Elephants in the Classroom

Teachers get the benefit of being active in a classroom every day, which means they get a better view of what our students are really learning and how much they are actually learning. I believe teachers should have a huge say in how our schools run, rather than someone who is never really in a classroom.

My eyes were opened to a lot of things that take place in school after I read 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room that Should “Unsettle” Us. I found this article really interesting and that teachers and administrators need to also read this. A few of the “elephants” that stuck out to me the most are the three below.

  1. We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.

This one really stuck out to me because I have been this student before. I have tried to memorize what is going to be on the test so that I can get a good grade. But that is not what school is supposed to be about. School should be a place where students go to learn about their passions and want to be engaged. Students should leave school every day knowing that they learned something important to them. If we focused on teaching students’ relevant material, maybe students would become more engaged and motivated to learn and not just get good grades.

  1. We know that most of our students are bored and disengaged in school.

Not many times do we hear students get excited about going to school. Why is that? It is because school isn’t fun or exciting. Sitting in a desk for nearly eight hours gets old and boring. I think if school was more hands on and activity based that students might enjoy their time at the school instead of dreading it. I also think if what the students were learning was something they were interested in, it would make a huge difference. As a future teacher, I want students to enjoy coming to my class. I want it to be a fun learning environment where students want to participate and engage in the lesson. We as teachers hold this responsibility of motivating and engaging our students.

  1. We know that we’re not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success.

When I was in high school, students would always ask, “When am I going to use this in the future?” This is a great question. When are students going to use some of the material and content they learn in school, probably never if it doesn’t pertain to their future job. Instead of learning how to do taxes or budget properly, students are learning material that they most likely won’t use depending on their job. As a learner, I wish I would have learned more about real life situations that I am now facing as an adult. I would have loved to learn about living on my own, and how to budget in college. As a future parent, I want my children to learn about healthy lifestyles. I think learning how to eat healthy, and the importance of exercising is a key factor in living a happy life!

We send children to school so that they can learn how to be a productive citizen. Instead of preparing them for the future, we are so focused on curriculum and content that doesn’t seem relevant to life. I believe there is a lot of great things that we are teaching,but we could do better! We need to step upto the plate and take a stand.Elephant

Photo CC BY Pinterest

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Learning at Different Stages in Life

School hasn’t always been my favorite thing to attend. I loved elementary school, but as time went on I felt like I was bored. I only liked a few of my classes, but it was still up to me to absorb everything that I was being taught. I really loved my math classes, my Government class, and my Ag classes. Just because I didn’t like the other ones didn’t mean I could doze off.

Now looking back at high school, I wish I could have learned based on my passions. I understand this is a kind of a hard to incorporate into every class, but it would have been nice. I noticed that I gave more effort in the classes that I enjoyed. As I reflect on the class that I am taking this semester, Literacy in the Digital Age, I am seeing more ways to incorporate passionate learning.

Through my ILP I have learned to let your passions lead you. I chose something that I really wanted to focus on which made me become a better learner. I got to learn something every week that I was interested in learning, which honestly made learning so much fun. I looked forward to spending a few hours to myself just focusing on my ILP. This class has opened my eyes to several ways I can be a better teacher in the future through independent-learning-projects.

As a teacher, it is extremely important to have an innovators mindset. I found this great quote in The Mindset of an Innovator, “I build upon what I already know, but I do not limit myself to myself. I am open to and willing to embrace new learning, while continuously asking questions to move on.” I found this quote by George Couros absolutely amazing. This is so true, and as a teacher it is our jobs to continue to advance with the generations to come. I plan on incorporating ILP in my classroom, so that students get the opportunity to embrace their own passions! I think freedom in the classroom can go a long way. Not only does it let students enjoy their passions, it allows them to do research on their own.

I also want to be a parent (I’ve always wanted to be the best mom ever)! I want to allow my children to become their own person. I think letting children have time to play lets them explore and with that comes lots of their own learning. By letting children play, you are allowing them to be independent and focus on what they want to. I think freedom also plays a role in childhood and parenting. As a parent, it is good to let children make mistakes and learn from it on their own. It may be hard, but it could be great for your children to make some decisions on their own.

We will all go through different stages and phases in our lives. We all have the opportunity to be passionate about whatever it may be. And it is never too late to decide to follow your passion in life. We can be life-long learners by embracing new things and keeping up with the generations to come. We will have to stay life-long learners to be advanced in the teaching department.

Another great article to check out is Learning. It not about Education. This article touches base on some different ideas that is good to be aware of as a future teacher!

