Educational Technology Context & Foundation

I absolutely love my Instructional Technology course I am taking this semester at ISU! Integrating technology into all aspects of the classroom to benefit both student and teacher is extremely important to me. Part of the requirement of this class will be to create a Philosophy of our own in regards to placing tecnhlogy into the classroom. In order for us to complete this, through the course we are finding professional resources and material within our textbook to expand and define our current technology ideals.

Here is my takeaways from our readings this week:

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook, Roblyer states,

For the processes, or instructional procedures for applying tools, we look to … applications of technology that help prepare students for future jobs by teaching them skills in using current tools, as well as skills in ‘learning to learn’ about tools of the future that have not yet been invented – or even imagined (p. 5).

     I find the idea of “learning to learn about tools of the future” to be an extremely important guide in today’s teaching of technology and preparing our students for the future. This changes the focus of learning technology, we need to learn enough to complete the tasks we are to complete; however, its not about having lessons on the particular technology that we know it deeply as software, hardware, etc changes so rapidly. Yet we should direct lessons on the ability of learning to learn. Being able to take the basic knowledge and apply it to any program that comes our way. I read once that computer programmers, computer design students, and the like graduate with a degree with most of the information they have learned is outdated. Similar to our students, It is important for them to know how to learn and adapt to the rapidly changing technology in our world. 

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook research completed by Devaney in 2010 teaches us, 

Schools with one-to- one computing programs had fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance (p. 22).

     I am not surprised by such research results. As a future teacher, I would love to adapt or be apart of a school in which is involved within a 1:1. Eliminating factors of students not having the technology accessible in and outside of the classroom. This research on technology in education tells us that there are many more benefits to the use than what we originally thought. My thought that the fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance is in the idea that students are engaged, lessons are adaptable to many learning styles, and they feel better prepared to go on to higher education because of their experience!

     In Chapter 2 of our textbook, Roblyer states, 

Teachers will always use some directed instruction as the most efficient means of teaching required skills; teachers will always need motivating, cooperative learning activities to ensure that students want to learn and that they can transfer what they learn to problems they encounter. Proficient technology-orientated teachers must learn to combine directed instruction and constructivist approaches and to select technology resources and integration methods that are best suited to their specific needs (p. 49).

     I tend to lean toward the constructivist methods, ideologies, and epistemologies in the modern day classroom. It is innovative, collective; it is about movement and collaboration. It is appealing to me as a teacher to make the classroom appealing to today’s student. Yet there is an importance in the ideals and methods of directed instruction. As a future teacher and as I go about creating my integrating technology philosophy is in important to develop a balance between the two.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson             Education, Inc. 

Protagonist editorial: Why Goldilocks should never have entered the home of the three bears.

the-three-bearsHere is something fun this evening, as I work on my UDL Lesson Plan (my final for SPED 3350). The lesson is meeting the standard CCCS.ELA.W.7.1 in writing an editorial to defend or challenge a protagonist in a fairy tale. I am responsible for completing the assignment for the student example as I have not done this with a class. So I thought I would share with you what I wrote.

Goldilocks should never have entered the home of the three bears. I can imagine that Goldilocks only went to the house of the three bears by herself is because she was left alone to her own doings. Where was her parents? Why was she not in school? She just gallivanted through the forest one day and happened to come across the three bears home. I can imagine the smell of porridge seeped out into the woods that fine morning, was Goldilocks hungry? I can imagine she just could not resist the temptation to see what it was that smelled so delicious. As she approached the home, I imagine she appeared through the open kitchen window and saw the three-steaming bowls. So, she walked right through the open door and began to eat out of the largest bowl! This would have not happened if Goldilocks parents were taking care of her, I wonder if she was even given breakfast.

Goldilocks really should never have entered the home of the three bears. She was lucky, that girl could have been eaten up. For some reason, she thought it was okay to eat the porridge that did not belong to her. She also could have not been aware that the home she entered belonged to a family of bears. But she did not stop there, she continued into the stranger’s home and sat in their personal chairs! Were there pictures of the bears on the wall or placed along their bookshelves? If there was she ignored them when she decided to take a nap from all that eating and resting she had done.

Most importantly, Goldilocks should never have entered the home of the three bears; she was breaking the law. She was a criminal, guilty on at least four separate accounts. First, she trespassed onto private property. Second, she entered the home without permission. Third, she stole their porridge that was intended for them to eat. Fourth, she broke the smallest chair in the living room. I cannot imagine why this innocent blond haired girl would be doing such things; maybe it was just a disguise to fool us all?

In conclusion, Goldilocks should never have entered the home of the three bears because she was alone and should have been supervised, she was lucky and could have been killed, and she was guilty of breaking four separate laws and could have been locked up in juvenile detention center for her crimes. So next time, Goldilocks just go to school instead!

