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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