Learning Quote

Photo CC BY Pinterest

My Life as A Learner – Digital Story

I am pretty nervous about this blog because my digital story is different than the ones I have seen so far. I did my digital story based on how I became the learner I am today. Volleyball has always had a huge impact in my life and so I used volleyball to base my digital story on. It took me quite some time to complete this digital story. I didn’t know what program to use and then I found wevideo. It took me a while to figure out how to actually use wevideo, but after googling and watching youtube videos I figured it out.

Volleyball is my passion, which has led me to where I am today. Volleyball made me who I am. I learned so many life lessons through my coaches in volleyball that I want to share to my students and athletes in the future. I have had some amazing role models in my life and I aspire to be just like them. It may seem a little silly that volleyball has had such an impact in my life, but it is the sport that encouraged me to want to be a coach and a teacher. I want to impact and change students and athletes lives just like my coach did for me.

When I was younger, my family went through a divorce and it was tough on me. But I had my siblings who were great and helped me overcome this obstacle, but I also had volleyball, which was like my escape. After school, I would look forward to going volleyball practice before going home! I loved the competition volleyball had. I am still a very competitive person, and I always want to win!

Volleyball is my life. It has shaped me into who I am today. I am so lucky to have a sport that I love!

Below is my digital story! I tried to incorporate some different effects. I use some background music along with my voice some pictures. Then towards the end I made a video of myself talking (it only took me 11 tries to get it down). I was very nervous and I still am! I hope you like it. Check it out!

https://www.wevideo.com/view/1023923581

 

Overall Independent-Learning-Project

I can’t believe how much I have learned about myself from my ILP! I chose to focus on my faith and religion. I wasn’t sure this is what I wanted to do for my ILP when we first started this, but looking back I am so happy that I chose this. My ILP has made me a better person all around. I truly believe I have learned how to be a better Christian. Yes, I still struggle with things. I mean who doesn’t, nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I still sin, and don’t always make the best decisions, but I feel so much closer to God. One thing I have gained from my ILP is how important prayer is. I pray more than I ever have!

Before doing my ILP I had so many unanswered questions. From a young age, I started writing down all the questions I had about the Bible. I got to answer a lot of those questions. I also found so many different sources to use to find answers. I learned a lot about what the Bible had to say. I also could go to different classmate’s blogs and see what resources they had used. I think it is great to have tools to use!

Some weeks I was really excited to spend time on my ILP. But other weeks I had so much going on in my other classes that I wasn’t that excited. I felt like I needed to focus on my other classes and homework as well. But since my ILP was part of my homework it helped motivate me to focus on my faith for an hour to two hours a week. I think it was a great thing that my ILP was part of my homework. It ensured that I completed my hours and focused on what is really important to me, my faith.

The best part of my ILP was the last book I read, Since Nobody’s Perfect… How GOOD is good enough? I am still reading this book, but honestly it has opened my eyes up to what I thought was being a good Christian. I am so glad I got this book. It is amazing and it has so many great questions and answers inside it. Reading this book has been my favorite part of my ILP.

Before this class I never really heard of an Independent-Learning-Project. Now that I have experienced one and really enjoyed it, I think I would definitely use this in my future classroom. I would incorporate ILP in my classroom depending on the age of students I had. I think if I had upper elementary students I would use this in my writing lessons. I would have my students decide one thing they really wanted to focus on. I would give them about 30 minutes a week to research and find their answers or whatever it might be. After two weeks, I would have my students write about what they learned during their time. I think my students would enjoy this project because they get to choose what they focus on and their writing would be fun because it is in their interest. I remember when I was in elementary school I hated getting prompts because I wanted to write about what interested me!

I really loved my Independent-Learning-Project! I am so happy that I got the opportunity to focus on my faith and become a better Christian while answering so many questions! Every weekend I got to tell my mom about what I had learned and it helped us bond together. I definitely recommend finding an ILP and focusing on it for at least an hour a week!

Christian Quote

Photo CC BY Pinterest

Apps/Sites to use in your Classroom

This week we learned a little about adding graphics/visuals into a classroom. I read about different apps to help you create the perfect image for your students. I began to download some of the apps. The first app I tried to download was Piktochart. That wasn’t an option in the app store so I downloaded info.graphics. I couldn’t get this app to work at all and I am not sure why.

The next app I downloaded was Canva. Right when I signed in, it give me a lot of backgrounds to choose from. It wasn’t hard to use although I think it would be much easier on a computer not a phone. You can change the background to one of your own pictures, change the color, font, and size. I think it is easy to use and fun! I instantly fell in love with this app and I am kind of excited to use this in the future for all sorts of things. One project I have already thought about is having my students use this app to make a flyer for an activity happening at the school. I could pair students up (depending on age group) and have them use their creativity to make their own flyer. So I decided to create my graphic/visual about my independent learning project with the app Canva. This is what I created and I love it so much!

