Thursday, May 5, 2011

IMovie PSA Project

NETS-S 1,3 & 4

I used IMovie to create a public service announcement about California State University, San Marcos. Using footage by Jeff Heil, I used the software to create a movie with music, screen effects and transitions all while delivering important content to students, parents and peers about Cal State San Marcos. 


Monday, May 2, 2011

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

NETS-S 1, 3, 4 & 5

A PLN is a personal learning network that utilizes technology to connect and grow with like minded individuals. As an educator, my PLN is a series of tools used such as twitter, diigo, blogs and wikis that are accessed to stay connected to the profession. With the use of such tools, I can stay up to date on some of the latest educational topics such as technology in the classroom, implementing current events into the classroom and creative classroom lesson planning. By connecting with a tool such as twitter, I can join chats and access useful information from my peers and leaders in the field of education.

I am finally starting to slow down so I can realize the impact of my PLN. I am always hesitant about putting myself out there on the web. I was hesitant to get a Facebook account, post pictures and videos, but whenever I take the plunge I can’t imagine my life without it. I am from the East Coast originally, so these tools really help me stay connected to my friends and family back East.

As I read in one of the articles, the concept of a PLN is not something that is too unfamiliar. It is not an unchartered territory; rather it is just reshaping a way to network with others. As a student, it took a while to appreciate the value of my PLN, but once I am able to really learn and apply what I am learning through my connections then I believe I will be a very active member of my PLN.

I chose to follow many students in my 422 classes as well as a few educational experts I found through your Twitter. I decided to follow my fellow students because I am curious to see all of our transformations from pre-req students to students in the program to credentialed teachers.  I am following you because you are posting great and wonderful tweets full of engaging and useful information. I found Nancye Blair on your site and I decided to follow her as well because after reading her profile and blogs that she would offer a lot of ideas used in the classroom. I also found weboword because it is just a quick way to learn something new.

I used Tweet Chat to follow a chat for Social Studies teachers on Mondays at 4 PM (7 Eastern Time). At first it was a little confusing to follow, but then I got the hang of it. I was torn between a chat for English teachers and the Social Studies chat, but as I was researching the two I liked the Social Studies topic better. They had changed their topic last minute to discuss a very relevant current event: the death of Osama Bin Laden. They asked questions like how did you bring it up and how did your students find out. As it was going I had to pause it a few times because I started to get dizzy trying to keep up. The grades the teachers taught varied.

They asked questions about morality like was it okay to celebrate someone’s death? They discussed the person that was tweeting as it was all happening. One teacher spoke of the challenges discussing such a sensitive topic with younger students because some of them didn’t know about 9/11 or who Osama Bin Laden was. One thing that was really interesting was if they decided to forego their previous lesson plans to discuss a current topic. Almost all of teachers felt that current events like this take precedence over the planned lesson.

Many decided to show President Obama’s speech in class and that it tactic that I would have taken.  The entire chat made me really think about the many challenges I will face as a teacher and one of those will be how to explain hardships to children.  I think as a teacher, I will walk a fine line if I teach younger students when describing death, evil and destruction because I may not know their beliefs, backgrounds or if the parents have discussed such topics with them. A few people chatted today that students began their responses with “My Mom and Dad said” because depending on the ages they are so impressionable and may not really understand how to grasp such deep feelings.

As far as my participation with the chat, I decided just to limit myself because I didn't really feel I had anything to bring to the table. I just wanted to observe and learn from them. I just thanked them for their information. 

The sites I tagged to my PLN network on Diigo are the English Companion Ning, Classroom 2.0, The Educator’s PLN, Eductopia and educationalwikis.  As a future educator in this class I have learned that we must form our PLN first of all as a great networking tool. However, as I began to explore the sites I was really starting to see the value behind using our fellow educators as a great source for information.

For example, I added and liked the Edutopia Facebook page so that I could connect with other educators. Edutopia is the George Lucas Education Foundation. Since I have visited the page I have already found many resources to access and sites to add to my PLN including Ideas for teachers. I frequent Facebook almost daily so this is an incredible current tool for me to access seemingly without effort.

