Monday, February 19, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #6

This week for EME2040, we were to find class websites and see what information we could pull from the website without being "logged in" as a parent or student. In browsing around different class pages for Sawgrass Bay Elementary (a local public elementary school), I notice roughly the same information from each teacher: class name, usually room #, and a brief bio for the teacher. Below is a screenshot example:

This screenshot was taken from Mrs. Da Silva's class page. Mrs. Da Silva is a Kindergarten teacher. 

As for Twitter: 
So far, I can't seem to find many people tweeting with the hashtag #FSU2040. I did a search just now and I see my own posts but not many others. Before this class, I was already familiar with Twitter, so I can't say I've learned anything new but I have gained a new appreciation for the teachers and teacherpreneurs I've been following on Twitter. I've especially enjoyed reading tweets from those involved in #edtech because they've been helpful for this class. I try to RT anything I find that is related to educational technology. 

In the future, I will be a college English professor. I would LOVE to see college professors blogging and sharing lesson plans, but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon. Maybe it just depends on the subject you're teaching, but I can't seem to find anything anytime we're tasked with finding lessons (I usually look for lessons for ENC1101 and 1102 but sometimes I look for AP English Lang/Lit lessons.). So, in the future, it'd be helpful to reach out to other college professors and collab with them for lesson plan ideas. 

**Blogs I commented on: Emily's blog and Fernanda's blog. :) 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #5

1) ELA technology standards vary in nature, but the ones I feel most qualified to teach are RL.7.2., RL..6., and RI.7.4. Specifically, these are what the standards say:

RL.7.2. - Words & illustrations in print and digital text to understand character, setting, and plot.

RL.7.6. - Compare reading story/drama/poem to audio, video, or live version.

RI.7.4. - Charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, animations, or interactive elements on a webpage.

 RL.7.2 - I've been homeschooling for 14 years now and have spent the past several years focusing on literary elements such as character, setting, and plot. I find these specific literary elements quite easy to teach. In my experience, students easily grasp the concept of who the "characters" in a story are, what the "setting" is, and what actually happens (plot).

RL.7.6. - As avid fans of the Orlando Rep, we have had several opportunities to compare stories we've read to live versions. We've also spent a great deal of time comparing and contrasting book versions to video versions.

RI.7.4. - My students are millennials, which means they grew up in the age of digital technology and web pages. That said, I've found it quite easy to point out the charts/diagrams/etc. that are available and that actually help students understand the content better.

2) My students range in age from 13-17. Again, as a homeschooling mom, I have four students. I love implementing Google Classroom for our homeschool. It's a perfect way for my students and me to communicate at times when I'm not able to help one individual student.

Believe it or not, even with just four, I can be quite busy with my own work, my own school (such as this blog post!), or helping another student/child of mine. One of my students may have a question about an assignment I've posted on Google Classroom...*right this minute*......and if s/he doesn't get it out ASAP, s/he may forget it. Google Classroom has come in handy in that it's allowed my students to ask those questions or turn in assignments or alert me to the fact that they've submitted work elsewhere.

As for digital citizenship, I've always taught my students this concept, so this isn't really applicable. I mean, they're my own children so...I've been able to address this one-on-one with them each.

3) OK to be honest? I didn't acquire any new skills on the Newsletter assignment. Those were very, very basic Word skills, in my opinion. I've known how to do all of those things for years, and it was - for me - "busy work." =/ That being said, I didn't mind doing's just that it didn't teach me anything new.

*Blogs I commented on for week 4: Brenda (comment is awaiting moderation) and Jessica (also awaiting moderation).

Friday, February 2, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #4

This week, our two paragraphs are to discuss the DID method of evaluating a lesson plan and to discuss the concept of "open" courseware mentioned in the podcast we were to listen to. 

