Monday, May 21, 2012

DLC Reflection

What changes need to be made in education to facilitate a Distributed Learning Community in your present/future schools?

 Dede puts it perfect, we have to "walk to talk". There are lots of discussion about implementing technology and tools to meet 21st century skills, but so's been a lot of talk. We want students to collaborate, think critically and be creative. How can we expect them to this if we are not willing to do it ourselves? In my own school, there are no PLCs or "groups" ..unless you all coach the same sport. So, I think these experiences are vital to implementing DLCs in a building for students. 

One of the biggest concerns I think for teacher's to accept a DLC is to learn to step back from the teacher focused classroom. Long term teachers almost unlearn these drilled beliefs that it should be a teacher centered classroom, "one must lecture for students to learn" (barf..). For this type of community to work, it must be student centered. I know, teachers must teach. However, you don't have to teach with you as the center of attention. We know the material, put the responsibility on the student. Obviously, teachers still have the role of a facilitator and mediator..but everyone must be involved in the work for learning to be effective. 

 Dede, C. (2004). Enabling Distributed-Learning Communities via Emerging Technologies. 
Proceedings of the 2004 Conference of the Society for Information Technology in Teacher 
Education (SITE), pp. 3-12. Charlottesville, VA: American Association for Computers in 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Post Secrets

I think it is important to understand how powerful words are, whether written or spoken. We recently embarked on a six-word memoir project. A project I thought would be empowering to some but apparently boring to others. You know you are to post these memoirs on your blogs and reflect to each class member by Monday. Well, I'm adding to that. Don't click the 'x' yet.

Your next assignment requires you to:
1. Go to the Post Secret Archive @
2. Pick 8-10 Post Secret cards. Note: You cannot pick the first eight you see and call it good. Surf around and find some that really struck you as interesting, weird, odd..etc.
3. Save the Post Secret cards and input them into a blog entry. Under each PS. Card, place the url so we can give credit back to the owner. Then you will write a minimum of two paragraph reflection of the card. Why did you pick it? What did you initially think about it? What do you think it means? Please provide me with something more than, "it was pretty. I liked it". Your reaction to these cards will, and should, vary. Did it upset, offend, incite, or make you giggle?

Once you complete this, please read the hand-out "The Truth Shall Set You Free.." and create another blog entry separate from the Post Secret and Memoir entries that provides a reflection of this writing. This entry has a minimum of five paragraphs and five comments.

Below is an example of a Post Secret reflection. This is my reflection to a current post secret post card.

 This Post Secret stopped me from scrolling farther down the page, instantly. As someone who has worked with families, adults, and children with varying disabilities, I always wondered if parents thought like this. It is easier to work with children or families when you can leave at 6:00 in the evening, than to have that 24/7 interaction. What amazing people this world holds whether it is the individual with a "disability" or the amazing family that provides for that individual. I sometimes wonder if I could be as awesome as those parents I've been blessed to meet and get to know...because like I said, when I get to leave in the evening, they don't. 

Just remember, ladies and gentlemen...words are powerful. Maybe more powerful than you currently realize.

Monday, December 12, 2011

All together now -- Fall 2011 Final

This is one long blog post that showcases a unit created to incorporate all aspects of the instructional design, enjoy! 

Class Selected: AP Literature and Composition 12
Unit Selected: Is that funny? Looking at comedy in literature as a theme.
Project Selected: Literature Circles, blogging, podcasts or voice threads
Anticipated Timeline: 3-week period; fifteen class periods with forty-two minutes each 

Description of Students
Students in grade 12 AP literature and composition are high achieving students. Most students strive in fast paced working atmospheres. There are two students with speech delays and lack in social structure. There are five boys and five girls, for a total of ten students. There are no students with individual education plans or 504 statements.

