Blog Post #13: Code.org & Computer Science Standards

I really enjoyed completing the courses on Code.org and reading through the program’s mission—to expand access to computer science in schools and increase participation, especially by women and underrepresented minorities. This program is something that I hope to incorporate in my future classroom because it is a great way to involve technology and critical-thinking into instruction, especially in math and science. After reading the Virginia Computer Science Standards and the goals found on Code.org, I find that there is overlap because they both aim to ensure that every student in K-12 schools have access to and have the opportunity to experience and learn computer science.

The major challenges of integrating the Computer Science Standards in my curriculum would be the time commitment and the unpredictability of the technology itself. Not only can it be time-consuming to learn the technology as a teacher, but it can also be difficult to find the time to effectively teach the technology to the students. In addition, technology and Wi-Fi networks both within the school and at home can often be unpredictable and cause obstacles for student learning.

I enjoyed using the Spheros again after having been introduced to them in the PE class a few semesters ago! It was fun to be able to compete and try to code the Sphero to complete the maze; however, it was frustrating at times, especially since the whole class was doing it at once. If given the resources, I would like to use Spheros in my future classroom, given that I am teaching upper elementary students because I think they would be able to get more out of the coding experience.

Blog Post #12: Seesaw Activities

Science SOL: Life Processes 2.4 The student will investigate and understand that plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they mature and grow. Key concepts include a) animal life cycles; and b) plant life cycles.

Activity 1: Students will be able to label the parts of a plant, including the roots, the stem, the leaves, the seeds, and the flower. This activity serves as a form of  substitution because there is no functional change given the technology—the same activity could be done on paper.

Activity 2: Students will be able to drag and drop the basic stages of the plant life cycle, including the seed, germination, growth of roots and stems, seedling, and pollination. This activity serves as a modification because students would be able to complete the task without technology, but there is task redesign as students are able to use the technology to easily drag and drop the stages.

Activity 3: Students will be able to watch the read aloud video of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and create their own story about a seed and its journey through life, incorporating the life cycle stages of a plant and vocabulary learned from the other two activities. This activity serves as a form of augmentation because the technology acts as a direct substitute for the print copy of the book, yet the read aloud video allows for some functional improvement as it acts as a digital story or trailer.

 

Blog Post #11: SAMR

Google Site: https://sites.google.com/view/510planets/home

SOL: Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change 4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include

a) the planets in the solar system;

b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and

c) the relative sizes of the planets.

SAMR Model:

  • The Google Slides activity allows students to practice correctly ordering the planets (by distance from the Sun) by dragging and dropping pictures of the planets. It also gives students practice identifying the planets in the solar system. This activity serves as modification because students would be able to complete the task without technology, but there is significant functional improvement as students are able to use the technology to easily drag and drop the planets.
  • The Google Form is an exit ticket for the students to demonstrate their understanding of the content. This activity serves as augmentation because students could complete the same form without technology, but it is a more efficient means of gathering information.

Modifying the lesson to hit these levels of SAMR enhances the meaningful use of the technology because not only does it increase student engagement and give students opportunities to use different forms of technology, but it is also an efficient method of communication between teachers and students.

Blog Post #10: Social Media Lesson

SOL:  English 3.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of fictional text and poetry. (i. identify the main idea)

Learning Outcome: Given a teacher-facilitated classroom Twitter with poems and passages from fictional text and a course-related hashtag, the student will be able to choose a text from the Twitter (or one of their own), identify the main idea, and tell why it is meaningful to them via Twitter.

TPACK:

Content: SOL 3.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of fictional text and poetry. (i. identify the main idea)

  • The focus will be on identifying the main idea of a poem or fictional text.
  • Students may have more difficulty identifying the main idea of a fictional passage because it may not be as clear as the main idea of a poem.

Pedagogy: Social interaction (discussion via social media)

Technology: Twitter

Pedagogical-Content Knowledge (PCK):

  • Social interaction and discussion allows students to ask questions of their teacher and/or peers and communicate their understanding of the main idea of their chosen text.

Technological-Content Knowledge (TCK):

  • As a social media platform, Twitter allows students to demonstrate their understanding of a main idea of a poem or fictional text in a way that is public for the teacher and peers.

Technological-Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK):

  • Students are able to engage in social interaction and discussion via Twitter.

Assessment: Students will choose a text or poem of their liking from the classroom Twitter account or elsewhere. They will retweet with a comment using the class hashtag, identifying the main idea and telling why the text is meaningful to them. All of the responses will be able to be viewed through the specific hashtag, which will also allow for both the students and the teacher to communicate back and forth.