1) So, I decided to look for a lesson on something relevant to my homeschooling right now, and that is A Case for Reading - Examining Challenged and Banned Books. Moving through the steps in DID, I've evaluated the lesson as follows: 
a) Know the learner - I know my students so I know that this is a lesson that some will find boring while others will appreciate learning that some books are banned in schools. My kids are, of course, used to having books they're not allowed to read. As they've gotten older, the types of books they're allowed to read have increased. Nonetheless, this step is about knowing how my kids rate according to learning styles (auditory, kinesthetic, and visual). My auditory and kinesthetic learners will really appreciate this lesson. My visual learner will appreciate seeing the T-chart that is involved in the lesson. 
b) Standards-aligned Performance Objectives - I chose this lesson because it is aligned to multiple Common Core standards for 5th grade. The objectives for students are as follows:
Students will:
  • be exposed to the issues of censorship, challenged, or banned books. 
  • examine issues of censorship as it relates to a specific literature title. 
  • critically evaluate books based on relevancy, biases, and errors. 
  • develop and support a position on a particular book by writing a persuasive essay about their chosen title.

c) Teaching and learning strategies - The teaching strategies include the teacher providing students with a list of books banned by the American Library Association's list of the most frequently challenged books. The learning strategies include students choosing a book to read at home and write a persuasive essay (to the librarian or administrators) letting them know how they feel about a particular book being banned. 
d) Select support technologies - Selecting technologies to support the learning outcomes for this lesson involves providing students with the link to the list of banned books. The students could use an online platform for the T-chart they're to use next, but otherwise, there isn't much technology incorporated into this lesson. 
e) Assess and Revise - There is a rubric available for assessing this lesson. In addition, the lesson plan itself outlines the following for assessment: 
  • Monitor student interaction and progress during any group work to assess social skills and assist any students having problems.
  • Respond to the content and quality of students’ thoughts in their final reflections on the project. Look for indications that the student provides supporting evidence for the reflections, thus applying the lessons learned from the work with the Persuasion Map.
  • Assess students’ persuasive writing piece using the rubric.
2) Open education is the idea that every educator should have the same access to the same materials at no cost so that they may provide all students with a comparable education. Those in favor of this philosophy work to eliminate barriers and anything else that might stand in the way of this happening. Open educational resources (or OERs) can be modified because the creators of such resources have given anyone with access to them permission to modify them to suit their individual needs. An example of this might be a math teacher who obtains open-access math word problems but who changes some of the terms or names in the problem to help her students relate better to the ideas in the problem. 

Blogs I commented on from Week 3: Caroline (says "awaiting moderation") and Julie (also "awaiting moderation"). 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #3

In the past (and, for that matter, the present), I've used Word for all research papers I've been required to write. There was a time when Word was the only application I knew how to use. Since then, I've acquired skills in Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher. I have different "faves" for different tasks, but the one I use most often is probably Publisher. 

In any case, as a student, I've used Word for papers. I've seen professors use Word for many things, from the class syllabus to class calendars. Frankly, I'm not a fan of Word when I need to incorporate graphics (I prefer Publisher or PPT for those tasks). Word tends to get persnickety about adding images and sometimes blocks me from doing what I want to do with graphics. It also gives me a hard time with fonts I want to use as images. For that reason, I've learned to use programs that are much more graphic-friendly, such as the ones I've already mentioned. 

The issues of copyright are interesting to discuss and reflect upon. As a TPT Seller and creator, I'm very familiar with copyright issues and with incorporating attributions somewhere in my work. Most Sellers I buy clipart from have some TOU (terms of use) that require anything from simply stating that you used clipart from that Seller to incorporating the Seller's actual logo in my work. Now, some Sellers like to request that people incorporate a link to their store on top of that, but that isn't something that can be legally enforced. 

Furthermore, this blog itself was designed by me but I couldn't have done it without using graphics, clipart, and fonts from another TPT Seller. I actually obtained her permission to use her clipart in my banner at the top of this page and she didn't really care about attribution (probably because my blog doesn't get even the traffic her blog gets). 

Implementation issues - So, one of the biggest issues I see that need attention are: 
  • Cyberbullying - In the classroom, I can prevent this by making sure to have a relationship of some sort with all my students at least to the point where they'd feel comfortable letting me know they're being cyberbullied right in my classroom AS I'm teaching lessons. 
  • Student Privacy - Since I don't plan to teach K-12, I won't need to have much interaction with parents (ever...), so the best thing I can do is obtain permission from my students to post/share things they send to me. I can also make it a requirement that they use applications such as Twitter or join the class FB page to ensure that anything they post is material THEY want posted and not just something I've decided to share. 
  • Piracy - I can help my students make sure their laptops and other devices are only used on secured networks when students are in my "care." 
I do feel like some of these implementation strategies don't necessarily apply to the students I will be teaching, since I plan to teach in the realm of higher education (meaning, mostly adults or at least students over the age of 18). I think this changes a lot of things, but I'm imagining myself as a K-12 educator when answering these questions. 

