Sunday, December 8, 2013

Reflection of my Digital Learning Hub

ED 720 Learning Hub Reflection

This not only a reflection but also a release or  initial announcement for my learning hub. I have been working on the design and understanding of how to create it  for about a month and a half now but felt I needed to really delve into it before I posted. Initially I tried to set up my professional website on a few different sites but came back to google sites because it just seemed easier to be able to access all my google drive documents, pictures, uploads, downloads, etc. from one site. During the past two weeks I have really spent a lot of time figuring out how to add and delete on my website as it was not as simple as working in google docs. I have created links, added youtube videos, images, and all that good stuff that goes into designing a website. I found the most time consuming work to be adding links to all the resources and materials I used in my unit, however those will be very helpful to other math teachers and coaches if they wish to use my Geometry Unit.

My initial intent was to keep it simple and add more bells and whistles to my site as I became more comfortable and experienced working within that medium. My intended audience is teachers and other professionals interested in teaching STEM related material. I have perused many other teacher created websites and found many of them to be very impressive. I plan on trying to make mine have a professional look and provide my audience with helpful information and ideas. Although I am in the beginning stages of creating and designing my digital learning hub I hope it still provides some useful material to educators. I welcome any feedback you think might help to make my site better. In the meantime I hope you like my initial work.

Please visit My Website

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grade 6 Geometry Unit Feedback

Geometry Unit Feedback

I received some very helpful feedback last night  from my classmates regarding my Geometry Unit for Grade 6.   I  also had a few question that I posed as well and now believe I have a clear direction of the student objectives and how the students are going to achieve them.   The first thing I am going to modify or revise is the readiness test that I created in order to see if the students have mastered the Geometry Common Core Standards from Grade 5. If mastered then we will be able to continue into the geometry unit with little review. My feedback was to shorten the length of the test and focus more on the concepts of geometry versus the technical vocabulary or names of the shapes such as identifying particular triangles - isosceles, scalene or right.  Because I was not quite comfortable with the thought of putting less emphasis  on vocabulary, it was proposed that I include a word bank for those who need it. So I am going to proceed with this modification . If the goal is to have students use geometric concepts and skills to solve real-world problems then it may just be enough to initially include the word bank.
Another aspect of the unit that was discussed was, “ who are the students I should pull to work on the unit?”.  Seeing that I  am a math coach and do not have a classroom I will be pulling a small  group of 6th grade students to teach the unit. I decided I would pull the students who perform the highest on the readiness test versus a range of levels to teach. I feel that way, I will be able to dive into the unit with little review/reteach. This will allow me to give better feedback regarding the lessons and students performance due to the fact that it is based on Common Core Standards versus the CMT standards that the students are accustomed to.
Lastly, at least for now, I feel that the materials/resources that I chose for the unit were appropriate and were received with approval from my team of classmates during our feedback session. The materials include, but are not limited to: Geometer's Sketchpad, Shooloo, Lessons from LearnZillion and Illuminations. I also accounted for back-up materials such as protractors, compasses, patterns blocks, geoboards & graph paper, as well as Tangrams; all in preparation for those technological PITA issues that I may encounter.

I plan to start the unit next week and will post the progress and monitoring on my blog.

Monday, October 21, 2013

“Geometry is fun,
technology is cool
and that’s how I,
get my students to love school ! "

Here is just a sneak peak at the Geometry Unit I will be working on for my IT & Digital Media Literacy Program. But aside from being fun and cool there are other reasons why I chose to create a Geometry Unit using technology. The first is that I find math to be one of the most engaging units among students as well as a favorite of mine. Another reason is that I find that Geometry lends itself to not only the left-brain but also right brain thinker so those students those who may not typically excel will show their knowledge and understanding in this branch of mathematics. Its really exciting to see students use what they learn about 2 & 3 dimensional shapes, visual and spatial relationships and make connections between geometry and the real world. And lastly, Geometry is one of the areas of the Common Core that I have not delved into as much as I have with Operations & Algebraic Thinking and Numbers & Operations. So this will help me to better support teachers and students as math coach.
This Geometry unit is geared towards students in Grade 6. The focus of the unit will not only be on teaching the Grade 6 Common Core Standards through technology but will also focus on the 8 Mathematical  Practices and Real Word Problem Solving. Students will first be introduced to the Unit. This will be followed by a readiness test which will assess students prior knowledge of Geometry up to grade 5. Review and or reteach of any previously learned skills and concepts based on the readiness test will be addressed as needed. During this unit of study students will use a variety of materials & resources that will include: Course 1 Glencoe textbook, worksheets, virtual manipulatives, geometry software programs and websites such as Geometer's SketchPad and Shooloo. Students will also use a variety of hands on materials and manipulatives. I would like to assess what the students have learned throughout the unit in various ways such as: open-ended or constructed response items, performance-based items, tasks or event answers, and projects or demonstrations. I am really looking forward to creating this exciting unit and will keep you posted through my blog.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ED 720

