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.