Posts I commented on from Week 2: Gabrielle's and Jessica's

Monday, January 22, 2018

EME2040 - Twitter (Part 1)

For part 1 of this assignment, we're to share our Twitter handle with the class.

On Twitter, I am: @lessons_pajamas
Find me here ---->>>

EME2040 Blog Post #2

This week, I began reading in our textbook (Teaching and Learning With Technology) and must write a response to our blog post prompts.

A) I would say teachers are influenced to use technology because a) it streamlines everything into easier platforms and b) it's what students are used to using. Teachers have the ability to use technology for everything from administrative tasks and lesson planning to actually implementing the lessons and interacting with students. Students are influenced to use technology because it's what they are used to using in their "off" time. When not in school, many students can be found playing games and communicating with friends through their cell phones and/or iPads and/or computers. It's practically a given. Because of this, students are more drawn to lessons and activities that involve technology. According to the text, teachers use technology for admin tasks, presenting lessons, prepping lessons, communicating, and teaching. Students use technology for participating in lessons, communicating, and learning.

B) ISTE Standards - So, one standard that is meaningful to me is:

Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
This standard essentially says that educators can use technology to create an atmosphere where students will take ownership of their learning, whether in a group or on their own. I like this one because I feel it's very true! I've personally seen it in my homeschooled kids and in the kids I tutor in person. Through the use of technology, students are able to take something they're familiar with (say, their iPad) and use it to learn more about something they want to know. The only downside to this is that technology changes or "crashes" and if students are only used to relying on technology for their learning, they're relying on something they have no control over.

A standard that seems outside of my skillset:
Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
If I'm being honest, I'd say almost ALL of the standards for "Educators as Designers" are outside of my skillset. At least, if we're talking about creating interactive multimedia activities. I'm very skilled with Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher), but even within these, I know there are many things I don't know how to do - such as creating interactive games/activities that are iPad-friendly. I wish I knew how to do this stuff, but I don't and don't really have time to learn it, so I end up relying on those who do to create materials I need.

C) To be a "digital native" means to be someone who was not only at the beginning of the digital age but also someone who practically knows no life outside of digital technologies. Digital immigrants, on the other hand, are those who try to learn and understand things from the perspective of the natives. This is a perfect description for teachers and most adults because we're stepping into the world of students and want to make lessons and learning relevant to them. To do so, we need to familiarize ourselves with things the "natives" already know. We're "immigrants" into their worlds.

I do agree with these terms. As a college student, I'm a digital native. However, as a homeschooling educator, mom, and adult, I'm a digital immigrant. (I guess it just depends on who I'm compared to...) I've definitely seen differences in how I use technology and how the digital immigrants in my life use technology. Most of my observations come from watching adults who don't have teenagers to guide them in using some aspects of technology (I have 4 teens who clue me in!). I'm not going to be teaching K-12, but there's a good possiblity I'll be teaching at the university level (that's if I go into teaching at all). That said, I'm SURE students will have a leg up on me and that I'll suddenly become a major digital immigrant in their world! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

EME2040 Blog post (Week 1 & Learning Styles Quiz results)

This semester (Spring 2018) is my LAAAAAST semester of undergrad. Finally! Finally, finally, finally...I will hold that Bachelor's degree in my sweet hands (actually, it'll hang on the wall or counter). I'm currently finishing up coursework for my Bachelor's in Social Sciences with a primary concentration in Sociology and a secondary concentration in Public Administration. That's a mouthful that basically means...a degree in Sociology and Public Administration. From there, I hope to enter UCF's English MA program and eventually be a candidate for their Ph.D. in English Rhetoric and Composition. The ultimate goal is to become a college professor teaching English and literature.

My prior experiences with technology include Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PPT, Publisher, to be exact) and online blog-building platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress. As a writer and copy editor, I work on the computer all day. Part of my job involves blogging for a few clients, so this is pretty second nature to me! I am familiar with Wordpress and see its benefits, but I also prefer the Google integration of Blogger.