I have applied to both the Concurrent Multi Subject /Special Education credential and the Middle School Credential Program. If I decide to pursue Middle School I hope to teach English and as an elementary school teacher I would teach every subject so for me the English Companion site is very valuable. There are groups on the site you can join like Poetry or Teaching Writing. I was so excited to come across this site. As an English teacher, it would be a goal of mine to find new and innovative ways to tap into my student’s creativity through writing so this source is a wonderful place to find new ideas.

The Educator’s PLN is an unbelievably resourceful site for educators. You can access videos and blogs, join forums all while connecting with other educators.  I decided to watch the called “The sad legacy under Rhee: A DC community speaks out” video about the former Chancellor DC schools, Michelle Rhee. I chose this video because I read Waiting for Superman in my 364 class and I was really rooting for Michelle Rhee. The video was discussing the consolidation of two schools and the new was principle that was put in place and eventually fired by Rhee.  The three people featured in the video claimed that Rhee did not unite the teachers, community and the students, but rather tried to create a gap between the teachers and their students.

There were some other articles and forums that I wanted to check out, but as of now my membership is pending. As I said, in the future this will be a great source for me as an educator. 

Journal 9: Teaching Green

Teaching Green by John K. Waters
NETS-S 1, 2, 3, 5
Waters, J.K. . (2011, April). Teaching green. The Journal , 30(4), Retrieved from

This was a wonderful article written by John K. Waters that highlighted the many resources to bring the green movement into the classroom. The article begins by reflecting on the initial push by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and President Nixon to establish the National Environmental Education Act and Earth Day nearly 41 years ago. Since that time we have celebrated Earth Day every April and while there is an awareness of our impact on the Earth there are still many aspects about our lives that need to change.
Waters lists the many many resources that are available to teachers and students regarding a green society.  There were a few key sites that stood out for me including Classroom Earth, A Walk in the Woods, EEK, Power Up, and the Ecological Footprint Quiz.

Classroom Earth is intended for the use of High School students and teachers. It was founded by the National Educational Foundation in partnership with the Weather Channel.  Classroom Earth has a main goal that is to “enhance and strengthen environmental education in high school classrooms nationwide.” It is a site that is clean and simple to navigate. It has topic sections such as “In the News” and “Where in the World”. There are lists of videos, lesson plans and as well as links to other resource sites. Something I found especially interesting was a list for teachers to access regarding professional development and grant information regarding funding for green education programs.

My favorite site in the article was a Walk in the Woods, which is a resource site geared towards urban students 3-5. Here the students can take virtual trips through the woods and learn about the many different plants, trees and animals that inhabit their woods. There is a narration feature both in English and in Spanish.
EEK stands for Environmental education for kids and this site targets students in grades 4-8. This was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an “electronic magazine for kids”. There are sections for teachers listing guides and activities to bring into the classroom. There is also a wonderful section for students called “Get a Job” that lists prospective jobs for students in the future that tare in the green fields.

The Ecological Footprint Quiz was created to “estimate the amount of land and ocean required to sustain one person’s consumption pattern”. This is a great tool for students to realize the impact they are making on the Earth.

And finally, Waters lists the online game site called Power Up. Power Up, established in 2008, is the oldest environmental science themed educational games. The premise of the game is for the players to join a group of volunteers to save the planet. The Planet is suffering due to the many threats to our eco system, extreme weather patterns, and the many gases emitted that are ruining the Earth’s atmosphere.

Q1-As an educator, how can you creatively incorporate sites like these into your classroom?

What I loved about this article is that there are sites listed that are not solely focused on the science minded student. You can use the Footprint quiz in the classroom to ultimately have students reflect on their impact on the Earth and then it can be turned into further lesson plans regarding the physical effect on the Earth as well as the individual moral effects of what we are doing to our planet. The online game site Power Up is a great source for many kids that are live and breathe video games. The goal of this site is to “volunteer” which is the key word to save the planet. Kids that want to make a difference will feel compelled to do well in this game while also targeting the kids that excel in math and science.

Q2-When funding is tight for student field trips, what site could you use to teach students about the environment and why?

