Examples of Blog Post Assignments By: Courtney Mathis
Links and Videos By: AnnMerritt Taylor

Blog Post Assignments

*Read Some of You Won't Make it Through the 3rd Grade

Blog Post Assignment #1

* You write two paragraphs about yourselves, so no links or videos.

Blog Post Assignment  # 2

* Watch- Did you know?

* Watch- Mr. Winkle Wakes

* Watch- Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

* Cecelia Gault (Young Student in Finland) Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
   - Read Laura's Blog Post
   - Read The Scholastic Article

* Watch Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts at Edutopia

Blog Post Assignment  # 3

* Watch "A vision of Students Today"

* Visit Kentucky State University

*Read It's not about the Technology

*Read Karl Fisch's Is it ok to be a technologically illiterate teacher?

*Garys Social Media Count

* Follow up video suggested by Brooke Broadus

Blog Post Assignment  # 4

*Read Don't teach your kids this, please?

*Watch the iSchool Initiative

*Watch the Lost Generation

*Watch Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

*Read Jenifer Chambers response post

*Watch teaching the 21st Century

Blog Post Assignment  # 5

* Read or Listen to 3 or more of the following and summarize them
1. Eagle's Nest Radio and Class Blog
2. Langwitches Blog and Podcasts
3. Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

4. Practical Principals
5. 100 ways to use your iPod to learn and study better
6. The Education Podcast Network
7. Judy Scharf Podcast Collection

Blog Post Assignment  # 6

* Watch

* Check out Wendy Drexler's Blog


*Read Why Smart boards are a dumb initiative

*Read Why I hate Interactive White Boards

Blog Post Assignment  # 7

* Watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. It's over an hour and 15 minutes, but it's so good, you won't even realize it.

Blog Post Assignment  # 8


Blog Post Assignment  # 9

* Read What I've Learned this Year

*Continue to read the blog At The Teachers Desk

Blog Post Assignment  # 10

* Read An Open Letter to Educators

* Read Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home

Blog Post Assignment  # 11

* Watch Little Kids.. Big Potential

*Watch this skype interview between Dr. Strange and Mrs. Cassidy with Mobile Me

Blog Post Assignment  # 12

* In this blog, you create your own assignment, so there are no links or videos.

Blog Post Assignment  # 13


Blog Post Assignment  # 14

*Metaphors Special Assignment

Blog Post Assignment  # 15

* Blog Post Final Exam/ Reflection

Blog Post Assignment #1

I was born and raised in Mobile. I have one sibling, a sister, Nicole who is ten years older and married to Andy Harshman. They have been married for four years and live in Tuscaloosa. They recently had their first baby, Eden a.k.a Edy. Eden Claire Harshman is an adorable baby girl who was born 8lbs 7oz on December 1st.  My niece is a big part of my life and I go to see her and spoil her as much as I can, she is everything to me. When I am not in Tuscaloosa visiting my niece I am in Mobile going to class and working.  I am a nanny for The Scaturro family and there are three childern in their family Grant, 4, Makienzie a.k.a Maki, 6 and Jordyn, 12; i love my job.  I also enjoy  traveling in my free time for instance last year I went to Universal Studios and New Orleans, the year before I went to New York, and the year before that I went to Italy.When applying for colleges USA was never my first choice in schools but after my first semester here I fell in love with the school so I decided to stay. I stayed because USA had everything I wanted in a school for instance, the classes are not too big but also not too small either and I have never had a professor who did not know my name. I chose education because many years ago I decided that no matter what career path I chose I wanted to work with children. Then, in high school I worked at a daycare for four years which is where I found out education was the right career path for me. I am an elementary education major but I plan to get my graduate degree in History in hopes of having a wider range of jobs available to me after graduation. I hope to attend The University of Alabama for graduate school because it has such a good history program.

