Monday, March 26, 2012

In response to the "biased" CBS report...

     I recently watched a youtube video about Education in America and mentioned that the U.S. is ranked 24th in math, and 21st in science worldwide, just like the CBS news report. However, this report also mentioned where we ranked in reading literacy, and that is 15th. While it's not as bad as math and science, it is still disappointingly low.

     Even so, according to this video, teachers in America teach about 1,080 hours per year and the average primary school teacher is paid about $43,633 while the average amount of hours taught per year world wide is 794 and nine other countries are paid more then U.S. teachers with the highest paid teacher residing in Luxembourg being paid an average of $70,000 per year.

      Lastly, the video touches upon graduation rates. Forty years ago, the U.S. was number 1 in when it came to graduation rates, today we are ranked 19th. Apparently 6,000 students drop out of school daily and 30% of students do not graduate. But with all of these saddening details, what can we as pre-service teachers to do?

Education in America video

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Flipped Classroom

In another class of mine, we gave a presentation on "The Flipped Classroom." This idea refers to teacher-created videos and interactive lessons that are viewed by students at home. This idea was developed when two high school chemistry teachers found it problematic to use valuable class time to re-teach lessons to students that were absent. They then came up with this idea to use technology in a way that would allow them to annotate lessons and post them online. This was great for absent students, but then they began to see just how useful this idea could actually be. They began creating these lessons for everyone in the class. Not only did this allow for an immence amount of added class time, but students were able to come into class with some sort of understanding already and they were also able to come to class with questions. Teachers who have used this approach say that discussions are more student led, and in general students become active learners as opposed to passive learners. While researching on this topic, I came across a website called Khan Academy:

and on this website a man named Eric Westendorf made an entire archive of these interactive lessons for teachers and students to use as they please. Unfortunately, there aren't any videos that pertain to ELA, but I still enjoyed visiting the site and it can also give English teachers some ideas for their own videos that they may want to create. Lastly, I wanted to share this video of "the flipped classroom." I definitely think this could be helpful.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

27 Very Helpful Resources

For our last assignment that we had due in class, I read a very informative article that provided me with twenty-seven helpful digital tools and resources. I just wanted to share them with everyone.

For collaboratively constructing writing:
     Google Docs (
     Zoho Writer (
     Adobe Buzzword ( (
     Mendeley (

For publically sharing notes in response to presentations, videos, or discussions:
     Twitter (
     TodaysMeet (
     SoapBox (
     Notepad (
     WallWisher (

For sharing and commenting on fiction writing:
     Fanfiction (
     Inkpop (
     Pulse It (
     Wattpad (

For creating multimedia books or curations of news stories:
     Sophie (
     Bookbuilder (
     Storify (

For professional organizations’ resources:
     IRA’s Engage (
     NCTE’s Connected Community (for NCTE members:

For sharing teaching ideas:
     English Companion Ning (
     National Writing Project Connect (
     #EngChat (

For sharing ideas for use of Web 2.0 tools:
     Classroom 2.0 (
     Digital Is (

For sharing lesson plans:
     ReadWriteThink (
     Sophia (
     Curriki (

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Mine as well read this..."

In one of my classes today, we had a "surprise guest speaker." She is a Slippery Rock University graduate, that was once a Secondary Ed. major, just like many of us. However, she switched her major to Student Affairs, which deals with all different aspects of students, outside of the classroom. Alongside her mother (who is an assistant principal at a school ? somewhere in Pennsylvania) she holds a workshop called "WRITING DANGEROUSLY" where they "make language come to life" and really engage students. She told us about how sick and tired she was of seeing things misspelled on #Twitter, even by college students. I can agree with her 100% on that issue. I have seen people say things like "I guess I mine as well go home" and "My auto correct keeps changing aint to ain't, why is it adding an apostrophe?" and "I'm so hungry, I think I'll get some Wendies." When you think about it, that is pretty pitiful, but who do we have to blame for this? She does not exactly BLAME high school teachers, but she does suggest that it is our job to make things right! Although this may be a very difficult task to accomplish, especially in schools where many teachers have, all but thrown in the towel and started TEACHING TO THE TEST. She tells us that by "making the language come to life for our students" we can make them gain a sense of appreciation for the English language. Once students have made a relationship with the language they will become better at understanding and practicing it. Although I am not yet teaching in a classroom, I truly do hope that I can impact my students and get them to enjoy the English language, in one way or another. That will be a giant task, but it is definitely one that I am willing to take on.

P.S. I feel like the #statestandards are to blame... #justsaying

Friday, March 2, 2012

CBS has biased reports...

In my Ed Measures class, we watched a CBS video during class. In the video the reporter stated that the United States is ranked 25th in math worldwide, and that the United States is also ranked 21st in science. While these stats may seem unbelievable at face value, there are many factors that can cause such scores to be true. One discrepancy is why didn’t they give us our statistics for history or language arts? Also, you cannot help but wonder how these stats were gathered, given that there is no universal/international standardized test that every country takes. Not only, are these legitimate issues to call into question, but there are other factors to take into account that are more specific to the United States. For instance, in America it is mandatory for all children to attend school, but in some other places like Asia only some students go to school. Another more United States specific factor is that Americans as a whole do not place as high a priority on school. Instead, they place priorities on working, sports and a host of all kinds of other subjects. Either way, it seems that the creators of that specific report were slightly biased in their reporting. Standardized testing is already something that I consider to be an annoyance but reports such as this are not helping the matter.

Podcasting is actually fun

After making the required podcast for class I have seen what podcasting is all about from a first-hand point of view. Before actually making my own podcast, I already liked the idea of it simply from the presentation in class and from the comments made in class as well. After making my own podcast, I see that it is actually very fun. I already thought that this would be a useful tool in the English Language Arts classroom, but now that I know how fun this tool can be, I think I may utilize podcasting a lot more than I originally thought. I think students will enjoy making up funny scripts and listening to themselves when they are finished recording. I will definitely encourage my students to get creative with their assignments and add sound effects, music and other things to enhance their projects. I definitely look forward to using this tool in my future classroom.