Cell Phone Use in Classrooms?


The article, 5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class, was a very interesting article that explores reasons why prohibiting cell phones is a bad policy.  The most interesting reason is that cell phones are part of the 21st century skills. Phones could be used to collaborate. Before this class, I was dead set on not allowing any form of mobile device in the classroom due to its distractions. Reading this article has made me realize it may not be the worse idea. Instead of banning it, we can incorporate it into our lessons. The world is changing. I grew up at a time when I didn’t get my first cell until college because it wasn’t necessarily common for everyone to have a cellphone. Now everyone seems to have a cell phone, even as young as third grade! It’s odd to me, but I have to get used to it.

The article states that by banning cell phones, kids will not learn the responsible ways of technology. It is important for kids to know about cyber bullying and other technological dangers that may occur. Our role as teachers must be to teach kids how to be safe. Because this is a 21st century skill, we must teach our students the safe way of using a cell phone.

Personally, I don’t think cell phones should be banned from schools, but it should be monitored. Cell phones should not be out on the desks at all times like it is in college. Instead, teachers should utilize cell phone use for some assignments. I realized that just because I grew up at a time when cell phones were not owned by every single person, doesn’t mean I should penalize the new technological age. I should work and adapt to it.

High School Stinks….

Any person that begins their presentation with “high school stinks” will grab anyone’s attention, including mine.

Wow. That’s literally all I can think of after watching Chris Lehmann’s presentation on TEDtalks. He hits every point in education that I have been so against for the longest time. How many times as students have we said, “why do I need to learn this,”  and “when will I ever use this?” I remember my own teachers telling me I need to learn this because it will be on the SOLs. Um…what? So I just need to learn it until I can pass a state test? After that, am I free to just forget it? 

That is what Chris Lehmann speaks on in his TEDtalk. High school doesn’t have to suck if students connect education to their own world. The point of education isn’t to instruct, but rather teach students to learn and guide to be critical thinkers. Teachers have to teach these kids to live. Learning about indentity and finding out their own answers is essential for giving students their own purpose in school.

Personally high school felt very confined for me. I felt this way because of the exact same reason Chris Lehmann points out: classes lose their purpose. They lose their purpose because teachers are teaching the child what they are told. Students are being told they have to learn something for the sake of learning something. Lehmann compares high school to an old industrial factory in which students serve as the conveyor belt, going class to class in auto pilot, so to speak. Instead, schools should focus on the individual child’s interests and build on that. It is much more effective for the student and makes high school much more bearable.


Podcast Response…

You know, I love the idea of a podcast, but to me, it’s just not something I can really get into. Maybe because I easily get distracted when I listen to something without any visual, but I could never really get into just listening to something. Even talk radio is kind of hard for me. With that said, I did listen to an interesting podcast about a “flipped classroom.” This episode was Troy Cockrum interviewing Julie Schell, a senior educational researcher who spoke upon the benefits of a flipped classroom. One thing that she suggested was for the students to complete homework in the classroom and use home time to view videos based on your lesson. This in turn, allows one-on-one learning. Schell stated that the only way for a flipped classroom to truly work is allowing feedback from the students. She mentioned a lot of interesting ideas on how to flip your classroom. It is definitely a good listen if you have some times

When it comes down to the fact of whether or not I would implement podcasts in my future lesson plans, I guess it would all depend. Because I want to be an early elementary school teacher, I am not quite sure of how that would fit in my lessons being that young children are much more visual. I think it could work more for middle and high school students, but I can’t think of ways to implement them in a K-2 room. Maybe I just need examples of how it could work. It seems like an interesting concept to allow students to make their own podcasts, but as of now, maybe I need to look into it more. However, I am always very open=minded about ways to teach a classroom!



A Flipped Classroom…


After discovering the Flipped Classroom, I was amazed at how I have never heard of this new age of teaching. To me, it looks awesome and gives me a few ideas for my UDL lesson plan. (Yahh!!) It is such a new way of teaching and definitely brings light into the classroom!