My Digital Learning Hub

I think creating a digital learning hub is important for teachers especially because we tend to be creatures who love to share and receive new ideas and thoughts about education. We like to take those ideas and thoughts and then modify them in a  way so that they work for us in our own classrooms. As teachers we still see ourselves as learners and having a digital learning hub is a great way to learn and communicate with other educators.

In one of my assignments on Professional Learning Networks I reflected upon how my online and offline identities would feed or support each other. In that reflection I touched upon what my  online identity might look like, using what I included on my Padlet page and my mind map. My Padlet page was designed for the purpose of having the teachers at my school be introduced to and have access to resources  links that support our Singapore Math Program called Math In Focus. My  mind map was more of a S.T.E.M based design. In combining what I included in both these designs I might use Google as that was recommended. My Learning hub would include information and links to the following:
Math in Focus Program
Connecticut Science Center
Singapore Math Strategies
Youtube Tutorials and model Lessons
Kahn Academy
My Blog Page
Engineering is Elementary (EIE) - Boston Science Museum
Common Core Standards
SBAC Practice Test
NHPS Math In Focus Facebook Page

I believe my next step would be to explore Google and figure out how to set this all up.

Monday, August 19, 2013

ED 714 Reflection: Comparing PLE Diagrams and Plans

As I looked through the various mind maps of my classmates I came across one that really peaked my interest and that was Catherine’s. Seeing that I spent a lot of time in hangouts last week for one of my assignments and Catherine's map was based on hangouts I decided to look into hers a little further . What interested me was that her map outlined the different ways she could use Google hangouts within her school and among both students and staff. At the center was the word Google Hangout and on the left stemmed student activities with hangouts and on the right teacher hangouts. Students could use hangouts as a way to have book chats, ask for homework help, engage in discourse and collaboration. Teachers could use hangouts for professional development, which is where our district also wants to move towards. They  could also engage in book studies, curriculum, and relevant circles through Google hangouts. The fact that you can record hangouts would allow for teachers and students to access or refer to the information that was talked about whenever they needed it. I think this was a very effective and powerful way of showing how she plans to implement hangouts in her school.

My map differed in that I centered my networking around a S.T.E.M theme and addressed how I networked with teachers, students, math coaches and administration whether it be digitally or through other venues. My goal is to expand upon my digital footprint and am thinking about how I could implement hangouts effectively in my school or district as well.

Friday, August 16, 2013

ED 714 Shooloo Tutorial using screencast

My tutorial is on math website that I came across during this summer's IT & Digital Media Program. The name of the site  is called Shooloo. It serves as a forum for math students and teachers to create and post word problems. I like that the sight lets students be creative in that they write their own problem and attach a picture along with it. What is really engaging for students is that it combines math and social media in that it has them follow other students and comment or rate (like) their word problem posts. Although there a variety of things to do within the site my tutorial focuses on how to create and post a word problem. I think you will agree that this could be a very valuable tool in the math classroom. Please view the tutorial below:

My Network Learning Project - Final Post

How to Sell on eBay

This network project taught me a lot. Not only did I learn how to post an item on eBay, but I became more familiar with the functions on my chrome book especially with the uploading, renaming and editing of photos. My initial goal was to do everything using my Chromebook, if possible. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in that goal and spent A LOT of time trying to videotape my network learning project using a power point in Google hang-outs. You may have even seen my testing videos or randomly have been invited to a hang-out! And I thank Amy for posting a video on how to go about doing that but it just didn't work out for me. I did however learn more about hang-outs on air and would love to use that feature in the future.  My final project was done using screen cast-o-matic along with my power point. It was my first time using a screen cast program. Please view below the steps I took in learning about my project.

Now that I know the process I plan to post more items on ebay and hopefully make a small profit!

