, just with a different activity. Another piece of advice I took was that you need to plan lessons that get students engaged. Create projects that are shareable and get the students excited to learn the objectives you need them to. The last thing I learned was that reflection and self-evaluation are a huge part of the learning process. If the student’s are sharing their assignments to an audience, they become more serious about revising and reflecting on their work. Students can, also, take critiques from the audience to make their work better.       I took many things away from this video. I learned that becoming a teacher comes with many obstacles, once you get into the classroom. You have to be prepared for all kind of hiccups in the road and events to not play out perfectly. Learning is a constant job and if you are constant learner, you will be successful in your teaching career.

Use Tech- Don’t Teach It
By Meagan Freeman
      In UseTech- Don't Teach It, Anthony said that you should not teach technology, just introduce it. He said don’t have a list of technology that should be learned, instead go through technology in small steps. Eventually the steps can be combined and the students will be much more savvy with technology. He mentions that educators should allow students to get excited about technology and let them use it to share their ideas. Anthony made a good point when saying don’t teach technology, just introduce it. I also think that technology can’t be taught, and you just have experiment with it. I like that Anthony said not to focus on mistakes, and just give your students and opportunity to learn. Technology can be harder for some to catch on to than others, and it is always changing. There is so much PBL that can be done using technology and I think it will only help our students advance.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blog Post 6


       In this week’s assignment, I viewed two different sources to try to figure out what questions we should ask as future educators and how we should ask them. I learned that there are a couple of different questions you can ask students and there are different ways you can ask them.

       In the first source I viewed, Asking better questions in the classroom, was a video that told of two different ways you could ask students questions. First, you could ask a student a close-ended question, which will give you a quick “yes” or “no” from the students. This type of question is not the kind of question you want to ask students if you are trying to get their opinion on a subject. Teachers often make the mistake of asking close-ended questions, and expect children to elaborate more. What question they should have asked is an open-ended question. Open-ended questions leave the students room to think and form opinions on the question you are asking.

       An example of a close-ended question is, “Do you think the weather outside is pretty?” Well, all a student has to do is say “yes” and technically, they have answered your question. An example of an open-ended question is, “What do you think about the weather outside?” This way the student has to think and then elaborate on their response, in order to get their thoughts across to you. Open-ended questions also leave room for discussions and debates.

       The second source I viewed was the article, Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom. The article said, “Good questions make students think, they encourage participation and I think they improve the caliber of the answers students give and the questions they ask.” This powerful statement shows questions are more important than the answers. Questions make the students see the big picture and help them form opinions for themselves and not just agree with what the other students are saying.

       Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom, gives people three way to help improve the questions one should ask in the classroom. The first way is to prepare the questions before class, instead of asking questions that randomly come into your head in the middle of the lesson. If you prepare questions ahead of time, you will avoid asking unclear questions that confuse the students.

       The second way to improve your questions is to play with the questions. This means, ask a question and then leave it unanswered until close to the end of the lesson. If you ask a question and then immediately answer it, the student will not maul over the question. They will hear the answer and then forget the question, and that does not give them time to form their own opinion.

       The third, and final, way to help improve your questions is to preserve good questions. If a student asks a really good question, keep it and use it in another class. You should also take notes on how students respond to your questions, whether they respond well or not. If they respond well, keep the question and if they do not respond at all, think about how you can rephrase the question to make it clearer.

       Questions come in all shapes and sizes and a teacher should remember that the questions you ask can either improve a student’s mind or leave them with nothing to think over!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blog Post 4


      This week we learned about podcasts, which I found out are a multimedia digital file made available on the internet for downloading to a portable media player. I really had no idea what podcasts were and why teachers would use them in a classroom, before this week. I watched several videos that showed me just how useful podcast could be in the school.

      The podcast resources I viewed where How To Create A Podcast, Flat Stanley Podcast, and The benefits of podcasting in the classroom. These resources allowed me to see just how effective podcasts were in the classroom and how much the students enjoyed the podcasts. I learned that teachers could use a podcast to record their lectures and upload them for the students to review; or if a student were sick one day, they would not miss a ton of valuable information covered in class. A podcast could also be student centered and used for project-based learning. Students could write out scripts and act them out on the podcast.

      I learned it was not that hard to create a podcast. The video I watched, How To Create A Podcast, showed that if you have a microphone, computer, and download a free program, you can podcast! After downloading whatever program you choose to use, you can record your podcast, edit it, and upload it to the internet. It looked easy enough on the video, but I am sure actually doing it will be a different story. That is what project based learning is all about, though!

      I will definitely use podcasting in my classroom. In the resources, I saw that the students really come alive when the teacher uses podcasts. They retain the information better if they have to create/memorize scripts and act them out, rather than the teacher lecturing the entire time and the students just taking notes. Hands on learning is more interesting for the students and allows them to gain skills that they can use in everyday life. This is why teachers use podcasts.

Project # 3 Presentation