Blog Assignment #2
Did You Know 3.0This video was really interesting. It shows how quickly new technology is being developed, and how it has grown over the last few years. My favorite segment in this clip was the one about text messaging. It said that today, less than ten years after the very first text message was sent, there are more texts sent daily than there are people on the planet. It is incredible how fast things can develop into worldwide phenomenon's. The clip also shows some statistics about the huge populations in other counties, specifically China and India. Even our language is still growing and developing. The video showed that there are five times as many words in the English language today as there were during Shakespeare's time. Technology is growing so quickly, and this video proves it, that we can not hope to understand it all. But this video also shows that we have to learn as much as we can, if we don't then how will we cope in 20 years if technology really does keep developing like this video says it will.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
This is such a good example of how schools operate. There really is not much about schools that has changed in the last hundred years. Computers are integrated into some classrooms, but not as much as they could be. The majority of the educating community still teaches with the same techniques teachers used when they were in school. As a college student I get bored when my professor stands up front and reads out of a book, so I know grade school students must get just as restless. By introducing more technology into your classroom, and teaching the students skills instead of random trivia, there is a higher possibility that you will be able to keep their interest. Some teachers are incorporating these kinds of things into their class room, such as the teachers that have their students create blogs. I know in certain subjects, such as history and english, it is probably hard to find a way to use technology with the students. But I want to be the history teacher that researches and finds tools and techniques that will make my class interesting to my students.

The Importance of Creativity
We are educating kids for the future. Sir Ken Robinson makes a really good point when he says this, it is something to think about since we really don't have any clue what will be happening five, ten or fifteen years from now. He focuses on persuading children to be creative,and offering more subjects that use that creativity in schools, rather than just the basics that all children are required to study. We are preparing to be teachers, and if we want our students to be creative then we also have to be creative. To be good teachers we have to know and understand what we are teaching, but to be great teachers we have to take the initiative and research new and creative ways to help our students learn. We have to think like Sir Ken Robinson, education should not be the same old thing set in stone like it has always been. We should focus on each child's creative talents, and use the interests that child has to help them learn.Cecelia Gault Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
It is such a great opportunity for Cecelia Gault that she was able to interview Robinson. I wish more kids had opportunities like these. Robinson talks about how creativity is not limited to certain people, everyone has the ability to be creative. In my classroom I hope that I will be able to get all of my students to find something that they enjoy doing, and getting them to use those interests to help them learn. Also Robinson says that there is no set definition of intelligence. I think that this is a great concept, all children learn differently. There are some children that just learn things very quickly and there are others who have a hard time understanding certain things. But if you take the child that has a hard time grasping a concept, and introduce a creative and fun way of learning that concept, then there is a possibility that they will pick it up rather quickly if they are having fun doing it. I love history, but many students do not. I want to take the students that really are not interested in history, and show them that it can be very interesting. For example; a jock, he does not like history but loves football. I would try to find football analogies that would grab his attention and apply them to my history lessons. There are also many sites available that utilize games to make studying for history fun. I want to introduce sites like these to my students so that they will not feel that studying for my class is a hassle, I want to make it fun.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
I love that the students at this Georgia school are able to take a class like this. I wish the students in Mobile County were required to take a course like that one. Really not just students in Mobile but students everywhere should be introduced to these technologies. The things that her high school students are learning how to do I am just now learning to do in my junior year of college. Knowing how to use those tools can open up a lot of opportunities for those students. I also really liked that the teacher did not define everything for her students. She made them take the initiative to search for answers. But she gave them all the tools that they needed, they just have to know how to use them. I hope that more schools begin to offer classes like these. They are such great tools to introduce students to what is going on with other kids their age around the world

Blog Assignment #3
1. Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students TodayI liked the project in general. I think it would be a great assignment for classes every year. It would be interesting in how those answers and statistics change. However, I would have added students voices or background music to hold the viewers attention. I am ADD so the silence, along with the camera bouncing from one scene to another, made it easy for myself to get distracted.

