Friday, February 24, 2012

Satisfy your hunger for knowledge with Delicious

     Reading through the texts, I kept coming across the site Delicious. Each time I read about it, it stuck out in my mind due to its unique name. When we were assigned to blog about a specific technology this week I decided it would be the perfect time to take a moment to explore the site. The moment I entered I knew I would like the site and use it in the future. Delicious is basically a sort of data base, however it isn’t just that. It organizes its hits into categories and by clicking on those particular categories, the viewer can “dive deeper.” Members can put their own information into one big “stack” as Delicious refers to it so things they add is easily accessed and shared. The stacks could be simply things you’re interested in or can definitely be used for educational purposes. For instance, a class could have one stack or multiple stacks so the students and teacher could share vast amounts of information.

Works of literature are like may take a while to see the whole picture

     The lesson I decided to blog about this week was the photo essay. I have always thoroughly enjoyed accompanying words with photographs because I feel it gives the piece of work more depth, makes it easier to understand and leaves room for a number of interpretations. While some students can write beautifully crafted papers and pick out main points and themes with ease, others need time and assistance, hence the comparison between works of literature and Polaroid’s. Whether it is a novel or a student's own essay, they are like Polaroid can take a while for a student to see the whole thing and make sense of it. Basically, not all students can grasp a concept or theme as quickly as others
so why not try a different approach such as a photo essay?
    When this lesson plan was presented to the class, I couldn't help thinking back to high school and how much effort I put into assignments that related to this one. Particularly in my English classes, my teachers over the years created assignments such as photo stories, poem portfolios and podcasts which included
 both music and images. I spent a great deal of time on each of these projects, perfecting them so I could take pride in my work. Now, as a teacher I realize different aspects of those lessons. I knew that they had a purpose and connected to what we had been learning about, but the point was I didn't feel like I was doing work or racking my brain to absorb information--I just learned. Not only will students (some of them considering not all students are creative but rather dread artsy projects) have fun with photo essays, but they will learn a creative and innovative way to pick out specific parts of literary works of their own or those of others and from that will be one step closer to understanding the work in its entirety. Putting myself in the shoes of my future students, I feel as if I would truly love a photo essay lesson and most definitely would enjoy teaching it--a win, win!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't let the title go to your head

We have all had our own experiences with those teachers who seem less than that very title and instead, seem to be imagining themselves in total charge, with a crown on their head--the students serving as the lower class. This idea popped into my head while I was eating lunch after a rough start to my morning. In one of my required classes not even relevant to my major, the teacher decided to randomly punish those students (myself included having had to walk from Vincent to Carruth Rizza) who put their coats on at 10:49 (the class was over at 10:50 mind you). We had been working on a handout and the teacher hadn't even been formally addressing us where packing up could had been seen as rude. Now, I fully understand that as it is a professor's choice to do as he or she pleases in the classroom, yet I don't feel that under the circumstance this was at all fair to take role at the end of the period, marking those ready to leave absent. This wouldn't be such an irritation if we hadn't had a quiz in the beginning of the class which obviously would only count if we had been present--the mark of absence on the sheet stating otherwise--or if it was a class where absences were allowed. We had all got up to attend class, we had done our work and had participated during class time so why then should we be marked absent for preparing to exit the room? This is more or less a rant, but I truly have always felt that some teachers let the power go to their heads and take out a bad day on the students. I definitely wouldn't want students packing up when I am speaking, but if I hadn't been teaching and the students were done with their work and had a far walk within the ten minute span, I wouldn't see it as an issue.

Thank you to all the great teachers

     I wasn't quite sure what to blog about this week, so as I was browsing through the internet for articles of what makes a great teacher I stumbled across this site. I'd imagine, or like to hope that we have all had at least one individual who sticks out in our mind as being a spectacular teacher or professor and even possibly one that instilled in us the drive to want to become an educator as well.  The link that I have shared with you highlights stories of various individuals and how certain teachers have impacted their lives. It was interesting to hear a number of the stories presented on the website and who knows, if one of you feel a teacher impacted you significantly enough, thank them too!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reflecting on technology in the classroom

     After seeing just a few presentations of the lesson plans I am so excited with all of the possibilities technology will be bring to the classroom in the future. Flipping through the text to upcoming chapters, I discovered a number of ideas which I would have never thought of on my own. So many of the chapters have me already imagining a lesson centered around particular technologies. For instance, creating Facebooks for characters in a novel is genius in my opinion. Students would undoubtedly love an assignment centered around Facebook and would more than likely go the extra mile if it were assigned as a bonus assignment. In general, I am really enjoying the presentations and the lesson plans on which they expand upon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Don't be a teacher..."

     I can’t quite express how baffled I become every time (which is quite often) I hear this phrase: “Don’t become a teacher.” This notion was put into my head once again as I was attentively listening to my professor ironically discuss a news story with the class of additional teachers getting laid off. Following the conversation, he stated: "Well, good luck with that"...clearly directed to the prospective teachers in the room whom in the eyes of those on the outside looking in at all of “us” cannot seem to wrap their heads around the importance we future teachers will have on all of “them.”
     Instances such as this have a tendency to occur on more occasions than one. I remember a particular time at work when a man who had been a substitute teacher at my high school asked what I was majoring in. I responded with secondary education in English. The look of disgust on his face would have made someone believe he had just smelled something foul. This time, the words with little encouragement were even stronger than before. With all sincerity he told me to seriously reevaluate my career choice and possibly think of switching to business. Business?!? No, thank you. (Unfortunately, now more than ever the educational system is leaning more towards a business outlook)
     Additionally, I can recall a middle-aged man hovering by the counter of the store where I also work. Making his way towards the door ready to exit, he stopped to pose a question. Obviously, given the nature of this post you can all assume that he had asked about my plans for the future. I hesitantly answered, almost certain of the response I would receive. Like clockwork, the individual pushed his opinion on me blabbering of how the next generation is hopeless and it is impossible to teach them anything.
     So this is why I decided to write this blog. Why does it seem that everyone has to take the little knowledge they know about the educational system and act as if it applies to the bigger picture? Yes, I understand that it is going to be a challenge getting a teaching job, even more so in Pennsylvania. But guess what… I have no problem moving! Furthermore, to all of the people who believe coming generations are “hopeless,” students CAN and WILL learn things. They certainly don't need people telling them they can't, making it that much more of a challenge when they are constantly discouraged. After all there would be no future without teachers. We teach the scientists, the accountants and yes, even the business men and women.