A Walk in the Woods is an excellent tool for a virtual field trip. There are pages for students to create a scrapbook. There is narration in both English and Spanish.  The best part about the site in my opinion is the section called Nature Notes that lists the plants, trees and animals found it the woods and information about them.  Also, as a teacher in Southern California, it will be a wonderful source to show students areas of the country that are different than here. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011



Bogacz, Gordillo , R., M. . (2011). Point/counterpoint: should schools be held responsible for cyberbullying. Learning and Leading, 38(6), Retrieved from

This article offers the point of view from two different authors. Renee Bogacz claims that yes, schools should be held responsible for cyberbullying.  On the other hand, Miguel Gómez Gordillo argues that no, schools should not be held responsible for cyberbullying.  To begin with I will discuss the arguement made by Bogacz, that yes schools should be held accountable.

Technology has created many ways for children to threaten and harass each other. Even though this bullying may occur off the school grounds, Bogacz argues that it still affects the school environment. Bogacz claims that there is a community of people that should be responsible for cyberbullying. This includes teachers, administrators, parents and students. Each participate must play their part to succeed in the education and eradication of cyberbullying.  

Teachers must educate themselves about cyberbullying.  They should know the rules and laws against it as well as the resources for the victims. They should address cyberbullying in their classroom and not be afraid to document cases. They should listen to the victims and not dismiss the occurrence as basic child behavior.
School administrators must adhere to the same obligations as the teachers. However, in addition they must establish clear and concise consequences for perpetrators. They must also contact law enforcement when necessary.

Parents must always stay involved in what their children are doing online and on their cellphones. They should friend their children on their online networks and have passwords to their emails, chats, etc. Parents should consistently check their children’s computer history and confront any issues of bullying. Bogacz urges that parents should not be passive because in the past students have taken their own lives because of cyberbullying.

Finally, students themselves are large part of this community. They should stand up for what is right and assist victims when they see cyberbulllying. If they are victims to cyberbullying they should not be expected just to deal with it. They should talk to someone and receive counseling.

Miguel Gomez Gordillo argues that is not responsibility of the school to deal with cyberbullying.  He states that schools cannot be held responsible for issues of behavior that are not within or did not begin in the classroom.  Rather, Gordillo puts the blame on society for not supporting family as an institution. He claims that bullying results because of the weakening of the family.

His response to bullying is love. He claims that children that have received love from the beginning have an automatic vaccine against bullying. Bullying by children is a consequence of the lack of love and support at home. He questions how children can receive love if the parents are gone all day or the kids come from a broken home.

Gordillo insists that the parents are the primary educators of their children. The schools can assist parents by establishing close relationships with them and providing supportive parental resources.  He states that the ways schools can help with cyberbullying by helping parents to recover and establish their roles as the primary educators.

Q1- what would you do as an educator if you found out a student was being cyberbullied by your other students?
First of all, I would make it a point to educate my students from the beginning on cyberbullying. I would create weekly lessons that address this issue and incorporate ways for students to participate in the research and education themselves. 

If the issue came up and cyberbullying was evident then I realize it would be a touchy situation. My first instinct would be to address the situation right away to the entire class, but I would need to speak to the victim. Unfortunately, the victim may feel incredible shame about the situation and bringing it up to the entire class could embarrass them further and make the situation worse.

However, the bullies will be addressed and reprimanded for their actions. I would involve the administrators and parents and punish the students accordingly. I would again in the classroom stress the devastation of cyberbullying and continue to educate my students about it. I would then make sure that the victim received counseling for the bullying.

Q2- Do you believe the argument of Miguel Gómez Gordillo that love from parents is a vaccine against cyberbullying? Why or why not?

While there is a just a fleck of truth to this statement, overall I do not agree with it. It is not a vaccine against cyberbullying.  Whether or not a student is loved it does not keep them from having their feelings hurt and from being the victims of bullying. I believe Gordillo was arguing that love can extinguish the acts of the bully, but again I do not believe this to be necessarily true in all cases. Students can possess many behavioral problems that are beyond the nurturing aspect of their parents.