Monday, August 12, 2013

ED 714 Creating and Curating my Digital Identity to detail the connections in my PLE

ED 714  Creating and Curating my Digital Identity to detail the connections in my Personal Learning Environment

As a member of my school’s STEM committee I am actively involved in the many projects, programs, partnerships, grants, etc. that we have implemented into our curriculum. I decided to use coggle to create a mind map of how and who I currently network with in the 4 branches of STEM. And although they are not all digitally based I added in all aspects of how I am involved in STEM as a platform for creating and curating my digital identity in detailing my PLE. The map shows the association I have with teachers, students, and businesses in the realm of STEM. My hope is to replace or curate more digital practices with, and in addition to, the current connections I have in my PLE.  

Here is my mindmap:

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Learning Project- Selling on eBay

ED 714
Latest Update on My Learning Project - Listing on ebay

The last avenue of research I had outlined in "learning how to list an item on eBay" was the photo. I learned  the following tips from online sources on how to take the best photo for an item on eBay:

use a good camera
use natural light
item should be clean and in good condition
take every or any angle of the object that you can
use a contrasting color for the background i.e. black for light items and white for dark items

Since I was listing 2 children's winter jackets (blue and grey) and a blue iPod as my first items I used an off white background and took the pictures in my backyard with natural light.

Pictures below show the setting of the photos:

Next steps are to sign up, uploads the pictures, write a description, and make a pay pal account. All of which I will be doing on the ebay website.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

ED 714 Connectivism, Curation, etc.

My Understanding of PLN’s

Part of my job as a math coach in my school district is to support teachers who are teaching math. In addition, I am to provide them with professional development on whatever new math program, strategy, assessment, data program , etc. comes our way. So in thinking about how I would demonstrate my understanding of  Professional Learning Networks I decided to show how I would promote PLN’s  within my school community using Padlet as a tool. I focused my Padlet around our Math in Focus Program with an intent to not only introduce the program and give background knowledge on the Singapore Approach but also to slowly immerse the teachers into the various environments in which they could share their thoughts and ideas about math. My Padlet design includes youtube videos, websites for practice, and a blog link for teachers to use and explore. By connecting them to the Padlet page teachers don’t have to wait for my next PD session. They can easily access the Padlet page at their convenience. I think of it as a way to give them a jump-start into a variety of places that they can learn, grow and share professionally. My hope is that the teachers at my school will eventually begin their own PLN that is personalized and of their own professional interest.

Once I started the design (with some guidance and input from my classmate Roisin) the whole concept of what I was trying to achieve became clearer. I would love to truly implement this into my school this coming year. I think the idea of using social media communication in an educational setting would really excite the teachers in my school.

Please visit my Padlet page:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Getting Started with Ebay
Advice and Information

In perusing the internet to find advice on how to begin selling items on ebay I found a lot of information. I initially Googled ebay's site to find out how to sell things and that is listed below

Then in order to get another  perspective on the trials and tribulations of ebay I decide to interview my son’s friend whom I got the idea from in the first place and his interview can be seen below. I thought a first hand account of a novice ebay member would be a good reference for me before I started.

Last week I quickly looked up and kept on my favorites a few more interesting sites regarding ebay sales and found ehow had a lot of information so I will be reading through that in the next few days.

Recently I went on to YouTube to see what anyone had to offer in the way of e-bay advice and found this really great YouTube video hosted by a woman who calls her site “Motivating Mondays”. The particular video I watched so far was in regards to shipping, lots of good stuff in this video and a great ebay selling story. I figured that if  Matt (my son’s friend) had the most difficulty with the shipping issue then I should really look into that aspect of the selling. The video link below went into detail regarding who to use for shipping, shipping prices, what shipping materials to use, etc.

I also plan to investigate how to take a good picture of your item and how to write a description.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cooking with TPACK

Before I began my video on Cooking with TPACK I have to admit that I felt a bit apprehensive about video taping myself while discussing/explaining a cooking activity. Although I am very comfortable in the kitchen I was not so comfortable with the thought of viewing myself in a video. Yet to my surprise it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought and I felt as if I needed to feel a little discomfort in trying something new especially if I expect my students or even teachers to try new things. Here is my TPACK Video.

I tried to keep the TPACK theory  (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge) in mind when doing the video in that I was trying to talk from a teaching perspective while using technology and talking about kitchen items, utensils, and the task at hand. I wanted to start out with something people could relate to or find interesting so I threw in the Man vs. Wild or Bear Grylls reference. I think its important to get your audience interested quickly. I definitely enjoyed doing the activity and using it to reflect upon myself as an educator as I watched how I delivered the material. Please excuse the strange look on my face as I begin the video !

Monday, July 22, 2013

What I would like to learn through the internet.