Unit Description
            AP Literature and Composition will be looking at various pieces of literature and identify the theme of comedy in literature and film. As a primary piece of literature, students will be reading William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost; as well as seeing various adaptations of the literature in class and on stage. Students will work in literature circles to identify vocabulary, areas of confusion, world and literary connections and summarizing the plot. While working in their literature circles, students will blog independently about their reading and discussions. Also, the final project will consist of creating podcasts or voice threads to showcase their understanding of comedy in literature.
Objective(s) & Goal(s):
  • Students will understand the concept of comedy in literature.
  • Students will increase their knowledge of literary time period and author.
  • Students will use their blogs to continue their understanding of comedy in literature.
  • Students will create podcasts or voice threads to share their understanding of the theme, author, and literary time period.
Iowa Core Curriculum Standards: ** Aligned with literacy anchors**
1.     Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2.     Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3.     Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Craft and Structure
1.     Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
2.     Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
3.     Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
1.     Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
2.     Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
1.     Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

I. Blogs and Literature Circles:
Introduction (focus lesson):
·       Teacher will lecture about the author, William Shakespeare, and time period of publishing, 1560’s.
·       Create a KWL about the author and 16th century information.
·       Assign students to engage their own research on Shakespeare and time period.
·       Begin reading Shakespeare’s play in class
·       Students continue to use their blogs that were previously created for independent reading documents.
Literature Circles (Guided Instruction):
·       Groups will be assigned in class for literature circles.
    • Each group member will take on one of the following roles:
      • Vocabulary Finder: person identifies words that are unusual, unknown of difficult. They will cite the location of word and identify the word, as well.
      • Summarizer: person summarizes the text that is read for future reference.
      • Connector: person finds literary connections to discuss in the group or world connections to discuss with literature.
      • Director/Facilitator: person directs the discuss so that members are focused and using time appropriately. This person should come with 2-3 discussion prompts each circle meeting.
  • Groups will meet during class time to discuss their questions, vocabulary words, summaries and connections as we complete the reading of each act of the play.
Blogs (Independent Learning):
    • Each Friday, students will blog independently with their understanding of the literature read, questions they have and connections of comedy.
    • By Sunday at 5pm CST, students must respond to three different blogs to help answer questions or confusions, comment on connections and interpretations.
    • The teacher will provide probing and question throughout group discussion to check for understanding and guide discussion as needed.
Visual Adaptation (guided learning):
  • Students will read in class as Shakespeare wrote literature to be performed. This will help students visualize the concept within the literature.
    • Each act will be read within 2 days. Every third day, literature circles will group for 15-20 minute discussions.
    • Once the literature is read, students will watch a 2010 film adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost and then a staged performance of the same place.
  • Students will discuss differences from the reading, film adaptation and staged performance in their literature circles.

II. Final Projects: Podcasts or Voice Thread Project (Productive Group Work):
Objective: Students will share their literature circle discussion of theme using technology.
·       Literature circle groups will decide if they want to create a podcast or voice thread.
  • Students must include researched information about the author and time period which literature was written.
    • Both groups will create a theme for the recording.
    • The teacher must approve idea.
    • Groups must write a script for the podcast or voice thread.
    • Groups will record their podcast or voice thread.
    • Groups will edit and re-record as necessary.
    • Students will publish their podcast, or voice thread, and publicize their recording for others to listen.
    • Podcast will be played in class and students will reflect on recording.

Materials Needed throughout unit:
Love’s Labour’s Lost text, film and play access
Internet Access
Garage band or Audacity software

Further Unit Analysis
GRR Framework:
This unit follows the GRR framework as the focus lesson for the unit involves the instructor lecturing on the author, time period and text being read. The students create a KWL as a class to track what we know, want to know and final knowledge of identified topics. As for guided instruction, students will read in class the assigned literature, spend small bits of class time discussing in their literature circles and then final project for the unit. Students work within small literature circles for literature discussions and final projects. This aspect of the unit follows the productive group work section of the framework. Finally, student’s blog to narrate their questions, concerns and understanding of the literature, theme within literature and visual adaptations presented during class time. Their blogs showcase their independent learning throughout the unit.

Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) and Cyber Citizens:
The project for this unit falls under the matrix in the authentic adaptation characteristic. As described by the matrix, “Students begin to use technology tools on their own in activities that have meaning beyond the instructional setting“ (TIM).  As the instructor, I create instruction that integrates technology and provides access to information via my own blog. As the unit progresses, I direct the students to the choice of technology tools for their final project: podcast or voice thread. I try to allow as much access to the Internet as possible.
As for instructing students to research their own information to add to the “L” (learned) part of the class K-W-L chart, I will include a lesson about “strategic searching”. Within this class lesson, the goals are as follows:
  • Understand the importance of using a variety of search strategies
  • Master new strategies for effective and efficient online searches
Students will discuss the difference between effective and efficient searching by asking how they search for information using the Internet. The sole purpose of the lesson, allows students to continue their own research of the author and literary period to better understand the text being read. This lesson provides information to the students that will lead them to be better cyber citizens.
21st Century Classroom and Universal Design for Learning (UDL):
            Throughout this unit, the learning environment has adapted the characteristics of a 21st century classroom. It is a primary goal to keep the classroom student-centered. It would be evident that students are at the center of learning and the teacher facilitates the learning through the use of the small group discussions and whole group discussions while reading the assigned literature. Also, the purpose of small group discussion provides opportunity for collaborative learning and the teacher is able to provide questions and probes throughout discussions. As the discussions continue, students engage themselves in challenging texts that include reading Latin, iambic pentameter and “old English”. As the unit continues, I will check for understanding as we use graphic organizers such as the K-W-L chart for students to think and demonstrate their understanding of the literature and literary period. While the students create their final projects, they are involved in designing the concept, problem solving when issues occur with groups or technology, and decision-making. There are multiple means of presenting information as students can choose their final product and their continuous blogging throughout the unit.  As students continued to read the literature, participate in literature group discussions there are probing questions to check for understanding; this is considered the formative assessment throughout the unit. Throughout the unit, I provide feedback via blogging on individual blogs. Upon the completion of the final project, students will listen to each project and provide feedback to each other. As for teaching for learner differences, students are aware for the learning goals from the beginning; these are posted on the board until the unit is completed. The projects encourage the students to engage in self-reflection via blogging, collaboration via final project and blogging, and their learning choices via the options of the final project. Throughout the unit, students work in a variety of settings whether its whole group, small group or individual settings.
            The Universal Design of Learning has three principals that are incorporated in the stated unit. Throughout the unit, information is presented in various formats; for example, the lectures are done verbally and visually. Also, the literature is presented through text and two visual adaptations for the students to interpret. As the unit continues, there are multiple pathways for student expression and actions; for example, the blogging allows students to express their concerns or understanding of the information provided. Finally, students are provided multiple activities that speak to their interests and items that motivate them. The final project appeals to various interest areas that engage students in multiple areas, as does the option of a voice thread. The use of technology should provide motivation to engage peers in discussion and learning.
Conclusion of Unit and reflection:
Overall, the students will engage themselves in literature of the past, historical information, technology and collaboration. By the end of the unit, students should be well versed in specific literary knowledge and technology (blogging, internet searching, podcasts or voice thread tools). While looking at all the aspects of the instructional design, my future planning has been altered. From this point, there will be parts of my instructional design that will be forever focused on appealing to all learners. The focus of the universal design of learning, a 21st century classroom and the technology integration matrix are important tools that will assist me in further planning.
            The combination of various forms of literacy will appeal to the different learners of the group. Several students have a difficult time reading classic literature; however, providing a visual adaptation of the literature the difficulties should decrease with a visual representation to connect with the textual reading.  As literacy changes over the years, our classrooms should change as well. So, we should appeal to all learners in a student-centered environment. This is easily achieved when considering all aspects of instructional design.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Universal Design for Learning and iPad....geesh

Despite this project involving the oh-so-awesome iPad, I recently had a conversation with my principal and tech director about having iPads in the high school. If I had the choice of a Macbook and an iPad, personally, I would choose a Macbook. Don't get me wrong, I have my iPods, iPhones, iPad and could say I'm a fan, but despite my own addiction to Angry Birds and running man, I was not sure how an iPad could function in my classroom. So, that had me thinking of why we all want to put the tablets in the classroom now. The first obvious answer is the coolness factor. When you bust out your iPad, eyes glow...yes, I do understand....they are cool (and cute, I mean look at those little iPad monsters..ahhh) They replace the average notebook...not like my students can remember to bring these anyways, but maybe if it's the iPad it will magically change that situation. A student mentioned that he did not want an iPad because he couldn't multitask. I can understand this concern but I think it would be more beneficial to not have this capability thing at a time my young learners, one thing at a time. The access to content and information does grow with an that is an obvious plus for the iPad. Okay so, iPads are cool, sleek and nifty; got it.