Trust Flyer

The next graphic/visual I made was on pixton.com. This is a comic site where anyone can make a comic. This was super easy to use. Once you sign up it begins to take you through a tutorial. I learned what all the different buttons meant and how to use them. I think this is something my students could use if they were upper elementary. Just having students create their own comic would be a great project and I think my students would love this. So I created my own little comic strip. I didn’t make that many, I just messed around a little bit!

Pixton

So once I was done with my actual homework, I went back to Canva and created my own little flyer. I was just playing around trying to find some new things to use and I created a pole vault camp flyer (it was just for fun). I love it and I think this app is something everyone should try out!

Pole Vault Flyer

I also visited this site Take 5: Comic Book/Strip Creation Tools. It has a few different sites that you are able to make comic books/strips on. I found this site a helpful tool. I didn’t even know about any of these sites or apps, but I sure did have a lot of fun with them!

Podcasts and Digital Storytelling Say What??

I’ve never really just listened to a podcast. I always felt like I would enjoy them, but never took the time to actually listen to one. So this week we got the chance to listen to some podcasts. When I read “Serial” podcast I thought, “Okay that sounds a bit creepy.” But once I started reading about classrooms utilizing this type of podcast, I began to feel intrigued. One site that we were to visit was What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts. I found this article a great tool for any teacher. I think using podcasts in a classroom setting is a great idea. Students will advance their listening skills and podcasts are also more interesting to some students than reading an old historical story. Podcasts may also help students work on their analytical skills.

We also got the opportunity to view different digital stories. I think this would be something great to incorporate into a classroom because of all the benefits. I think using digital stories in a classroom allows students to use creative thinking. Students could create their own digital story which would help some of them work on public speaking, creativity, and also sharing a part of their life with their fellow classmates. After reading Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling, I found out the digital storytelling also helps students work on cooperative learning, listening skills, organizational skill, and time management. This article also includes a few ideas for lesson plans on digital storytelling.

Although I do see some disadvantages to podcasts and digital storytelling. Podcasts depend on listening skills, which may be difficult for students who are mostly visual learners. Students may struggle to understand the concept of the podcast because there aren’t pictures to go along with it. I also think that for a teacher, it may be more time consuming to create homework assignments or tests over there specific podcast. For digital storytelling, I think a disadvantage may be how much time it would take to do a full lesson on this topic. If students were to create their own digital story, it may take a while, which could cause a conflict for other content areas.

I think that after reading different articles and listening to my own podcasts and digital stories, I would definitely try both of them out in my classroom. I would have my students listen to a podcast story a few times and then see how my students do on an assessment or just ask if they like it better. If I saw my students scored well on their assessment I would probably continue to use this method. I would also try digital storytelling. I think I would set aside time each semester for my students to do one. I think my students would have fun being creative and writing their own story.

I was really surprised to see that teachers would use a murder podcast in a school setting. I think my mom probably wouldn’t have agreed with that. She is kind of strict on the types of movies and music I watched and listened to when I was younger.

Overall, I think this was a great module and I am excited to use this in the future. I think this is a great learning experience for me and I hope to see other teachers also incorporate this into their classrooms. This has really opened my eyes.

 

How to Get to Heaven Part I

This week we had the choice to write about our ILP, and I couldn’t resist not to just dig into my ILP even more. I wanted to share what I have been learning about this week with you all. So I did something a bit different this week. Instead of answering a question that I had about the Bible or my faith, I began reading Since Nobody’s perfect… How Good is good enough? I got this book from the Bethel Church here in North Platte and I decided to pick it up and start reading.

After reading the first page I was intrigued and couldn’t stop reading. It was talking about if your good enough will you go to heaven? Which made me think about how “good” I have been. But what is the guidelines for what is good and what is bad? We all have different opinions about this topic. As I read further into the book, the author, Andy Stanley, brought up the same idea about what is good and bad. He stated that what we see as good and bad changes over the course of your life. Is there anything that you used to think was good and now reflect and say that was bad?

I couldn’t stop reading, so I just continued digging deeper in this book. I came across a good question, “If God is so good, why didn’t he do a better job of declaring his expectations for us that we don’t have to live our whole lives wondering where we stand?” That question is something that I just keep pondering on. The Bible is written for us to follow, but have you ever just sat down and read the Bible. It’s pretty hard to understand. Why? I just don’t get it.

The book also used this next analogy. What if you went into the first day of school and your teacher just said to prepare for the final. There won’t be any more classes just show up to the final. Wouldn’t that just make you crazy? What do you do to prepare and pass this final? This is kind of how people see the directions for getting to heaven.