The article, “To Flip or Not to Flip” is such an informative article that easily explains what a Flipped Classroom is and what exactly it does for a class. The author, Jeff Dunn states that Flipping a classroom has brought his classroom back to life, so to speak. It is definitely something new and I can only imagine the enthusiasm students will get from this form of lesson. Below, Dunn refutes the argument from people who state that technology should not be overused in classrooms and makes it robotic like.

To those who say that technology in education feels automated, I would argue the exact opposite. Using technology has brought the compassion back into my classroom, giving me time to hear from my students and to work with them one-on-one, getting to know them better as individuals.

I personally would vote on ‘to flip.” However, it is not for every classroom. A teacher should decide upon this form of teaching judging upon his or her individual classroom. If a teacher decides to do this, then they have to be prepare their in-class lesson for more one-on-one learning.

Anyway, the Flipped Classroom brightened my eyes to new resources for students and I am kind of excited to see if this will work for my future elementary classroom! Yah for learning new things!

WE ARE TEACHERS (Twitter Resource)

While looking for people to follow on Twitter, I came across We Are Teachers. They are an online community specializing in teacher social network. They have such interesting and informative tweets that I love reading into. Plus, I can connect with other teachers and share information, ideas and comments.

They tweet about everything that has to do with education, resources for teachers, and miscellaneous information to better yourself. It’s definitely a must look for anyone interested in the education realm. Below I share a few tweets that stood out and might help other upcoming teachers with their lessons.

1. What is the best part of yourself? — A picture was tweeted about an example of a writing prompt for early elementary school. I love this child’s response.


2. 15 Musical Instrument Crafts for kids

This site tweeted by We Are Teachers gives you ideas on how to make awesome craft instruments using various craft materials! I LOVE THESE CRAFTS. Can you tell how excited I got when I saw these? I absolutely love anything to do with music so it was no surprise that I was gravitated towards these crafts. It’s summer camp at my preschool and I just might try these out with my students. YAH!

3. Ice Breakers for Middle School.

Check out these ice breakers for the first week of school to get your kids to open up. Informative and could be modified to fit any grade!

4. Building a story activity. Below is the picture tweeted that gives a writing activity. Yellow = character, Red = conflict, Green = setting, Blue = “Special”. The student would choose one of each and then make up a story based on what they got. AWESOME IDEA!


5. Teach punctuation using post it notes!


Those are just a few of the many informative tweets We Are Teachers posts for their followers. Check them out. Follow them. You won’t be disappointed!

The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching

Nuts and Bolts

I admire teachers who take risks. Instead of teaching a boring lecture on the Holocaust that students will probably forget, Shelly Wright, a 10th grade teacher allowed her students to learn about the Holocaust through project based learning. Instead of being the “knowing guru,” she became a co-learner with her students. That to me, is very powerful. To be able to learn with your students provides a much more effective way of teaching. The way Shelly allowed her students to take full reign of this project makes me wonder if that is truly how we should be teaching. To allow students to take over is very effective in student learning. The student will feel a sense of responsibility and pride, in a way.

This Holocaust project based learning was not individualized work, but instead it was a collaborative effort. Everyone was learning from each other and utilizing their teamwork strategy. When students want to learn and literally research without the teacher informing them, then you know you’ve done something right as a teacher.

Like Shelly said,  “It doesn’t get much better than this: Collaborating. Communicating. Connecting.” It sounds like a tagline for a new electronic gadget, but no, it’s how Shelly believes educating students should be done. And frankly, I agree.

Wordle? Count Me In!

When I first heard about Wordle, I was instantly drawn to the idea. Just a simple idea that could work. (aren’t those the best?). Wordle is essentially a word cloud tool that I believe will be so effective in the classroom.

How it works: Simple. You paste the words you want in your word cloud clicking, “create” and voila, they appear in a word cloud. Simple, right? (Keep in mind that the words you use the most will appear the biggest in your word cloud.)

Ideas for implementing in a classroom : 

– Get the student to paste their own paper in the word cloud. They can create something visually for their classmates to see.

– Wordle could also be a paper editing tool. A child can paste their paper in the word cloud and see what words are being repeated the most. Their final edit will consist of using alternatives for those repeated words.

– Get students to form an about me word cloud for the beginning of the year to get acquainted with other students and the teacher

– Brainstorm with the class about a specific topic and paste it in wordle to see the students thoughts in a word cloud.

