Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Belief Essay...(Review)

 What did you discover about yourself? What was fun? Rewarding? Difficult? Easy? Also, discuss how you might use video inside your future classroom. Well, where do I begin? What I discovered about myself while making this project was that if I really enjoy a project I will want to make it really good. Although it was difficult to think of pictures to add and transitions to throw in I still really wanted to make an awesome video. I also discovered how tedious of a job it is to make a video. The first time I made the video I added a transition and found out after uploading to YouTube the the entire video was a fail because none of the pictures and times lined up. With that crisis averted though, I mainly learned what it took to make a good video and how it feels to work hard for something you really want to turn out good. Was it fun? No. Was it awful? No. It was a fulfilling, long, tedious, interesting project. I mean, I would never skip a night with my friends over making a video for school, but it definitely was not like writing a research paper. In the terms of enjoyment the project was lacking, but in terms of fun compared to other assignments it was not half bad. I definitely feel like this assignment was rewarding. I learned a lot about Garage Band and how to use it; even though for the final project I used Audacity. I also really enjoy and found it rewarding how much freedom we were given with the assignment. I like being able to break away from textbook standards in order to make something that we deem useful.As to the difficulty level on a scale of: 1(being the difficulty of breathing) and 10(being the difficulty of beating Chuck Norris in a fist fight) I would give it an 8.5. It was in no terms an easy project and even after working on it for over 3 days I did not thoroughly enjoy the outcome and I could have done a lot more. The audio was easy to record, but adding it to pictures, timing it, adding transitions and personalizing it made me want to scream a bit. With all the negativity behind, I will be able to use this in my classroom. While typing this up I had a little "ah-ha!" moment, what if I could videotape a lesson for a day I was going to be absent in class. Instead of substitutes mindlessly watching the room I could videotape what I want the students to learn for the day so we do not fall behind. The options of videos in classrooms are endless, I just hope with more time and practice they become a bit easier!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DO IT ! Or else :)

OER's (Open Educational Resources) or (One Extra Reason...why we do not need teacher)

When it comes to OER's I'm about in the middle of the fence that I could be. A simple tumbleweed could push me to one side or another, but sadly I have yet to find that. Although I enjoy the possibility of sharing, innovation, and globalization I am afraid of outsourcing, cheating and misinformation. As a learner, I see the most possibilities with OER's. OER's give the possibility of thousands of books online for free since over 25% of college tuition goes towards book. Also, OER's open an entire possibility of learning opportunities to learn from around the globe and expand knowledge far outside of the classroom. The only downfall I could see is that we are not exactly sure if all of the information is correct or recent. As a student, to be honest I did not know there was a difference between a student and a learner, but anyways as a student I see almost the same advantages. I know I am currently a college student and one of my fellow classmates introduced me to this awesome OER you should probably click. I have been thoroughly enjoying this site and with student teaching just around the corner I am excited to bookmark and come back to this site. Speaking of teaching this is where I go from being "YAY OER's" to "Meh OER's...". OER's make me rethink what is the job of teachers? All of our information and students are online why can they not just learn on there? Although there are obvious reasons why this wouldn't work it is still a scary thought. Also, I do not want my students to be able to simply Google the first few words of an assignment and find the entire assignment and answer sheet online. Finally, I do not want to teach the same information is online. I do not want to get lazy and use OER Commons as my lesson planner. The last downfall I see with teaching is that I do not want to teach my students bad information. I am sure sites like Yale OER's are reliable, but what high school is going to teach the same information as Yale. The fact that anyone can change the information frightens me. So where do I stand? I am ready for the change, but yet if if it never happened I would accept that decision with open arms. I like traditional, but I am afraid of being outdated as well. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I believe that....