My initial thought on what I wanted to learn was actually sewing, but more specifically how to properly hem a pair of pants. The thought came from the fact that  I am only 5’ tall and many times when I buy pants they need to be hemmed. And if you are one that needs clothing altered then you understand the hassle of dropping off the item to the seamstress, paying $20 or more on top of the cost of the pants, and then wait 2 weeks to get them back. Its just not  what I look forward to doing when I buy something new. Then when we were discussing in class what were we thinking of learning  someone else wanted to learn sewing, and I decided to change my topic so there was variety among  our class.  

Shortly after, I was talking to a friend of mine who told me how her son just sold a few items on ebay and made a decent amount of money. I expressed to her how I have been wanting to sell some brand new and gently used item on ebay myself. Then, I got to thinking, wait, that's a great idea! I can learn how to sell items on ebay. But not just sell the items on ebay I want to know the following:

What is the best way to photograph an item ?

How to describe and the items for sale ?

Should the item/s run on a bid/auction or should  they be listed  at a set price so a profit is made?

How are things shipped ?

How are items paid for ?  (i.e paypal account?)

And any other helpful suggestions I find online when selling on ebay.

I am really excited about this because I have been thinking of selling items on ebay for the last year now.Wish me luck!

What is TPACK ?

As a math coach and member of my school’s leadership team I was in a group that conducted classroom walk-throughs. My role in the group was not that of an evaluator but a teacher supporter and math content advisor to those in the group who were not math oriented. I begin with this because as I was reading through the TPACK articles I could relate much of what what being discussed as necessary for good teaching with the TPACK framework to the classroom visits and feedback discussions  with the teachers that occurred after the classroom visit. What I connected to was that among our staff of high achieving teachers we do have some that demonstrate better content knowledge but could improve their pedagogy while others deliver the lesson in a way the students can understand but whose lessons would be enhanced if they knew the content deeper .I hope this makes sense and I don’t mean to generalize but I observed a stronger content in the middle school grades (6-8) and better pedagogy in the elementary grades.  That might seem to make sense seeing that the lower grades are teaching many subject areas throughout the day and the upper grades are teaching the same content area multiple times a day.

Seeing that my school is moving towards the theme of S.T.E.M we could all  benefit from more Professional Development in the area of technology especially while making connections with content and pedagogy. So, I feel this situation and this audience of teachers would serve as a perfect forum in discussing what Mishra & Koehler (2006)  detail as the TPACK framework.

Initially I would start with a simple explanation of TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge) using the diagram posted below.

We would then watch the 3 minute video on  the “TPACK in 3 minutes” video by Royce Kimmons. Discussion would continue with why it is necessary to connect the items in TPACK, how it helps our students and how it relates to best practices in order to improve instruction and student performance. In addition I would refer teachers to the article Mishra & Koehler (2008) for a more detailed explanation of TPACK.  Future discussions and sharing of how we are incorporating this framework into our teaching would continue. I think this would be really beneficial to our staff and plan on proposing the idea of working off of the TPACK framework to my school's leadership team in September.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Philosophy

My Philosophy Statement 
In order to begin my philosophy statement I needed to research and revisit the ways of learning from well known psychologists/theorists such as Skinner, Piaget, and Montessori to name only a few. I then began to reflect upon my own tenets of learning. As difficult as it was to narrow down 3 tenets, I came up with 3 that I believe are most important and pertinent to the success of learning. 

My 3 tenets of learning are: 

A safe and respectful classroom environment needs to be established in order for learning to occur.

Students need to see the relevance of what they are learning.

Teacher needs to explicitly model for students in order for them to learn.

A safe and respectful classroom environment needs to be established in order for learning to occur. 
 Classrooms consist of a communities of diverse learners where students can learn from each other, take academic risks, support each other, and value listening and speaking. Therefore it is imperative to provide a safe environment where students and adults are respected, where decisions are made, and students can achieve. Although imperative, setting up a safe classroom can be a challenging task for teachers, especially those who are new to the profession and in my opinion those that teach at the middle school level. The term safe classroom environment eccompasses many aspects of safety, not only the comfort for students to share ideas and learn. A safe classroom environment means teaching and learning how to prevent and resolve conflict and promote anti-bullying. Parental involvement and communication is also another aspect of creating a safe classroom environment. Finally, a safe classroom environment must be a physically safe environment. From my experience as an inner city teacher I am aware of the importance of providing students with this type of setting. When students feel safe at school then they attend school and when they attend school they learn. 