Blog Post #9: PLN

Step 1: A Personalized Learning Network, or PLN, is a network of people and resources that support ongoing learning and relationships. A PLN is focused around the idea of being a life-long learner, the fact that you can take your own professional development beyond the school and become a “connected educator,” which refers to educators who collaborate online and use a range of tools and resources to develop their PLNs. The notion of being able to connect with other educators all around the world at any time using digital resources is beneficial in terms of feeling more comfortable as I begin my teaching career. For this task, I focused on the benefits of PLNs that resonated with me the most—the ability to explore your own interests/passions (and those of your students!) and the ability to stay current on best practices in education.

Step 2: Technology has vastly increased the opportunities for teacher networks as new digital tools are being introduced and becoming popular. For this reason, building digital literacy and being open to exploring different resources is important in developing a PLN and becoming a connected educator. What I appreciate about PLNs is that you can join any networks at any time—as a teacher, I may decide to explore tools that I hadn’t considered trying before! It is also important to remember that “it is not only about what you consume, but what you create.” For this task, I talked about my current social and digital media preferences (Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.), but that I want to step out of my comfort zone and try other tools to interact with educators.

Step 3: Twitter is one of the most popular tools that educators use when developing their PLNs. It is important to remember that it may take time to build rapport with others through social media, but putting forth effort and finding ways to contribute that work best for you will help you do so. When using any PLN tool, it is acceptable to begin by “lurking” and observing how others are interacting, but it is important to eventually contribute your knowledge and ideas to really get anything out of it. For this task, I discussed my professional Twitter and some of the education accounts that I follow. I also talked about how, in the future, I want to follow accounts that are related to the grade level, subject matter, and school district where I work.

Step 4: The use of hashtags, Twitter chats, and TweetDeck allows educators to efficiently find and interact with content that may be useful to them. I hope to participate in a Twitter chat, which is when educators discuss a particular topic by having moderators ask questions and participants answer questions in real-time. Twitter chats usually last about an hour and both moderators and participants use the chat hashtag to collate the content into a single feed that can be referred to later. Although Twitter chats can be interesting and informative, they can also be overwhelming. Educators can make the process easier by looking at the questions ahead of time, following up with other participants afterwards, and bookmarking/liking tweets to view later. For this task, I used TweetDeck to explore two Twitter chats (#WhatIsSchool and #NT2T) and read through some ideas that educators had on these topics.

Step 5: A blog consists of a dynamic community, where a blogger posts regularly and the audience has a chance to comment and provide feedback/insight. It was interesting to learn about the difference between a blog and an ePortfolio, although many educators combine the two. The ePortfolio that the VCU School of Education helps its students build is a way to showcase and organize work, but I have also maintained a blog about art and instructional technology in the Integrating Arts in Curriculum and Instructional Technology in K-12 Environments classes. Educators blog to develop, share, and archive their thoughts and ideas. It is important to remember to “write for you and don’t overthink” when writing blog posts and sharing information. For this task, I set up a Feedly account, which allows me to easily access and explore blogs that focus on different content areas.

Step 6: Content curation involves finding the most relevant and useful resources, making them your own, and sharing them with others. A person developing their PLN should read/discover information, filter out what is most important, editorialize (including creating something to make it your own), and share using their personal digital networks. I hope to become better with content curation because I can share this knowledge with my students and help them become better at organizing information in a way that helps them learn best! For this task, I discussed the tools I plan to try for news discovery (Nuzzel and Pocket) and curation (LiveBinders).

Step 7: When developing your PLN, it is important to consider how you might learn/connect best and try using tools that will support your style of learning. It is also beneficial to set goals and commit and make time for your PLN by setting a routine and sticking to it. The most meaningful piece of advice that I learned throughout this series is “the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.” While being a part of different online communities and “lurking” can be beneficial, sharing your ideas and experiences is even more helpful in developing your PLN and building relationships with other educators.

Blog Post #8: Formative & Summative Assessments

Measurement and Geometry SOL 1.8 The student will determine the value of a collection of like coins (pennies, nickels, or dimes) whose total value is 100 cents or less.

Assessment Google Sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xNWYcRLdz4RmfvhK4os8weky_8psS1HOB_lGVcPNIbw/edit?usp=sharing

Formative Assessment (Money Making Review): https://goformative.com/formatives/5c8feb662e7ff04f6aba0e02

Instructions for Students:

  • Go to goformative.com/join
  • Enter the code: NWERJK
  • Complete the review quiz
  • *For my classroom, I would post this to my Google Classroom website to make it more easily accessible for students.*

For my formative assessment on determining the value of coins whose value is 100 cents ($1.00) or less, I chose to try out an LMS/application called Formative, through which teachers can create formative assessments in order to assess students and check for understanding of material across all subjects. Formative allows teachers to create new assessments, as well as use/edit assessments created by other teachers. For this purpose, I chose to use an already-existing assessment on this topic; however, I did edit the wording and answer choices for a couple of the questions. I like this particular assessment because it includes a video so that students can practice their money counting skills and gain a better understanding. I also like how it has different types of questions, including short answer, true/false, and multiple choice, and covers material that is important for first grade students to know about determining the value of coins and counting money.