          I believe that teaching is more than a career, it is a lifestyle choice. What if teachers only worked a 7am-2pm day and after the bell rang so did their job? What if teachers only gave work, no instructions or lesson plans, just work for their students to do? What if schools were like factories; the students show up every day from 7am-2pm do their free labor under the influence of their boss (teacher) and went home every day without pay? Well, I believe that teaching is not just a career. Teaching requires skills that most occupations do not. Nikos Kazantzakis said "Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." This is my story of how my viewpoint of teaching has changed from a chore to a privilege that most individuals never get to experience.
            The year is 2010; I was a sophomore in high school. For the sophomore Ashley, the future consisted of my junior prom, and not so much what my future and college plans should be. I was in the Gifted program in my high school and with it brought opportunities for students to further their knowledge past a high school classroom. One day while in Gifted homeroom, I saw the sign-up sheet for a Reading Buddies program. The program consisted of volunteering at a local elementary school twice a week to help academically challenged students get the one-on-one attention that they needed. I simply glanced at the sign-up sheet and bypassed it without a thought until I noticed that no one had signed up. No one was willing to dedicate even a small amount of their day to help the future of our school district. So, after much hesitation, I signed up. Not only did I do this program my sophomore year, but my junior and senior year as well. Anyways, back to the story. So, although I would love to say I originally only joined the program to help the lives of others, I would be lying. I joined the Reading Buddies program because at the time, I wanted to go to law school and I would do anything and everything to put on my resume to get in. Although I still was not getting paid to teach, I was receiving a piece a paper, a superficial payment so to speak, for the program. Halfway through my sophomore year that viewpoint completely changed when I got to work with one student, let’s call him Zack. Zack was an academically challenged second grader who had trouble pronouncing consonant and vowel sounds and we got to do flash cards together to help improve those skills. Zack was failing second grade and his parents told the teacher that they had given up hope.  Zack though was unlike most of the kids that I had met, Zack wanted to learn. He had the determination of an NFL team in the Super Bowl to conquer those dreaded “e” and “I” vowel sounds. I knew that if he had enough instruction, more than once a week of alone time, he could pass the second grade. So, I started coming in everyday after high school ended to help Zack with his vowel sounds. At the end of the year Zack passed the grade and I felt as though I had just won the lottery.

                   Although there was no pay off and Zack’s parents referred to me as his “baby sitter”, I knew I was making a difference. I knew that teaching was something that I simply could not give up.  Sure, if I would have pursued my possible law career I could be coming out of school making possibly double the salary, but to me money simply cannot buy happiness. Who knows maybe one day I will get to teach a future law student, but for now I am going to stick to what I know best and that’s teaching. There is no monetary amount that I would exchange for seeing Zack’s face on that first day of third grade when he still knew me by “Mrs. Lady.” Teaching does not begin or end in a classroom, teaching beings and ends in your heart. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

10 Coolest Tools for Schools

What does it take to have an awesome blog? Well take a quick peak at the blogs below that present the coolest tools in schools and I think you will know why I chose these fine people!


There you have it folks the top ten coolest tools we should try to use in our schools! :) These blogs all incorporated some new tool that I can not wait to use in my classroom. Make sure you check them out, leave them some feedback, and oh wait I forgot to mention I did the assignment as well! So check out my coolest tool for school down below!Thanks!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cool Tool for School

Admit it, we have all fallen asleep in class more than a few times over the duration of our education. We have all had those lousy 7am classes where you stay up the entire night before to get a project done and when you finally get to rest its in your homeroom period. For myself, having Spanish at 7am everyday made for the perfect dream of going on a Mexican getaway. Or lets say you are a morning person, but you seem to be a germ magnet and get sick all the time and have to stay home from school to get some needed R&R. You and I both know how stressful it can be to make up a day of school work when it feels like every subject got 50 times harder on the day you were absent. We would live in a fantasy world if we believed that every student,every day, listens to what the teacher is saying or understands the lesson. So what can we do about that to make sure every student gets the information and can ask questions outside of the classroom if they need help? I will now introduce you to educreations! This simple website can take everything that was taught in the classroom home with the click of a link. I know some of you may be thinking "Awesome tool but there is no way you are going to get me to retype my lesson for a few kids." Fear not! This virtual whiteboard

will actually record your sessions for you and post them as you go. I found this website from
 this website is an awesome tool for finding appropriate, free, educational resources to use in the class. I picked this tool because students can post their own whiteboard where they got stuck on an assignment and classmates and the teacher can interact with the student to help. This tool is available on the web or even in app store for IPads, IPods and IPhones.