When it comes to the actual statistics and whether they reflect my personal experiences, it would probably be fifty fifty. The 26.5 hours a day fact really hit home. I almost always feel like there are never enough hours in a day. I work 25 hours a week and take 15 hours of school. So add those together and try to balance having a social life, not easy. Also for the internet statistic, 3.5 hours a day online, I thought it could have been divided. At first it seemed extremely high, but then I realized I was only thinking about social networking spent online. When I factor in the amount of time I spend online for school, it could very well be 3.5 hours.

2. Read the post "It's Not About the Technology" by Kelly Hines
I really enjoyed this article. The part about teachers not using technology that's available to them is just wasting money. I wish some of my previous teachers from high school had been assigned to read her article. I had so many teachers who wasted the smart boards that were in their classrooms.

I think that it is so important for teachers to use new technology. It is not just because of the technology, like Mrs. Hines said, but it is also a gateway to better understanding our future students. It's also so important for teachers to be willing to learn. If we as teachers are not educated on technology of the present, how can we ever be expected to prepare our students for their futures?

3. Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
I loved this post. I thought it was outspoken and entertaining. I really like his comparison between parents admitting to never being good at math and parents admitting to never being good at reading. We've all heard it; Parents laughing to math teachers about how they never succeeded in that subject, but it's so true that we never hear adults laugh about not being a strong reader. It was something I had never thought about before. I also liked his comparison that teachers refusing to become technologically literate is just like teachers fifty years ago refusing to read and write.

I also really enjoyed his overall tone and sense of humor throughout the post. I felt like he was picking on his co-workers and friends, but in a light-hearted playful way. It's a good way to approach any negative situation actually, with a positive attitude and thick skin. I will definitely be reading more of his posts in the future.

4. Gary Hayes Social Media Count
The social media count is insane! When it comes to my career, it's a firm reminder that I better keep up to date with technology because trying to catch up would seem impossible. It also shows me just how fast everything is evolving. There is no doubt that we will be teaching kids to perform jobs which don't even begin to exist today.
I put a copy of his social media counter on my blog just to remind myself how important it is to stay up-to-date

Blog Assignment #4
Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

I agree with him 100%. It is true because some parents and older teachers are scared of social networking and computers for some reason. If we teach our students how to use the technology correctly then they will be able to get around problems. I do not want to be in a class that does not want to help students grow in all fields because I will be behind. I do not want to be left behind so teachers please teach the kids about social media. He has received numerous awards for his work in technology workshops.  Watch The iSchool Initiative: I think it would save money and help educate our country in a more technologically advanced place. With saving money then possibly lowering our taxes or helping lower country’s debt. All of the applications that you can already upload onto an Iphone or ipad will help dramatically getting started and going with iSchool. We can have them personalized for teachers and students, but the best thing the parents would be able to follow homework, stay up on grades and most important be able to talk or email teachers. I would spend the little money it cost to help buy these for students if I had a business and wanted a tax write off. It might be considered tax deductable through charity.       The Lost Generation: IT has all been said about my generation that we can not keep this country together, and that we care too much about what is on facebook. Well I do care and so does my generation about all that this country and what our world turns out to be. I thought the technique was great on how she stated something but in reverse it was opposite. I would not mind trying to set up a video like this.  Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir:I think this is pretty nice how you can use the internet to have a show choir. They also sound great to my ears; if I heard a recording of this I wouldn’t have been able to that this was done online. This would startle the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven if the heard this and you told them it was done online. They did not have records back then and we know can have a 185 person ensemble choir. Teaching in the 21st Century:It is pretty close to all being true. We have evolved from just reading books and doing lectures to helping them with blogs, twitter, and actually teaching them how we can use Google to help us find information on research papers. I am going to be strength and conditioning coach but believe me I’m going to help my kids and others how to use what I’m learning now. We have gone from a classroom that is local to one that is global and it helps students learn

Blog Assignment #5
Eagles' Nest Radio
This was adorable. I'm so inspired by how this teacher mixed ancient history with modern technology. There are so many different aspects. The kids really learned about Roman culture and had to form opinions about it as well as thinking of how they would have felt being a Roman. They also learned how to put together a script and create a podcast. Finally, they had to work hard to achieve such expression in their reading. I love that in the picture they're also dressed as Romans to add another dimension to the lesson.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom.
This video showed two great uses for podcasts. First, podcasts are a great way to reach students who miss school. Instead of becoming stressed out about what they may have missed students can simply go to their class website and listen to the lecture from their home computer. This would also be a great way to give students extra information since it is in a media that they are already using. Giving students the option to listen to a podcast rather than read a chapter in their books will increase the number of students who prepare for class. Second, podcasts are great for project based learning. Students can act, read aloud and create all of which make for a more engaging learning environment.