Upon completing my assessment, I found that the format is straight-forward and can be easily understood by elementary school students. As mentioned before, I enjoyed the video because it is an additional resource that can be used to enhance student understanding. I also feel as though the first question asking the student to rate his/her level of comfort with money is important because it quickly informs the teacher of students’ individual attitudes toward the content and whether or not the student may need additional support.

 

Blog Post #7: Virtual Lesson (Planets)

Objective: Given a document with images of the eight planets and the Sun, the student will be able to order the planets (by distance from the Sun and by size—largest to smallest) correctly with 75% accuracy (six out of eight planets in the correct place).

Content:

  • SOL 4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
    • a) the planets in the solar system;
    • b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
    • c) the relative sizes of the planets.
  • The focus of the lesson is understanding the organization of the solar system in terms of the planets that are a part of the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the relative sizes of the planets.
  • Misconceptions: The images of the planets in the assessment may appear to be the same size as one another.

Pedagogy:

  • The students will learn about the planets in the solar system by watching the two videos, understand the order and the size of the planets by taking a virtual tour of the solar system, and apply their understanding by creating mnemonics for both the order and size of the planets.

Technology:

Pedagogical-Content Knowledge (PCK):

  • The students will watch the two videos (pedagogy), explore the interactive virtual tour (pedagogy), and create mnemonic devices (pedagogy) to learn the planets in the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the sizes of the planets (content).

Technological-Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK):

  • The students will use the two videos (technology) and the interactive virtual tour (technology) to listen and watch the organization of the solar system (pedagogy) and create mnemonic devices for the order and size of the planets (pedagogy).

Technological-Content Knowledge (TCK):

  • The planets in the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the sizes of the planets (content) can be accessed through the videos and interactive virtual tour (technology) and can be assessed through the discussion board on Google Classroom and the Google Drawing assessment (technology).

Google Classroom Code: h2ihxgm

Blog Post #6: Virtual Lesson (Habitats)

This virtual lesson asks students to visit the National Geographic Kids website to read about different types of habitats. After learning more information, the students will complete a drag and drop activity on Google Classroom, where they will drag and drop food, water, and shelter to the correct animal.

Content:

  • Living Systems 2.5 The student will investigate and understand that living things are part of a system. Key concepts include: b) an animal’s habitat includes adequate food, water, shelter or cover, and space.
  • The focus of the lesson is understanding the definition of a habitat and the components of a habitat (food, water, shelter, and space).
  • Misconceptions: Students may have difficulty understanding the different habitats that animals inhabit, habitats of domestic vs. wild animals, and the difference between shelter and space (shelter: something that protects the animal vs. space: area to roam)

Pedagogy:

  • The students will learn through the research of habitats on the National Geographic Kids website and the practice and application of knowledge by completing the drag and drop activity.

Technology:

  • The students will use two forms of technology during this lesson: the National Geographic Kids website (https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/nature/habitats/) and Google Classroom (online drag and drop activity).

Pedagogical-Content Knowledge (PCK):

  • Through their research and practice using the knowledge learned through research (pedagogy), the students will learn what a habitat is, the components of a habitat, and different types of habitats (content).

Technological-Content Knowledge (TCK):

  • The different types of habitats and their components (content) can be accessed through the National Geographic Kids articles on habitats and can be assessed using the Google Classroom drag and drop activity (technology).

Technological-Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPK):

  • The students’ research of habitats (pedagogy) is supported by the National Geographic Kids website (technology) and the practice using the knowledge learned through research (pedagogy) is supported by the Google Classroom drag and drop activity (technology).

Google Classroom Class Code: h2ihxgm 

Blog Post #5: LMS

My first experience with learning management systems (LMS) wasn’t until high school when my school adopted Infinite Campus, an online system where teachers were able to update both students and parents on classroom and school events, share online resources for different subjects, communicate homework assignments or any other announcements, and post grades. Having the experience of using this technology during high school helped me stay better organized by ensuring that important information could be effectively communicated through the system.

As a future teacher, I plan to incorporate LMS into my classroom in order to more effectively communicate with my students, as well as their parents. I have heard of many K-12 schools recently adopting Google Classroom as a means of communicating and enhancing learning for their students. LMS would be beneficial for my students because it would allow them to access educational resources more easily and it would provide opportunities to use technology to support their learning. Something that I would like to keep in mind when using LMS, however, is that technology can be unreliable in terms of resources not uploading properly, the website being down, or the WiFi being slow. In addition, it is important to remember that some students may not have technology available at home to use LMS. Although it may be more difficult to reach these students at times, it can still be beneficial for them to access educational resources at school.