This tool is going to make learning outside of the classroom much easier and is an effective tool for students to meet their peers. Although this may be an educational tool for the classroom the resource doesn't just end there. This tool can be used for a learner as well. There are thousands of publicly posted lessons online that students can sift through to find help on lessons they may be stuck on. This is the new innovative way of finding that friend that lives close enough to you that can bring your assignments home. I will use this tool in my Secondary Education-English classrooms for students to openly discuss plots, themes, and questions they have while reading a story or doing an assignment.

              This short video will take you through the fascinating and innovative tool of educreations!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Run The Schools? Girls.

Most people will undoubtedly admit that females have been the disadvantaged gender throughout time. It was not until 1920 that the 19th amendment passed that gave women suffrage; they have constantly been viewed as homebodies only good for cooking, cleaning and childbirth. Well guys I have some news for you, the year is 2012 and girls have slowly climbed their way to the top of the totem pole. Girls are now showing that they are more academically advanced than their male counterparts. According to this Educational Article there are two main reasons why females are excelling in school: one is because girls are more determined to do better at school and further their education whereas male counterparts tend to flat line with their education. Another reason is that males are lagging representation in college graduation rates.

So what is the real reason behind this decrease in male academic success? Some say that classrooms and reading material are geared towards female success. Also the slow decline of recess and scarcity of male teachers could be a contributing factor. According to USA Today 57% of college students are women and 43% are men.  Kimberly Tsaousis, a college-prep adviser, said "Girls are way more likely to just pay attention" during advising sessions, she says. "It's almost less cool" for boys to show interest in college.

According to Richard Whitmire, early education is now emphasizing literacy skills which are proving to put male students at a disadvantage from the get-go. Being a Secondary Education-English major I can definitely concur that females pick up the required reading skills earlier than males.

So what can we do to eliminate this gender gap?

1)Make reading male friends so that guys want to read. Provide educational readings that guys will find appealing. Say a kid enjoys space, instead of reading Captain Underpants you can give them something interesting and education such as a book on the solar system. Boys normally do not want to write about their goals and aspirations instead make them grow and learn from something that they enjoy to write about it.

2) Research shows that young students benefit academically, as well as physically and behaviorally, when they get breaks to blow off steam on the playground. Guys will do better in school if they get time to blow off steam and get active outside of schoolwork. Recess helps kids get involved and boys

3)Boys are also proven to do better if they get a private tutor. Boys are at a disadvantage with reading and  grammar and some one-on-one time would help boys get the extra help that they need.

This gender gap makes teaching a difficult task to create equality in the classroom, but it can be done. As a Secondary Education-English major I hope to make grammar an equal opportunity class and no gender advantages. Although I enjoy that girls are making big steps in the education world, equality is what we should strive for among all of our students. 


^ these are some books that delve more into the gender issue in the classroom.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Talking About Twitter

So at the beginning of this semester in my Sedu 183 class I was told I was going to have to have a Twitter account by the end of the class period. Having a Twitter account already I thought, no big deal this will be easy! Needless to say, this project required a lot more than having a twitter and tweeting about what I ate for breakfast I had to incorporate my future classroom techniques in my Twitter account. I took this change with much hesitation, I like to keep my social and my student life separated and with this that line of separation is gone. I also was not into making a whole new Twitter account, I have way too many accounts as it is and I would forget the username and password for a new one. With all of this nagging out of the way, Twitter could be a valuable tool. For someone teaching early education it will not seem very valuable for a k-6 student to make a Twitter account. Being a Secondary Education English major though I can possibly use it to find grammar errors online or to get information. Will I use Twitter in my classroom? Probably Not. Is it nice to know about new things? Of course it is.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Perfect PowerPoint