Judy Scharf Podcast Collection
This post had a lot of great information for creating and teaching podcasts. The entire lesson plan was laid out including how much time was needed and what information was covered. Ms. Scharf makes teaching students to create their own podcasts not only feasible but fun. I cannot wait to try this in my own classroom. Students will be so excited to do a research project if they know it will be broadcast over the internet for their family and friends to see

Blog Assignment #6
The Networked StudentI found this video to be interesting and informative. It demonstrates the power of technology on the learning of todays student. It also tells of the many steps and tools a student can use and take to become well informed on the subject that one is researching. It also tells how a student can provide links to the research that they have done so that their research can be used by others.

The question was posed "Are you prepared to teach a networked student". To this any one of the students in school today should answer "I had better learn to be".  Because it is becoming more and more necessary for teachers to be current on todays technologies and current research on the subjects that they are going to be teaching. a teacher today must have a vast "PLN".

However, I think that the video takes away the importance of what a teacher should be. According to this video a teacher is a person that gives the student tools to find the answers for himself, but I think a teacher should also be readily available to give the students more guidance than this video leads us to believe is being given. Granted one tends to retain knowledge that one has to earn (research), but some students learn from the knowledge of their teachers also. Once I become a teacher, I will try to tread the fine line between giving my students the tools to learn and learning the subjects for them.

A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment 

In this video I learned many new things about organizing my tools that I will need to use while expanding my PLN.  I found it interesting how she was able to set up her personal network with all of her sources easily accessible and able to give credit to all sources to avoid plagiarism.  This will be a helpful video for making my own PLN more professional looking, and still be able to keep up with my social networks like Facebook.

Critiques of Smartboards

In these two blogs both men feel that smartboards are a waste of money and are of no benefit to the children or teachers.  Given the points that are made I can't see any fault in their arguments, but I have not had the opportunity to use one let alone in a classroom setting.  Once I have the chance to use one I will better be able to determine my own feelings on their usefulness in todays schools.  They also both make the point that it is just something for administrators can spend money on without knowing if they are even helping a child or teacher in the process of learning

Blog Assignment #7
Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture
My heart was beating faster than normal as Randy Pausch's astounding last lecture came to a close, with so many things resounding in my head. I want to do better. I want to be better. And not for the good of myself.

But this Blog Post isn't about that. It's about the techniques Mr. Pausch used in his lecture. Here is not where I say "Well, he used a powerpoint and some visuals..." No. The first technique of his that stood out to me was his organization. Now, when I say that, think of an ordinary conversation between you and your friends. Not your aqauintances. Your friends, and while we're imagining, imagine your best friends. The conversation is rather flee-flowing, correct? None of it seems planned or premeditated; the talking simply happens. It's natural, as all conversations between friends should be. Likewise, Randy Pausch's speech is natural. Yes, we know he's conversing with an audience and not his best friends, and yes, we know that his speech is in fact premediated. Notwithstanding, he presents it in a fashion that appears flee-flowing and natural, which is how speeches and lectures should be conducted. There's no stiffness. Yes, he stumbles here and there with a word or two... but who doesn't? The thing is, we don't concentrate on that. He picks himself right up and keeps going.

From the aforementioned we can assume that Randy Pausch did a lot of planning, which is another technique behind his wondrous lecture. Although everythinjg seems natural, the slides, pictures, stories and examples are there for a reason. He didn't just present them in his presentation in the order which he located them or thought of them. Everything in a lecture must planned and exact. It's not an accident.