– Let the student do a creative project with their favorite poem.

Just a few ideas that could work. Feel free to add any you guys think of!

Wordle: Bob Marley


^^^ Click above. I made my own word cloud with Bob Marley’s – Everything’s Gonna Be All Right.

Twitter Can Be Educational…Say Whaaaaa??

Oh Twitter.

What a very simple concept. It’s a great social learning website that is gaining so much popularity. I have been using Twitter for entertainment purposes for over two years. It’s a great place to just post opinions and/or musings you have. However, I didn’t realize all the education you can get from following the right people. When I started my new twitter account, I literally sat with my phone for about an hour and reading articles that educators or bloggers post on their page. I was fascinated by the amount of information I could find by putting in the right hashtag. I always like to look up popular hashtags such as  #thewalkingdead (love that show!), but now I search #elementaryeducation and find so much useful information. I always knew I could, but I guess I just never looked at twitter as educational. I guess I looked to it as a mindless tool I use when I’m bored. Nevertheless, I see myself keeping the new account as my professional career progresses. I can see myself connecting with a lot of other educators and picking up information from them along the way.

Oh Twitter. You’re one of a kind.

Follow me! 


Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

As an advocate on progressive schooling, I believe that digital schools are a genius idea. Times are changing. Learning is not just done through a series of math problems or reading a novel for class. Learning is done through a series of innovative teaching models involving the digital world. This type of learning allows young students to practice their analytical  and creative sides of their mind.

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century provides a framework of how students can develop with technology. The documentary was definitely an eye-opener and made me realize how effective technology is to students. It looks as if these schools that were mentioned in the documentary are training these students for jobs they will invent. The teachers seem as guides while the students learn through series of trial-and-error. I personally love that ideology that the teachers are not looked to as authoritians and do not implement the same traditional teaching strategies you get in public education and that is what I got out of watching this documentary.

I fell in love with the idea of peer-helping learning model. The whole idea of the scavenger hunt at the museum and the GPS-based history walk seemed like such an effective way to make kids learn. By working with their peers, they learn communication and teamwork. James Gee proposes an interesting thought that goes off of this teaching method. He states that humans don’t learn from a bunch of words. They learn through experience. Therefore, digital media allows for experiences for these students. Through hands-on experiences, it is easier for a student to stay engaged. As amazing as reading books are, kids don’t seem to be learning from print. They are reading in different types of mediums and that is incredible.

This new way of teaching is not replacing teachers. In a way, it is replacing black and white boards, textbooks and handouts. It is a resource that can effectively teach a student. Unfortunately  my pessimistic view on the policy makers of American education hinder my belief that digital media based schools will be overpass the standardized-based public education in the next several years. However, I do believe that more progressive schools like the ones in the documentary will gain more popularity with parents and students. I am excited to see where the future of technology takes education!

This documentary opened my eyes to newer and more effective ways to reach our students.

Well done PBS.

Learning Standard As My Target This Semester

As of now, I desire to teach Kindergarten. I believe that the fine arts are just as important than Math and Science. I believe Fine Arts teaches a child communication, self-esteem, diversity, expression and self-awareness. I believe that although the state is decreasing the funding for fine arts, a teacher can incorporate it into their lessons involving math, science, and language arts. That is why my focus standard is Kindergarten Fine Arts, listed below.

K.4 The student will respond to music with movement.
1. Match movement to rhythmic patterns.
2. Employ large body movement.
3. Employ locomotor and non-locomotor movements.
4. Use movement to enhance music, stories, and poems.
5. Perform dances and games from various cultures.
6. Use the body to illustrate moods and contrasts in music

Although, I don’t plan on teaching music, I would still love to infuse music with my daily lessons. Through this standard, I would love to form a lesson plan that will involve daily curriculum from other standards (math, science, etc). If the child is having fun, they will not realize how much they are learning. It is important for the child to be a kid while learning their own responsibilities. By doing more research of these standards, I will hopefully provide a framework of what works by the end of this semester.

Source: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/fine_arts/music/general/stds_k-5/stds_gen_musick.pdf