So, initially I thought I wanted to find 10 hoppin' apps for the iPad. That was more difficult than I anticipated because in the language arts/literature realm of iPad apps..its simply the reading via the iPad apps. Reading: Shakespeare, free realm texts and mind mapping. So, I took that information and begin a conversation with a colleague who works with a student one-on-one in the school. She has to become pretty creative in her lessons with the student and as we began discussing the thought of an iPad in her realm, we both concluded that maybe it wouldn't really matter. This thought of UDL or differeniated instruction, would be nifty and fun for one side of the partnership. I think this might be the same in my classroom. We both agreed that every student should have options for various aspects of classroom learning. It really shouldn't be a "my way or the highway" mentality at this point. There are too many avenues for students via the use of technology. So, in conclusion, the use of these apps could be beneficial from the eBooks, writing apps, management apps and games; but it's all within the realm you need them. Having this technology should not replace you as a teacher but in fact enhance the information you are trying to give to the student(s). I think we can all say that we use the UDL design but it might be titled something different.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holy cyber citizenry, batman!

To this day, I still remember my first screenname: Tigger8342. I also remember waiting ages for AOL to connect, so I could play games on Oh, and I also remember my dad informing me that if I were to talk to strangers on the internet that the police would come to our house and take me to jail...needless to say, that terrified me.....
UNTIL I realized he lied. Then as I got older, I embarked upon the many online communities without a care in the world. I never really got into too much trouble....until that one day. Back in the day, the coolest chat tool was ThePalace. Once I convinced my father to allow me to download this client, I began communicating with anyone and everyone...I even began creating my own palaces and inviting people, of course this made me feel uber cool. Everything was fine and dandy....until my computer was hacked on a Sunday afternoon. My parents were upstairs screaming at the Dallas Cowboys and I was screaming at the computer screen in the basement "Noooooooooooooooooo". I was not sure really how to handle the situation being a ten year old. So, what is a girl to do when her computer is being hacked by a stranger? I unplugged it and ran upstairs, obviously. Long story short, my dad was beyond mad..and I lost computer priviledges for a long time....

As someone that has been immersed in technology from Kindergarten on, I think it is very interesting to see the lack of concern as we join the online communites...whether via Facebook or any gaming device. We give out all sorts of information to others using various mediums. As a unit, I created a unit for helping students become been cyber-citizens. I think this is incredibly important as what we put online can certainly come back to haunt you. So, while you might not be concerned now, please consider your future.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reading Journals: Loves Labours Lost

As we are reading these various pieces of literature, use your blogs to document our understanding of what is going on. I found a great resource for reading journals as you read Love's Labours Lost
Vocabulary: For each journal, find four words you do not know.  Then list them with their definitions.

 Reading Journal #1—Due 11/2/11
Read Act I.
Analyze the creation of humor in Act I.  Cite specific devices/examples that create humor, offering full analysis.
 Appositive phrase, repeat-word modifier
 Reading Journal #2—Due 11/4/11
Read Acts II-III.
Characterize the style of language used by the following characters, drawing upon Acts I-III.  Give specific examples of each with analysis.
 Present participial phrase, analysis modifier 
Reading Journal #3—Due 11/6/11
Read Act IV, Scenes 1-2
Characterize the style of language used by the following characters.  Give specific examples of each with analysis.
Don Armado
Past participial phrase, balanced sentence
 Reading Journal #4—Due 11/7/11
Read Act IV, Scene 3
Analyze Berowne’s speech, 4.3.285-339.  How does he prove the men aren’t forsworn by loving the French ladies?  What is the progression of his argument?  How does he convey his argument through rhetorical devices, and what is their effect?
 Colon with a conjunctive adverb, absolute phrase
 Reading Journal #5—Due ____
Read Act V, Scene 1 and Scene 2 through line 309
Choose a character featured in this reading assignment.  Put yourself in his/her shoes and explain his/her thoughts and feelings about the action.
 Adverb clause, colon with a list
Reading Journal #6—Due 11/9/11
Read Act V, Scene 2 through the end of the play
Trace the idea of truth/lies in the play.  What does the play imply about the relationship between truth and love?  Between truth and language?  How does this apply to human life?

Good luck!