Students need to see the relevance of what they are learning.
It has always been my goal as a teacher to have my students relate the subjects that I taught, in particular math and science, to real-life situations.  I believe in order for students to learn and keep that knowledge, they need to see its significance as it applies to their own lives.  Students need to be made aware of the connections school has to themselves, their home, their community, the world, and to the future. As Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist states, “A person learns significantly only those things that are perceived as being involved in the maintenance of or enhancement of the structure of self.” (Rogers, 1951). This supports the idea that students need to see relevance in order to learn. But showing or pointing out relevance and connections to real-world situations is just not enough. Students need to take what they learn and actually have the experience of applying it. For example, when a student in a Residential Construction class not only learns about the basic building codes, skills and materials needed to build a simple structure they are then assigned the task of building a simple structure themselves. Application of knowledge can be very motivating for students, by making learning fun, interesting and challenging. In addition, incorporation of hands-on activities that allow students to explore and learn through technology will provide them with the skills needed for the 21st century.  

Teacher needs to explicitly model for students in order for them to learn.
Students need to see explicit modeling by the teacher in order to learn. Teacher modeling comes in many forms. Most teacher’s inherently model rules, good behavior, and skills & concepts. Yet using modeling as a strategy goes beyond those aspects of the classroom. It is important for teachers to model how to question and inquire, how to begin tackling real-world problems, and the thought process of reading for understanding and writing comprehensively. When teachers model or demonstrate for students it provides a clear visual that students can work from. I beleive modeling should be an active process in that as the teacher is demonstrating a skill or concept they should also be modeling what they are thinking, questioning and understanding. By scaffolding instruction through modeling it makes it easier for the students to understand, keeps them engaged and helps them learn. 

When asked to write about a psychologist, theorists or educator that opposes my tenets of learning I found that to be a somewhat difficult task. I think many of the views and opinions of these people are valid yet I don’t believe there is one best way for all to learn. As educators we have experienced a diverse pool of learners and thinkers. Some students may learn best through discovery or active learning believed in by constructivists such as Jean Piaget and John Dewey. Others may learn through stimulus, response, and reinforcement as supported by psychologist and behaviorists such as Skinner and Pavlov. Still other students may follow the path of learning best through transformative or humanistic theories of learning, or a combination of learning styles may be involved. I think as educators we need to take into consideration all of the learning styles and theories and use those to assess our students individually and implement strategies that will meet their needs. 

In thinking about the future of education and any concerns I see our society encountering, I would have to say it would be in the area of achievement gaps. Closing the achievement gap between race and gender is one of the top priorities in education especially in the inner city district where I work.  What I believe to be one of the issues holding us back in closing this gap is the pockets of society not viewing education as important or necessary. The challenge we face as educators is showing our students the importance of having an education in order to be successful and productive in life. One of the problems facing many inner city children is going home to families/parents that lack a formal education and therefore do not necessarily motivate their children to realize the value of an education. One solution to this problem could be to find  more effective ways to involve parents and their children in the learning experience.  Despite all the programs offered and the encouragement and effort made by educators, businesses, universities and the community alike it still appears to be a challenge. In addition, the districts where money is available to purchase technology in and out of the schools and train teachers to implement this feature in the classroom the students will become more 21st century ready. Yet for those districts where it is not affordable those students will not be as ready and therefore the achievement gap will widen.



My first blog and a little bit about me. Actually its my second blog, did the philosophy statement first! LOL

Since I was young, relatives and friends of my parents who were and continue to be educators surrounded me.  So, it just seemed natural when I entered the teaching profession. I always enjoyed school and continue to enjoy learning through professional development, collaboration with other educators, and my own personal teaching experiences. Science and math have always been my favorite subjects and those are the subjects I have taught to K - 8th grade students. I am currently a K-8 Instructional Math Coach in the city of New Haven. I work at Hill Central School with a very dedicated and dynamic group of teachers and administrators. We recently formed a S.T.E.M committee in our school and are hoping to make that the theme of our school or at the very least a large part of curriculum. Therefore I am very excited to have enrolled in UNH’s IT and Digital Media Literacy Program. My experience with technology or computers might seem rather limited in that I have taught with a few tools and am involved in limited social media; in other words facebook. I have taught students using graphing calculators, power points presentations, lessons with the smartboard, and incorporated the use of quizdoms into my lessons. I am obviously planning on expanding upon my use and involvement with technology through this sixth year program.

As far as getting to know me personally. I have been married for 17 years and am the mother of 3 very energetic boys. We love to travel, ski, and spend parts of the summer at our family beach cottage in Old Saybrook, CT. I love to cook, read, and spend time with family and friends.  
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