Ha! How funny is that? I actually used this story and this book, because I am looking forward to meeting author Jan Brett when she visits Twin Falls Barnes & Noble next Friday! Maybe I should have her autograph my editorial?



Blog Review #14: The Whole is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts – Focusing on the Small Stuff

The second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was The Whole is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts – Focusing on the Small Stuff published on the website, Musings from the Middle. In this article, Jenna Smith shares her thoughts, fears, emotions, ups, and downs of standardized testing.

This post shares the truth about the real feelings teachers have regarding the tests wether there is great emphasis or little emphasis on the test in your school. We are human and we want our students to succeed and we want the tests to reflect what we know about them. But they are faulty, and do not have the ability to do such things.

Jenna shares words of wisdom she received from another teacher,

In teaching, when it comes to kids and their performance: The whole is LESS than the sum of its parts.

Jenna explains,

When I think about all the papers and tests and projects that I’ve graded over the years, they pale in comparison to what I watched a kid learn in the process of writing/taking/creating them. Final products, I realized, are always a bit of a letdown when you compare them to journey you watched a kid take to put it together.

Jenna reflects,

Immediately, I refocused myself. I decided to be present for those little moments that occur along a kid’s journey and to stop staring at the destination on the horizon. The test is the test is the test. I can’t change it. I can’t beat it. I can’t fight it. It’s there. But, I don’t have to make myself crazy staring at it looming in the distance. Instead, I can focus on all those little wins throughout the day and celebrate all the things my kids CAN do.

She shares a story involving a writing assignment  in the classroom after her reflection, this idea completely changed her perspective, and reminded her of why she became a teacher.

Jenna concludes,

These moments… these PARTS are most certainly greater than their SUM. These everyday lessons, experiences, moments… no test score could ever measure them. And so, from now on, I simply will not let them.

I love how Jenna was able to change her perspective toward the test, the final projects, the final assesments. I love the wisdom that her teacher friend shared with her, it is definitely a keeper.

My reflection on this post changes my perspective toward My Ends paper we recently completed in class. Yes the end is important, yes the end is our goal; just as the final project or the standardized test. HOWEVER, it is the journey that creates the learning, it is the education. It is the process of igniting the heart toward a change, to do something about it! It is the small stuff that leads the student to do big things. We cannot create that in a lesson plan, nor limit that to a classroom project, no matter how fabulous it is.

Blog Review #13: Conferences Parents Want to Attend

The first post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was Conferences Parents Want to Attend published on the website, Mrs. Beers: A Language Arts Classroom. Erin Beers shares her idea that has won the heart of parents and increased her conference attendance, student led conferences. She has not always done this this way, but in a school wide effort in eliminating parents not showing up to conferences, she knew there needed to be a change.

Student led conferences are attended more, because the students are preparing for the event and are more opt to encourage mom and dad to show up (because there is no surprise of what the teacher is going to say).

Erin says,

With the student being the facilitator of the conference, pressure and stress is taken off the parents wondering what they will be confronted with, students get 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time with parents and teacher to share school experiences, and the teacher prep time for each student conference is minimized as students are doing the grunt work.

The remainder of the post is a schedule of the week leading to the conference in students preparing for the big day.

I am a huge fan of the student led conferences. The skills students are gaining from this experience is definitely worth the time and effort to create them. Students are also more aware of their abilities, skills, and weaknesses in the classroom. I believe they will hold more ownership of their class work during the next grading period, knowing that they will be held accountable to teacher and parents during the conference in the spring.

My Ends as an Educator

imagesJohn Dewey said,

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction (Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, 2003). My ends as an educator are to give my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge.

What I mean by intellectual knowledge is developing important skills and becoming a life-long learner. This is valuable because a typical person will only spend 13 to 18 years of their life receiving systematic instruction through an institution. There is an abundance of truth to the words written in the book, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut, in which Dr. Seuss (1978) says,

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

A person who fluently reads and writes enjoys learning new things; the possibilities for them are endless. I want my students to have the ability to acquire and apply both knowledge and skills.

What I mean by social knowledge is enriching personal growth and developing community responsibility. This is valuable because many people find confusion in the process of figuring out who they are and how they can be a part of their community. Inspiration and guidance can be given to assist students toward understanding social responsibilities and the impact of the choices they make. I want my students to have the ability to participate well in society and organizations.

What I mean by economical knowledge is preparing for employment and understanding their role as a consumer. This is valuable because we do not know what the future holds for us. Schools today; educate the employees of tomorrow. Yet, we are unaware of what tomorrow includes. Basic employer skills and the understanding of one’s role in our economy, I believe are beneficial now and to the unknown. I want my students to have the ability to give significance toward their career and be sensible in relation to money, time, and effort.