A third technique of Randy Pausch's is his confidence. Yes, he is a college professor with years upon years of public-speaking experience under his belt, and yes he has numerous friends, and yes he is exuberant, funny, entertaining, likeable... wait a minute. Did he get like this over night? No. He spoke. You know, I must interject here that to do good things does not take rocket science. How do writers write so well? They write. How to do runners run so well? They run. How do speakers speak so well? They speak. If you want to gain confidence with speaking... the answer's simple. Speak! Get in front of a mirror, your brother, sister, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, puppy, etc. And speak. You will gain confidence. Randy Pausch has confidence, not because he was born with far more than just adequate speaking skills, but because he did it time and time again. We all want to listen to a confident person.

And lastly, I want to mention one more technique Randy Pausch used. He made us think. Think about brick walls, think about that "the best of the gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap," and that being valuable is being good at something. He didn't just spoon-feed us a lot of statistics, graphs and facts. He made us really think, which is what a lot of our assignments in EDM310 are stressing for us to learn how to teach our students. We don't want them to just know things. Anybody can know something. We want them to come up with their own revelations and ideas.

One more thing I'd like to mention. I have a childhood dream of my own. It's to write a book and get it published. Ever since I was a small child I wrote, whether it was a five-page book about pancakes (then spelled 'payunkayks' by yours truly) when I was 5, a 100-page book when I was 14, and now a work-in-progress-novel which is currently over 70,000 words long. It's speeches like Randy Pausch's which make my dream seem a little less like a dream, and more like a reality. Thank you Randy.

Blog Assignment #8
Richard Miller - This Is How We Dream"I believe we are living at the moment of the greatest change in human communication in human history." How true is that! In this video, he talks about writing and the changes of writing with technology. Before, people went to libraries, check out books, wrote on paper. Now, you buy books online or download them, we use Word Processor to write, and google things we do not know instead of using a dictionary. He also talks about an article he wrote through the internet as an incremental change, not fundamental change. He didn't sit down and actually write it, he just typed it up and clicked save.
I see the good in both of these. Like I've said and my opinion hasn't and I don't think it will change, we should only use so much of technology. I think it's a great thing! I also think kids learning how to write on paper and read in a book is a great thing. We just have to know how to balance those two and incorporate both in our teachings. I can't imagine writing a long paper or book for that matter on paper, but I do know how because I was taught that. I was also taught how to type a paper and research online, as well as a library. I think it's important our future students know both ways, as well. In high school we always had to have resources from both books and internet for our papers. I couldn't agree with that more. I hate to see actual books and libraries be replaced by technology. I think we are at a balance of the two now, but it looks like technology will soon be taking over the way we learn and that's a scary thought for me. I want my students to know how to do things without a computer and I don't want them to rely on technology. We live in a great big world with tons of resources that are being ignored; for example, the use of libraries now or just being outside and learning from nature. Kids never go outside anymore, there too carried away with computers and video games. It amazes me how many cool things you can do with technology, but people forget how many cool things can be done without it, too. In all, I'm all for technology and couldn't live without my laptop, iPhone, or internet; but I know how if I had to. I know how to balance the two, use them equally, and know how important each is. I hope to teach my students the same.
In part two, he pushes technology with writing and presenting. He is right, it is fascinating and you can't not be interested in it. I believe teaching technology is a big deal and kids should be exposed, taught, and use it; as well as being exposed, taught, and use a library.
Our future is now; this is how we dream

Blog Assignment #9
“What I’ve Learned This Year”

Mr. McClung really gives a new teacher and future teachers great advice. I am so glad that he shared his personal experience of being a teacher for the first time. I only have two years left and I pray that I am in his shoes one day but at least will have his advice and words of encouragement with me.

Mr. McClung begins by talking about “How to Read the Crowd.” I can already just within this short time period of college see where I can turn my future career into an “All About Me as the Teacher” mindset. He talks about how that mindset takes away from the students and is not a good way to start off your teaching career. Yes, you will have others watching you and critiquing your work as a brand new teacher but your focus must stay on the students because they are the ones that are being greatly affected by your actions.

