Saturday, November 22, 2014

Podcasting in the Classroom

I recently learned what about what Podcasting is. Call me behind on the times, but these things are awesome! Podcasting in broad terms are downloadable series of audio recordings/videos and in which you can subscribe to and watch/listen to on the go. They are comparable to watching TV in the past, there is a series of which you are interested and tune in to keep updated on that show. But wait, now you don't have to be at the TV at 7pm or miss the Podcast, you can download or subscribe to them and they automatically appear on your mobile devices. How cool!! As an up-and-coming ESOL teacher, the idea of podcasting is gold. This is a prime way to incorporate technology into my classroom and have my ESOL students practicing on their own. They could subscribe to a podcast of my choosing and have certain assignments that follow it, but in their spare time there is plenty of room for listening practice all on their own. One specific podcast that I found to be a great example of what I could use in my class in the future was found on ESL Pod, a podcasting site that caters to ESL students and displays various scenarios that new-coming students might face while in America or learning English. One example that I found to be awesome was Buying Food at the Concession Stand. Eventually, ESL students are probably going to go to the movies, and there is a podcast that displays a typical conversation of what might happen in this process. In a classroom, I would have students listen to the podcast two times. After this, I would go over the given script and have students write down any terms that they don't know. There are a lot of colloquialisms used in the text which really prepares students to face real life conversations. We as a class would go over those terms and practice using them in sentences. To test their knowledge and comprehension of this lesson, I would have students form partnerships and make a script of a concession stand transaction and test it out using the terms that they have practiced. I think this would be great real-life practice as well as letting students use their new terms out loud and would work on pronunciation. Also, this activity would focus greatly on NYS Standards 4 (Language for Social Interaction) and Standard 5 (Language for Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding). It would be a fun and learning experience all in one! Again, Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Strip Generator!

Ever wanted to create a comic strip for your students with ease? Now you can! StripGenerator is an online tool that allows you to make comic strips. It's super easy to use and has pre-made characters and objects and even allows you to make your own characters as well! I've never made a comic strip before but I didn't find any difficulty in using this website and I will definitely use it in the future. For someone who isn't a technology wiz, I found the tools on this website to be very straightforward and there are many options to customizing your strips the way that you would like to. The strip I made is called The Family of Mice . In my comic, a family of mice is being chased by a cat. The father then screams out "BOW WOW." After he does this the scared cat runs away frightened. The little mouse then asks his dad "How did you do that?" The father responds "Well son, that's why it's important to learn a second language." In my comic, I'm playing around with a lot of cultural themes that can be adapted to discussions in the classroom. Although this is a comic, it speaks to purposes of why we learn a second language. I could think of a million ways that looking at a comic like this could spark a discussion. We could talk about animal sounds, why the cat was scared, animal roles, why learning a second language is important, and so on. It gives a comedic entrance into a fun discussion. Hopefully because of this fun topic, ESOL students would be more likely to share and laugh about how they felt. One way that I could use this comic is to have students write me a paragraph about either the reasons that they are learning English or maybe have them write me a more in-depth narrative about what is happening in the comic and have them include funny thoughts that either the cat or one of the mice family members are having. Either way, I just see this as a fun conversation or topic starter. By doing an activity like this, I am touching on a few different standards but in particular Standard 2, Language for Literary Response and Expression and Standard 4, Language for Social Interaction stand out to me the most. If I were to focus on Standard 2, I could have students write me the paragraphs as listed before and look at their work afterwards to check comprehension. If I were to focus more on Standard 4 I could have students do an activity where they act out the comic. From this, I would see how they play the characters they are acting out and see how they use language to interact with their peers and play out the comic strip story. Either way, this is a great activity to use in class and I'm glad that I found out about it. Thanks for listening!