What I mean by political knowledge is embracing democracy and acquiring citizenship skills. This is valuable because it is important to prepare our students for their active role as responsible, informed citizens in a democracy. It is advantageous that our students are given a voice, and then empowered to use it. Franklin D. Roosevelt said,

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

I want my students to have the ability to take interest and knowledgeably contribute in the government and public affairs of this country.

In conclusion, my ends as an educator are giving my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge. Not in preparation for life, but for life itself.


What I Wore: Observation

As an Education major we have several opportunities to visit the classsroom. Today, I am completing an abservation for my SPED 3350 class. The goal is to seek how the partnership between the general education teacher and the special education teacher works. It is so important for their to be open communication to better assist these students with special needs. 

Informed Belief Statement with Vision

My beliefs.

book-i-am-reading-a-book-and-a-hundred-more-none-of-them-speak-of-my-xt4j8e-clipartA student is not a blank book waiting to be filled from cover to cover when he or she enters a classroom. A student entering a new classroom is merely beginning a new chapter or a new page within his or her book; whereas, an experienced student will be making some necessary revisions. A student arrives at the classroom with pages and chapters filled with stories, ideas, understandings, and experiences. What is already written within the pages of the student’s book is the foundation for the new knowledge that will be inscribed. The teacher prompts and facilitates the new words upon these pages, by asking questions that will lead them to write additional chapters within their book. This analogy of a book describes my beliefs about learning, teaching, learners, and the role of a teacher.

My philosophy.
My teaching philosophy relates to the established philosophy of education, pragmatism. In the article, Philosophical Perspectives in Education, Cohen (1999) describes pragmatism beliefs as, “reality is constantly changing and that we learn best through applying our experiences and thoughts to problems, as they arise… thought must produce action, rather than linger in the mind and lead to indecisiveness” (para. 7).

My teaching methods.

My teaching methods are inclusive to the constructivism theory. In the article, Constructivist Teaching and Learning, Gray (n.d.) describes constructivism as,

a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge isn’t a thing that can be simply given by the teacher at the front of the room to students in their desks. Rather, knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; learners are the builders and creators of meaning and knowledge (para. 11).

In my classroom, the constructivism theory is put into action through a number of different teaching methods: such as inquiry- based learning, collaboration, critical exploration, reciprocal learning, and procedural facilitations for writing.

My classroom environment.

My classroom environment is home-like and comfortable; yet, invigorating and vibrant. You see bookshelves, lamps, floor-rugs, a reading area, walls decorated with student work, and curtains hung on the windows giving a sense of belonging. You also see a word wall, an objective bulletin, a large activity calendar, individual student mailboxes, and a homework station giving a sense of focus toward working. You hear the voices of students working together on their literacy project, incorporating what they just read in their book clubs.  You smell the aroma of a pumpkin spice wickless candle on my desk, that freshens the room just so. My classroom could be described by a student, as a place where they want to be. My classroom could be described by a visitor, as an environment conducive to the learning process.


Developing my Classroom, One Task at a Time

champsMy EDUC 3302 class has us thinking about our future classrooms! Through tasks laid out in the book, Champs: A Proactive & Positive Approach to Classroom Management, I will be putting together my Classroom Management Plan. This is so very exciting, finally being able to put down on paper what I have dreamed about since I was a little girl.

The first chapter was about vision; defining goals, placing expectations and guidelines of how we “see” our classrooms of the future. Each idea is presented as a task, there are seven of them:

Task 1, Understand How to Shape Behavior

Task 2, Understand Motivation

Task 3, Identify Long-Range Classroom Goals

Task 4, Develop Guidelines for Success

Task 5, Maintain Positive Expectations

Task 6, Implement Effective Instructional Practices

Task 7, Initiate and Maintain Family Contacts

The discussion board assignment asked us to share thoughts on two of the seven tasks with the class. I opted Task 4 and Task 7:

Question for Task 4, Develop Guidelines for Success: Develop your own “Guidelines for Success” acronym that you could utilize in your future classroom. Make sure to develop it for the appropriate grade range, and note which level it would be for. Explain your process of developing that acronym.

Middle School English/ Language Arts Classroom – Guidelines for Success

READ (this would be on a poster that looked like an open book)

R – Respect Yourself, Respect Your Peers, and Respect Your Teacher

E – Everyday is a new day!

A – Always Try

D – Do not judge a book by its cover

In an English classroom one would expect the acronym to be related to reading and writing. These guidelines for success are mini social lessons that apply to the classroom, real- world situations, and when reading books. Respect makes the world go around, Every day is a new day to experience new things, a fresh page to start a new story, always try you never know what you will learn in the subject/lesson/book, and Do not judge a book by its cover it is what is on the inside that counts.