Also, students may receive plenty of love at home, but they do not feel accepted at school. I am not an expert on bullies, however I feel this is way too broad a statement to make about why bullying exists. I am frankly terrified for my daughter to go to school because I remember how cruel kids can be. I was kicked out of a group of girlfriends many times. One time I couldn’t describe the perfect outfit and another time I wasn’t popular enough! And these were girls that seemed to be very loved at home, but kids can always be cruel. 

Journal 6: Grow Your Personal Network

NETS-T 4, 5

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning network. Learning and Leading, 36(6), Retrieved from

David Warlick’s article on growing your personal network begins by explaining to the reader that this idea of a personal network is not a new one. Rather, we have always called on sources to grow our network. This includes the people in our lives (family, friends, and co-workers) as well as the texts and periodicals we use to learn. However, with the rise in technology he explains that our network is a growing and more information is accessible and delivered by many more people.  Through ICT, Information and communication technologies, those voices that did not have access to deliver information now have a voice.  

It is important in an ever changing world, and especially in technology, to be a good educator we must always be open to learn as well. We need to stay up to date on all of the innovative forms of technology and ways to retrieve valuable information. Warlick describes that there are three main types of our PLN:

1. Personally Maintained Synchronous Connections
This type of PLN is the traditional network that consists of the people and places that we consult to find information.  This is where we turn to answer questions and problem solves. Examples of these connections are Skype and Twitter.

2.  Personally and Socially Maintained Semi synchronous Connections
This is perhaps the best part of information sharing in technology because we are not limited to proximity or time constraints. This type of sharing is not in real time and we can participate based on our schedules and we can multi-task while doing so. For example, we can read and respond to blogs on our own time as well as Facebook.

3. Dynamically Maintained Asynchronous Connections
This PLN refers to our ability to stay connected through sources. For example, if we subscribe to a blog on a particular subject we can subscribe to the RSS feed with our aggregator and the software does the work for us. It will retrieve relevant post and information and relay that to us. In class we learned about Social Bookmarking sites such as Diggo. When searching for information the results contain more manageable and reputable lists of sites to visit.

As educators we are learning ourselves and we need these tools and opportunities to gain and develop skills to remain up to date with society and especially our students. Warlick offers a piece of cautionary advice when he states that it is important to understand the responsibility of our PLN. We are retrieving and then re-issuing this information to our network therefore it affects people other than just ourselves.

He also explains that it is human nature to find sources and people that agree with our view of the world, but he challenges us to find networks that test our ideals. As teachers we will realize that our students are facing an uncertain world filled with the ups and downs of life. We must teach our students to trust in themselves.

Finally, Warlick offers a list of tips to get our PLN started and how to keep it simple. Again, he mentions to be smart about what we subscribe to because it all affects our PLN. He suggests that we remain organized including ways to organize our folders and blogs by subjects and usage.   Many of us do not want to commit to creating our PLNs because we are already so busy and time is limited. Warlick suggests just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to learn something new.

Q1. What are the responsibilities that go along with your PLN?

The article reminds the reader that our PLN does not just affect one person. This is a way to gain information and then pass this information onto others. Especially when developing your PLN for professional reasons, it is important to understand the quality of information that you re-issue. You are developing a reputation for yourself and you cannot issue information that is not based on facts and quality. You should be selective in your choices.

Q2. Why is it important to visit networks that challenge our point of views as educators?

The world is changing. The world always changes and our world views may need to shift as well. As educators, we will have students from all different walks of life and they may have very different backgrounds then our own. We need to realize that everything will not be viewed from our rose colored perspective and we need to educate ourselves to be empathetic.
I am going to follow a twitter chat that is based in Europe because I would like to see the issues faced as well as hear the many ideas these educators have. I believe if we look into a diverse network then we will learn so much about the world. 
Sometimes, our ideas are based on biases and sometimes even generalizations that we didn’t even know we possessed. It is always a good idea to see the other side. Visiting sites that challenge our point of views will show us that other side and perhaps help us to realize and squash the ideals that are holding us back as educators. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Presentation Assessment

Click here for assessment results

NETS-S Presentation Assignment

NETS-S 1, 3

I created an exciting, fresh and unique presentation using the online software called Prezi. The presentation includes valuable information regarding lesson plans to include technology for students K-2. This presentation is a great resource for students, educators and parents.