This project helped opened my eyes on how to make a fun, innovative PowerPoint for my future students. Through this project I learned how to link slides within a PowerPoint and include voice narration. Although it took a while to make the PowerPoint I enjoyed watching it all come together and going through the slides. I also learned that Gifs can be a lot of fun and that kids will always enjoy short videos in their presentation. I also enjoyed using standards to create this PowerPoint that really will pertain to my teaching. The hardest part of this assignment was linking the PowerPoint above! With technology our teaching possibilities are endless :) I cant wait to use my knowledge of PowerPoint in the classroom. Although I already had a good understanding of the uses of PowerPoint before this lesson it was good to learn new tricks to made them more effective. My PowerPoint consisted of a short game where students will try to collect fruit for correct answers to grammar questions or they will receive garbage for every wrong answer. This got all the kids involved and self satisfaction when they got their fruit. I also included a small game where they had to pick the correct spelling of words and would receive a cute graphic if they got the answer correct. You can view a short clip of my PowerPoint above and understand the general gist of what I did.

I hope you enjoy my PowerPoint! :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog Response to Chapter 1

“Please hear this loud and clear: we’re not taking about getting rid of schools. We are, however, talking about seriously rethinking the way they work to meet the needs of the current realities our students face.” (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011) As I sit in my math lab behind a computer watching the online tutor teach me slope-intercept form, this new age of technology becomes more apparent. While reading this chapter my mind was constantly questioning: if we can get taught online why do we need math teachers? With all of my homework and tests online does that make my math teacher useless? Of course not, it makes for a new generation of learning you can do outside of the classroom. As an aspiring teacher myself, I took this new generation change from teaching to technology with much hesitation. I do not want my future career to be outsourced by a computer.

Throughout the reading I realized that teaching is not being outsourced, but more innovated. The part of the chapter that stuck out the most to me was the section titled “Network Effects.” To be truthful, I never understood the need for technology in a classroom. As a child, I remember being the kid who always minimized the screen of matching vocabulary words and played Oregon Trail instead. With that mindset, when I read the real advantages of technology in classrooms it was eye-opening. The seven common traits that schools that use technology have are:

1) Students are better prepared for life and work in the 21st century.
2) Classrooms are more engaging.
3) Students are responsible for their own learning.
4) Instruction is more individualized.
5) Adults become better at their jobs and build problem- solving capacity.
6) Students are safer.
7) Schools save time and money.

Each trait is explained in further detail in the book, but the trait that made me question the most is the students are safer. Normally you hear parents complain that their child is online and it is not a safe place for them. But in current day we can almost assume that most if that all school children are using the internet. With the addition of an internet safety class kids can learn to be safe online. This chapter opened my eyes to different aspects of online teaching that I was not aware of before. This information will be useful to me as a future teacher and I will hopefully be able to incorporate technology in my classroom.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


^oh those lovely socks
"Without passion you don't have energy, without energy you have nothing." Every time I step on the asphalt courts with my Wilson racket in hand, my passion comes alive. Tennis has become more than just a sport for me, it is a lifestyle choice. It was not until my Junior year of high school that I decided to try out for the tennis team and the rest, as they say, is history. The very first year I decided to play tennis I was named captain of my team. Also with tennis I have opened so many opportunities such as: traveling to WPIALS, meeting new friends, and even trying out a sport at the college level. Tennis is what keeps me motivated and whereas some sports have an entire encyclopedia of rules, tennis is much simpler. Tennis is a lifetime sport and you are never too young or old to start playing. I highly recommend that everyone try tennis at least once, and hey maybe you will find your passion through it as well! If you are unsure of how to play tennis or what you need don't worry this link here are Tennis Instructions that will take you step-by-step on how to play. Good luck!  

Also if you start playing tennis and find out that it is not the sport for you, here are 50 fun things you can do with your tennis ball! 

Thank you everyone for reading and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Me, Myself and I


My name is Ashley Clark. I am currently a freshman at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and I am majoring in Secondary Education in English. On a daily basis I get asked why I want to become a teacher and my answer is always the same: Why do you want to do what you want to do? Most will say they enjoy the subject or they are good at a particular field, but in order to find that passion a teacher is needed to guide them in life. I want to make a difference and I want my student's to be passionate about school and their future and English in general. Through this blog I hope to share my tips and journey to becoming a teacher. Between my student observations, my troubles with clearances, and the difficult classes I hope to have a joyful blog about the life of an aspiring teacher.