Question for Task 7, Initiate and Maintain Family Contacts: Share your intended strategy for making initial contact with families. Discuss the advantages of contacting all students’ families before the school year begins, and the feasibility of your plan.

Personal story, my kindergarten teacher sent me a letter the summer before school started (thirty-four years ago). My mom still has it and I can still see the big red schoolhouse picture on the left side of the page. The letter was addressed to me from my first teacher. The letter introduced the teacher in appropriate language for me to understand on the front and information for my mom and dad on the back. The message was clear, Mrs. Ellison was excited to have me in her class and my parents knew that I would be in good hands. She cared.

As a middle-school teacher I understand the need for both still exists even when the child is older. A child still wants to know that their teacher is excited to have them in their class and a parent always wants to know that their child is important. This can be a difficult task with possible 150 + I will see in one day. Time limitations as class lists are not made available until the first week of August (or later) and late registrations keep student lists growing and changing. Even with the unpredictability of the list, I would love to start the year off with a positive note. A message conveying that I care. Giving parents and students a little bit of certainty in all the uncertainty of the beginning of the school year. An introduction of their teacher, an expectation of the English class, and an invitation to keep the communication going (a reply card letting me know how to reach them, what are their expectations, what communication type do they prefer, any additional information that they want me to know).

What do you think? Is there anything that you would like to add? Please let me know in the comments!


☕️ Lesson video requirement for the Teacher Education Program College Admission Interview

Today I will share with you a copy of my lesson video (blurred faces to protect the littles).
Jeanie Cullip Teacher Education Interview Video

In this PE Methods of Elementary Teachers Lesson I am bringing movement into mathematics. I am teaching the common core standard for kindergarteners: Counting and Cardinality (#6). Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.

I begin the lesson with a fun activity to warm up the brain and the body; counting to 100 with movement. Then I provide a teaching moment regarding greater than and less than, while getting a feel for what the students know. These kindergartner a did great, so I knew it was time for them to show me what they know through a game. My mentor teacher said it was so nice to watch her students show us what they know in this concept, while having a good time! (Assessments can be fun too!)

Please provide any constructive feedback as I am here to learn!

☕️ Getting parents involved in the classroom

interviewParent involvement is extremely important. Great things happen when a family comes alongside their children in and outside of the classroom. Parent’s that take the time to become involved, tend to have successful students.
At the middle school level, it is important for parents to do the following: discuss school activities, monitor out-of-school activities, contact school staff, volunteer, attend parent-teacher conferences, and participate in other school events. Both communication and providing a variety of opportunities to help are factors to attaining assistance from parents.
Communication is the number one factor to attaining assistance from parents. Beginning day one (or as soon as you receive a class list), I will send a letter (or e-mail) home to them. This letter will introduce myself and include the best ways to contact me. This letter will also have a portion that will need to be returned to me; giving the family to let me know a little about them and the best way to contact them. Attached to this letter will be a handout that will provide them with opportunities they can assist their students at home; as well as, at school. Communication does not end here, a classroom newsletter will be sent home often communicating the needs of the classroom; as well as, tips that parents can use to assist their student at home with what we are learning in the classroom. (I also love the idea of home journals; students write a letter to their family letting them know what they learned that week, then over the weekend the parent can reply. When the notebook returns to school, I can check for completion; as well as, anything that may need to be addressed).
A variety of opportunities is the next factor in attaining assistance from parents. Families are extremely busy with work and home during school hours. Evenings are filled with after-school activities, running errands, dinner, and homework. As a teacher I need to understand that family members cannot all be available to complete the same things, I also understand that not everybody is comfortable in being in a classroom setting. The opportunity sheet I will provide families will give them a plethora of ideas of how to be involved; as well as, a place they can make me aware of what their talents are.
Let’s take a look at communication and opportunities working together – Mr. Johan’s works all day and is a single father of three boys. Mr. Johan’s may not have time to assist in the classroom during school hours, and may not have the time to help in the evenings either. I notice that he stated on his opportunity sheet that he is an artist, so he may be able to make some posters for the Harry Potter Unit that we will be completing in October. I know that e-mailing him is the best way to contact him (it says it on the communication sheet), and I ask him for this favor in the beginning of September (allowing time for him to complete this task). Mr. Johan’s replies with the ability to assist in the opportunity, and his son is excited that his Dad is going to be a part of the upcoming unit (causing parent and student efficacy to increase; relationships have deepened between parent, student and teacher).

How do you increase parent involvement in the classroom? Please let me know in the comments below!