He then goes on to talk about “Be Flexible.” I am so amazed at the teachers at my son’s school. They all live by those words in their classrooms. My son’s current teacher told me that being flexible is the only way to survive, otherwise you will drive yourself crazy trying to stay on a strict schedule and do everything perfectly. They are children and things are going to happen and other events are part of the day in the classroom. So her advice to me was “Go with the flow, you will eventually get everything in that you need too.” I believe that is what Mr. McClung learned his first year too. I think his paragraph “Be Reasonable” goes with this too.

Next is “Communicate.” I cannot even begin to stress how important communication is. I worked for many years in an environment that requires constant communication with not only other employees but customers too. It makes the biggest difference to not only lean on one another for support and to pass on advice or ideas but it makes the job so much easier. Also talking to your students is very important, that is one of the most important ways to take care of your students. Communication is one of the biggest keys to success. I believe this also falls in line with Mr. Clung's paragraph about “Listen to Your Students.”

One of the most important points in today’s world is “Don’t Be Afraid of Technology.” This is so important because students are leaving teachers behind in this aspect. The students of today will have jobs that involve technology or be all about technology by the time they enter the work force. How can educators not help these students be prepared for this life. Yes, technology is intimidating but if you just try it, the things you learn and begin to use you will love and become a huge part of your life. You will also be able to help your students and they will be better prepared for their future.

Last but not least, “Lastly....Never Stop Learning.” The title says everything to me. I am 32 years old and returning to college to finish my degree I started many years ago. I believe though that I am learning more now than I would have learned 10 plus years ago. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to return to school and finish my education but I hope that once I receive that diploma that, that is not the end of my education. I cannot wait to get in a school and learn from other teachers that have been teaching for years. I look forward to learning from my students too. I know my son who is in first grade now has come home all year long and taught me things that I did not know. So to be able to continue to learn whether it is me sitting in a classroom with an instructor or whether I am the instructor I hope to learn and grow in any way I can. I agree with Mr. McClung, “we owe it to our students”.

Blog Assignment #10
1. Morgan Bayda's link toDan Brown's video about the eventual death of the educational institution got me to thinking (and laughing.) What if he's right? What if the institution is on a death spiral and it will eventually cease to be relevant to today's society? He made some good points, and I could see where he had given this a lot of thought. Information--facts--are free, and more than just without a price, information is "liberated."

If you want to know something, you don't have to ask someone to teach you. You can find out for yourself with Google. It's easy. The internet has opened the door and in a way, is waiting for us to catch up. While I, like Ms. Bayda, won't go so far as Dan Brown did and quit school (I quite like learning from others), I have to admire his initiative. He took his education into his own hands when he wasn't satisfied with what he was learning in the traditional way.

However, I think that if we can combine the two--self-motivation and the classroom--the problems Dan outlined would cease to be of issue. The good thing about Dan is his desire to actually learn. Unfortunately, while we as teachers may hope our students share his interest, the hard truth is something much less attractive. Students often don't care about learning, and it's hard to get through to someone who refuses to have an open mind about their own education. They just want to get in and get out with the minimal amount of effort or interruption.

The truth is sad, it's true, but watching Dan's video oddly enough gave me hope. Instead of watching education slip into the void, perhaps we can thrust it back into being a worthwhile endeavor. Maybe by using some of Dan's ideas and by encouraging students to explore and find topics they are interested in learning about, we can stop the education slippage and reverse any damage that the frozen-in-time system has done to the image of the educational community. It's worth a try, at least. What harm can come of it?

It is because of my reaction to this video that I feel a strong connection to Ms. Bayda's response. We both came to some of the same conclusions and I realized that while I may "enjoy" some of my traditional lecture classes, I much prefer my online PLN to learn and grow. I can not only talk to people with the same ideas as myself or read about what's going on in the educational community (like I'm doing right now on Morgan Bayda's blog), but I can take the reins on my own education. I'm not hindered by those expensive text books that, like Dan Brown, I find that I never open. I'm free to explore and make my own decisions about what is important for me to learn. Is it so crazy to think that's a good thing? I think it's only natural considering the vast amount of information and knowledge available to us today via the internet. It'd be crazy not to use it, quite frankly.

2. Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home made me laugh, and despite how easy it is to make me laugh, I wasn't laughing because I was amused in a "happy" way. It was more of a "wow, it's hard to believe (but I can't help but believe) that some people are more worried about test scores than learning" sort of amusement. If that makes any sense. I think what I mean to say is this: there are the image type of teachers and then there are the student type of teachers.

Mr. Johnson clearly illustrated the two types, both polar opposite of the other, in his narrative about something as simple as letting students take their pencils home. His description of the long-titled Gertrude being upset about the "wasted" pencils calls to mind the image of Dorothy's stingy neighbor, Miss Gulch aka The Wicked Witch of the West, who begrudges anyone anything and hates all things cute and irregular. Mr. Johnson portrays (hope he'll forgive the allusion) Glinda the Good Witch, who is always willing to work with others and try to make the world a better place, in this story, one pencil at a time.

The simple idea that pencils at home are the gateways to lower test scores and silly behavior (The Wizard forbid they play Hangman!) is just plain ludicrous to right minded individuals, or so you would think and maybe hope. The raw fact remains though that there are a frighteningly real number of people in the educational community who think like Gertrude. They see only the numbers, the raw facts and tangible proof of student successes, like test scores, and the mere mention of anything that might affect those scores--no matter how trivial--will throw them into a fit of outrage.

As a future educator, I know that in all likelihood I will have to deal with someone like that in my career, and since most of those types are often in positions of power I will more than likely have to bow my head in some sort of submission in some way or other in the future. I know that while test scores are still held up on a pedestal, they will still be viewed as the right path. It's undeniable, try though I might to dissuade the believers in high stakes testing from their set ways. I'm going to have to make compromises, though I doubt they'll be for something as simple as a pencil.

Blog Assignment #11

Blog Assignment #12
Visit the blog:


The lowdown: A second-grade teacher with the pseudonym Mrs. Mimi dishes about the crazy side of teaching.
Why We Love It: Fantasies of throwing down with that colleague who –rummages through your desk? Horror field-trip moments that have carved a permanent groove in your mind? Faculty-room shenanigans that rule your day? Thanks to Mrs. Mimi, we never have to feel alone.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Mrs. Mimi, “It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in my frustrations.”

Visit this post and choose to comment on one of Mrs. Mimi's  posts, I think it is important to know that teachers do struggle and students need to know what they are getting into and weather they can handle it

Blog Assignment #13
Alex is a way to connect students, teachers, parents, and pretty much anybody that is in the education field to help with information on what is required to be taught. It has a place that includes areas where it gets updates from such as a community. You have areas where you can search for anything you want. I put in a search for football and it came out with lessons that you can do in math, stats, and economics to name a few. Has an area with educational podcasts on any subject you are teaching. Has an area with different technologies that could be used to help you as a teacher which are some of the same I learned in edm310.

Alex is a great website to work with no matter what you are teaching. Most of the areas are actually all of the areas will help you succeed as a teacher. Go into the lesson plane area and put in major and grade and it comes up with lesson plans you could use for that subject. When I start teaching this is going to be a great website that I will go to at the begging of my career.

What is ACCESS should be running through your head. Well it is a network that will connect you with teachers and students across Alabama. Mostly in the areas of distance learning which comes in handy no matter what age. It gives you extra courses for credit in college to high school students that are enrolling in to college. It is a different way to get your technology courses going without the extra stuff needed or money. The main goal for access is to give Alabama high school students a way to get additional education offerings in school before graduation.