I hope to learn how to better put to use technology in the classroom. While I have no intentions on teaching in the K-12 sector, I know that institutes of higher education can benefit from technology as well. For instance, this class is delivered asynchronously (100% online), which means I'd better have a clue about how to use the computer. I'm honestly not sure why FSU requires I take this class given that I've taken umpteen classes online, but it's a grad requirement so here I am! I hope to learn something new in this class...something I didn't already know. While I may not learn how to use technology, I hope to learn how to integrate it according to best practices in the realm of higher education.

As a class assignment, I was required to take a learning styles quiz, which I found very interesting. Below are the results of my quiz:

According to the information below the results, I'm definitely a visual and "sensing" learning. While I'm not sure what sensing means, it's apparently the opposite of intuitive. I can't say I'm surprised by the results; I've always referred to myself as a visual learner. I "see" things better than I "hear" them, and I definitely have a photographic memory.

All in all, a fun activity!

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Rebuttal to PopSugar's "What Homeschooling Gets Wrong About Socialization"

As luck would have it, I recently received a notification from PopSugar Moms. Most of the time, I close them out because I'm busy working or the topic doesn't interest me. This time, however, the notification caught my attention. The article was "How Homeschooling Doesn't Help With Socialization."

"Oh, LAWWWD, what is it now? Which socially awkward kid (who happened to be homeschooled) are they going to complain about?" I thought immediately. *Note that this does not mean that I've seen PopSugar complain about homeschoolers in the past or anything; I just mean I've seen that happen in the other areas on the web.* As a homeschooling mom, you can imagine how I was interested in reading this.

Interestingly, the article was from a former teacher's POV. I find that interesting because teachers in public and private schools don't see the vast majority of homeschoolers...and yet, this one felt qualified to generalize them. You see, teachers don't get to see the homeschoolers for whom homeschooling is working; they only see the failures or "homeschooling dropouts," so to speak. Alas, this person felt qualified to comment on homeschoolers all over. *shrug*

As with any media-drawing topic, this one started out gently offering up statistics (that I have no idea are even true, but let's assume that they are true). And then comes the dagger.

This time, the dagger started by saying homeschooling parents do a great job raising well-rounded kids with "museum trips, volunteer efforts, opportunities to work with local businesses, and playdates with other homeschooled kids." However, the former teacher contends, this is not socialization.

It's not? How is it not socialization? 
The article continues: "Socialization requires that children consistently work with people they're not used to working with. It's about discussing things with people who have a different opinion and challenging preconceived notions."

I wonder why she feels homeschooled children don't get these opportunities when they visit museums and the like...especially when they do so in groups (which is the norm, BTW. It's actually more rare to be a lone homeschooler out on a museum trip with just your own family members.).

According to her, socialization is "...about having to do a group project with people who don't necessarily work the same way as you do, to collaborate on ideas and grow as a thinker." What makes you think homeschoolers don't ever venture outside their families to collaborate on group projects? My twins, for instance, collaborate with different peers every 2-3 weeks in their Chemistry class at our homeschooling co-op. (We go every week, but they change lab partners every 2-3 weeks.) My other two teens have to collaborate with others in their Drama class at co-op. And, in their Fitness, SAT Prep, Music Theory, and Drawing classes, they must learn to collab with others they do not see on a daily basis.

Now, the teacher in this article says true socialization needs to be with kids my kids DO see on a daily basis. I feel the need to point that out before I am accused of not reading the article closely. Nonetheless, to say that children must have this collaboration in order to be properly socialized is just wrong.

It's also wrong to assume that homeschooled children don't get the same type of collaboration opportunities as their public school counterparts. Bullying and other mean things going on are not a part of the equation, of course, and perhaps those are what homeschoolers are really getting "wrong" in our socialization efforts? If so, then I'll continue to be wrong. Dead wrong. Happily.

I don't understand why this teacher (and others) do not support homeschooling. I mean, we make it glaringly obvious that it's not necessary to become certified in order to teach children -- whether that's one's own children or children in co-op settings. But otherwise, aren't we all in this together? Are we not all persevering what we do on a daily basis for the benefit of society and in raising the next generation? Can't we at find some common ground? Why must we throw daggers at each other (because truthfully, it cuts both ways--plenty of homeschoolers have bashed teachers, too...let's just be honest).