I am excited to finish reading this book over the course of the next few weeks. I am only at the beginning, but I am intrigued to see where this book takes me. The book has so many great questions and does an amazing job relating to real questions that I have been pondering.

Do good people go to heaven?

How good is Good

Photo CC By Antonya Schaffert

Mindful With Our Technology

 

When I read the title for this week’s module I didn’t know what to expect. But the second I dove into reading the material I became interested. This week we are focusing on mindfulness. I am so glad that we are talking about mindfulness because I think this is really important in today’s society. When I say mindfulness I am talking about how we use the internet and technology.

When I think about the times I use my phone, I realized that sometimes I am not being respectful or mindful of the people I am around. For example, sometimes my roommate is talking to me and I am only listening to about 40% of what she says. Now thinking back, I find that to be rude and something I need to work on more. There are other times such as when I am on a date with my boyfriend that I rarely use my phone because this time is for us to be together and not on social media. I would say that I am in the middle of being mindful. I could definitely work on it, although there are some people way worse than I am.

I think one thing that is so important is family time. You know sitting around and just sharing your day and laughing with the people you love. My family has a rule that there are no phones at the table. If you are on your phone it is taken and put in the phone box (which is an empty coffee can). I think that this is a time when we need to be more attentive and just enjoy the time we have with the people who love us and who we love. Another time that I see so many people on their phone is during class. I think one it is so rude and disrespectful to be on your phone while the teacher is working hard to ensure you are learning. I’m not saying that I am never on my phone during class, but sometimes I see students never take their eyes off their phone. I mean what is the point in going to class if you’re not even going to listen.

Once I read about the Moment App, I went and downloaded it immediately. This app tracks how often you are on your phone and much more. Once I learned about this app, I told some of my friends and they went and downloaded it too. We were taking guesses at how long we would be on our phones! I am excited to hear their results. I think this app can really help you be mindful of how often you are on your phone. I have only had it downloaded for about a day and I have been more mindful.

After reading the article What Happens When Teens Try To Disconnect From Tech For Three Days, I could relate to what I had read. A few years ago my family went on a cruise to the Bahamas. Since we were in the middle of the ocean we weren’t able to use our phones. At first I was freaked out like “What am I going to miss? I won’t be able to check my Instagram or Snapchat or talk to my friends.” Let’s just say I was panicked. But by day two, I began to feel relief and just have fun! It was kind of nice to not have to worry about my phone.

I think we all need to work on our mindfulness and not using as much technology!

I found this great tweet!

Technology is dangerous

Photo CC By Pinterest

Update on my ILP

I am super happy with my decision to focus on my faith and religion for my independent learning project. I have learned so much about myself as a Christian but also how to make better decisions that will please my Lord! My whole life I have had all sorts of questions about the Bible and now I am doing the research to find answers to my questions!

In the last month, I have visited a few churches here in North Platte. I have enjoyed both of them greatly and really loved the messages, music, and the friendly environment. This last Sunday, I went to the Berean Fundamental Church with my volleyball team. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I instantly fell in love. The music was fun and songs that I had heard before. Once we got to the sermon, the pastor started talking about marriage (which is crazy because just a few weeks ago I was thinking about studying marriage for my ILP). He started off by talking about what the Bible says about men and women in a marriage.

1 Peter 3:5-6

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham Calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Women are supposed to submit to their husbands. Now this is something that always seemed unfair to me because why aren’t husbands supposed to submit to their wives? So I listen closely. He said that when two become one, the women is to help the husband complete their mission. This seems unfair again because what about the women’s mission and goals?

He continued on about wives and then went into the husband’s role. The Bible says that men should honor their wives. I thought “Now were talking!”

1 Peter 3:7

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the women as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

But what does it mean to honor your wife? The pastor continued saying that honoring your wife is to lay down your life for you wife like Christ did for the church.

The sermon was amazing, but I am still a bit fuzzy because I feel like wives are just supposed to do whatever their husbands want and that doesn’t seem fair to me. So as a future wife, how am I supposed to follow the Bible in this aspect? I feel like marriage should be equal where each person respects each other and helps one another reach their goal.

Overall, I am absolutely loving my ILP. I have been answering some questions of my own and also thinking about more questions. I feel like I really have become a better Christian, which was my goal. I have been to church more often than normal and absorbing the message. I think that even after this semester is over, I am still going to try and devote two hours a week to my faith and religion.

The picture below is my volleyball team at church! I think we all really enjoyed the time together while learning the gospel.

Church with vball team

↑↑This is me!

Photo CC By Sally Thalken

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