Blog Assignment #14

Due to the tricky nature of metaphors (sometimes), Dr. Strange has assigned this post as a response to his response to our responses to John Spencer's post that uses the metaphor of pencils in place of computers/technology to respond to the existence of resistance to said computers/technology by some education professionals. Wow, that was a mouthful. Glad I only had to type it, not say it. Otherwise, I'd be here all night. Here are the questions Dr. Strange asked us to answer:

Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head, " why do you think you understood the metaphor?
What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them? (Include in your list of metaphors all those that you encounter whether the source be oral, audio, video, print, or your own thoughts)
What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?
Why do we use metaphors?
Of the questions, the last is the easiest for me to answer. Metaphors are used to put a concept into terms that someone can understand. Problems arise however, like they did with the pencil post, because the metaphor is not one that is commonly used. Often people used metaphors without even realizing they are in fact speaking metaphorically. Human communication is rife with metaphors. When someone says, "It's as cold as ice in here," they don't mean it is actually 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. They are simply using the phrase "cold as ice" to add emphasis and explain how cold it is. We understand the metaphor because it makes sense, and we know ice is cold, and if someone says that, they must mean it's not a normal temperature.

But why do we use metaphors? I like to think that it's because people are natural story-tellers. Why say exactly what we mean, when it's so much more interesting to spice things up with a metaphor or ten? See what I just did? Yeah. I used a metaphor. We can't help it. Metaphors, as a writing device, are exceptionally useful to reach wider audiences. If you are writing a book about...screwdrivers--go with me here--you want people to read the book, but also understand what you mean while you're telling them all about the history of the screwdriver. If, for instance, the screwdriver was invented, not as a tool, but as a weapon, you might want to use the metaphor "it cut through the muscle like a hot knife through butter." We all know butter is easily melted, so it stands to reason that a hot knife would slice butter very well, and anything that was said to do that to muscle must be very good as a weapon. (I know that was a weird use of metaphors. Forgive me.)

Since I started at the bottom, I am going to continue going up the list of questions. SO, question three: how can we teach metaphors? What a question. I say use metaphors to teach metaphors. What better way to learn what a metaphor is than by example? As a future English teacher, I'm going to have to teach metaphors, or how to spot them, in my classes, so I like to think I have a pretty good handle on the topic. But then I thought about it some more, and I realized that teaching metaphors is like trying to teach a dog when to bark. They already know How, they just need to know the When and the Why. That all comes down to a person's mental capability. They have to have the ability to stop, look at something, and peel away the layers until the metaphor becomes clear. Dogs know how to bark. It's natural. Just like everyone knows how to use metaphors. Often, we take that knowledge for granted and miss the obvious clues in front of us. Maybe those people don't have a sense of humor like Dr. Strange proposed, or maybe they're thinking too hard, or not thinking enough. But the cues are there. We just have to learn when to bark so we don't annoy the neighbors or let a burglar steal all our stuff.

As to whether or not I understood the metaphor about pencils, I can't really remember. I think I got that it was a metaphor, but I might not have taken the step towards computers/technology like Dr. Strange wanted us to make. In fact, now that I think about it more, I know I didn't get the metaphor. I interpreted it a bit differently, and more along the lines of "teachers who are stuck on the grades and test scores" way of teaching students. To tell the truth, I'm not really surprised that's what I read and understood. It's a topic that isn't far from my mind at any given time. High stakes testing is a sore topic with me, and I can argue for days about the so-called benefits of standardized testing to students. (I don't believe there are any.) And if you head on over to my response to that post right here, you'll see my opinions in full.

Now to summarize. Metaphors are everywhere. They happen without us trying to use them, and sometimes when we do want to use them. Metaphors are useful for making a topic that is hard to understand, easier for someone to grasp in terms they can relate to. When a metaphor is used properly, it can enlighten readers. When it isn't, it can lead to further confusion. Often the misunderstanding of a metaphor is not due in any part to the misuse of the metaphor itself, but merely to the expectations of the audience. Prior knowledge and information about the subject being described metaphorically is needed in order to fully grasp the concept.

As to why I and a majority of the class misinterpreted the metaphor about pencils and computers, well...I don't know. It is a conundrum to be sure