Alas, to this teacher I would have to say you are wrong in your premises, and your premises have too much ambiguity (remember you're only seeing a small segment of homeschoolers) to be taken seriously anyway. Furthermore, your premises do not support your conclusion that homeschooled children are not properly socialized.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Post Where I Talk About Gentle Parenting....Again. :)

So, as it happens about once every 3-4 years, I found myself in a "debate" again over gentle parenting. I say this happens every 3-4 years because I've learned NOT to engage in things like that on FB. But, I let myself open my mouth this time and as usual there were the "So if your 2 y/o hits you're supposed to go give him a cookie??" responses. *eyeroll* No, that's not what gentle parenting is about.

Nonetheless, here's my response to those people. (Figured I'd just copy/paste and save my fingers some energy!)

Oh, and "HALT" mentioned below means "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired." It's an acromyn for figuring out why your child is doing what he's doing. It's simply ONE tool (of many, many, many tools) for gentle parenting.

Hi there Liz! So, a lot of what's been said since I mentioned HALT has been negative and assuming certain things. Let me clarify. HALT simply means getting to the CORE of the problem instead of just addressing the action.
Of course you address the actiton (hitting), but get to the bottom line that made him hit in the first place. If he hit "just because," I'd find that hard to believe (and I have 5 children). Generally, children hit for a reason (not counting infants who hit because they've discovered that they have arms and can flail them...).
As for "You hit, so now let's go have fun" and the other comments related - no, that's not how it works. People who feel bad *act bad* and make poor choices. The idea of a Comfort Corner/Positive Time Out has nothing to do with "rewarding" children (though it's commonly misconstrued as exactly that). Rather, it's about redirecting feelings and emotions children are experiencing. If a child is grumpy and acting poorly, let's say, we'd bring him or direct him to a comfort corner where he'd find toys, books, headphones, whatever makes him feel good again. Once the child has calmed down, we'd talk about what made him feel that way, etc.
Of course in the case of a 2-year-old, there is not really "talking it out" but redirection and HALT are the biggest factors that go into dealing with 2 y/o's in the first place. And, 2 is different from 3, which is still different from 4. I recommend reading Alfie Kohn's books titled "Your X Year Old" (example "Your Three Year Old," "Your Four Year Old," etc.)
And, for the "sinful nature" comment - We are all born with a sinful nature, yes. However, gently parenting children means assigning positive intent as well. In other words, we don't assume the worst in our children. Sure, you're thinking, "So my child hit his sister because he loves her, right, is that what you're trying to tell me?" No, that's not what I'm saying... but if he hit her, chances are he's upset and having big feelings inside that he doesn't understand. First, think HALT and address the bottom line.
Next, assign positive intent and assume that he doesn't REALLY want to hurt his sister but would instead just like the toy she has. I'd explain that he can have the toy when she's done but hitting is not the way to go about telling her. He needs to use his words to ask (I'm thinking of a 2 y/o here) and then they will share. We do NOT turn around and smack him back for hitting her!! We address the bottom line issues (plural...) at hand.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Post Where I Talk About Why We Aren't Taking a Summer Break

As summer approaches, I sit here wondering what it must be like to take a summer break. You see, we won't be taking one this year (though every year, I SWEAR that "next year" we'll take one). Instead, this year (as seems to be our pattern), we took a winter break. Actually, we took an extended winter break since I  had a baby in January (baby #5 for those who were wondering).

So, because of that, we won't be taking a long summer break. We took our break earlier and we are plugging away at school until mid-August..which is when we'll take our summer break. We'll take a two-week break at that time because our Disney passes won't be blocked out (they're blocked out for summer but who the heck wants to be traipsing around Disney when it's 104 degrees anyway?). They'll pick back up mid-August, so we'll take our summer break at that time and then we'll resume school on Labor Day. Yes, ON Labor Day, not the day after.

I write this because I've been asked by some (usually those new to homeschooling) why we don't take a summer break or if we're trying to get our kids into college early by not taking one. Not at all. The twins will graduate in June of 2019 as scheduled and the others will graduate in June of the year they're set to graduate. Now, I say all this with the full intentions of taking a summer break next year (except for Lexi who will continue in sciences because she's determined to get into super high levels of science for her career). Next year, I'm telling you, I'm going to enjoy a full summer break with those who do. But for now (and for the past 13 years), this is our life. (You don't really think we'll take a summer break next year, do you? :) We shall see!)