Animoto and Thanksgiving

I'm a huge fan of holidays and thus the reoccurring theme of Thanksgiving. It seems to be the only holiday that I can teach students about (no religion attached) that is coming up. During these holidays, it may be tricky for ESOL students to know what to expect or even what to do on these days. It's important that we teach them what these holidays are about and what Americans might do to celebrate. Along with teaching students about the holiday itself, you can also add in a language factor. That's exactly what I did with my Animoto video, Happy Thanksgiving. Animoto is a free (or paid if you want to upgrade) website in which you can create short videos with various background settings. I used Animoto to create a video about what I do on Thanksgiving. I used very basic language and the slides are just long enough so students will pay attention and be able to read the text. It's also nice because ESOL students need visual aids and this is a perfect way to accompany text. If students can't read fast enough, they can assume what the text is saying by the picture. To test their learning from this assignment I will have them watch this video multiple times in class and then have students write me a few sentences about what they watched in the video. If they are low proficiency learners I could scaffold a sentence for them such as "On Thanksgiving, Americans will..." Then, I will have them write about a holiday of their own and describe a couple sentences like they did for Thanksgiving, again, scaffolding if needed. I would read their sentences to check for comprehension. This activity would focus a lot on Standard 5, Language for Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding as well as Standard 2 Language for Literary Response and Expression. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Flipping the Classroom!

I recently read two articles about what "Flipping a classroom" means. Why It's Time to Rethink (And Question) Homework and 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms shed light on one of the more recent methodologies of teaching. Flipping a classroom, according to these articles, describes a scenario in which a student watches videos before class (comparable to a lecture of a professor) and then when he or she comes to class, the time is spent there with activities that reinforce the lectures. While I find this to be a brave attempt at creating a new methodology of the classroom, I don't necessarily agree with it. I haven't seen the quantitative facts, nor have I researched how the students feel and get along with this program, but I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all program. I say this because many students don't feel motivated to do the homework they are assigned already, but to add more on top of it? Students must learn the material themselves and then do more homework and spend class time with hands-on activities? I think this type of classroom would fit motivated and gifted learners, but what about our special learners? Or the the students that aren't yet so self-motivated? Also, I would ask the question, How do students now feel about the roles of their teachers now that they aren't teaching material? Again, I think this is a brave attempt to create a new classroom system, but it would have to be way more geared towards specific learners. I hope to learn more about this system and see how they could manipulate it and regulate it, but until then.. I don't think I'm a believer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Creating TedED Lessons

A valuable way to test student's knowledge of a video that you are showing in class can now go beyond a fill-in-the-blank handout. If you're ready to step out of the monotony, I've got a solution for you. TedED gives you a way to create a lesson alongside a video of your choice. Aside from being a useful website for creating these lessons, there are also TedTalks which have endless amounts of topics and are educational. You may also do lessons on these! It's a creative new way to test students on what they are watching. Among multiple choice answers, you can also direct students to outside links to further research the topic as well as having open-ended and discussion questions. The possibilities are endless!
I created a possible lesson for ESOL students about metaphors. Not only does the video explain about the meaning of a metaphor and its uses, during the entire video the language used is almost all symbolic with a constant use of metaphors. ESOL students may not understand what she is saying in all of her metaphors but from watching this video, I guarantee that they will at least learn a few. It's important to show students real life uses of the language skills that they are learning. My lesson, A Lesson on Metaphors, hits various New York State Standards. One standard that stood out to me while creating this lesson was Standard 2, Language for Literary Response and Expression.  Metaphors, as shown in the video and outside links I provided, are a huge part of communication in English. We connect with people and symbolize our world using metaphors. For students to better express themselves both in writing and orally, it's important that they can use or at least recognize metaphors when they see them and that's why this video and TedED lesson is so important. To test if students are understanding metaphors presented to them in the video, I have an open-ended discussion question that I will ask students to answer. It asks students to pick a metaphor that they hear in the video and try to describe what it is saying/what it means. By looking at student's answers I will be able to check for comprehension of what a metaphor is and see if they can break it down and explain it further. Thanks for listening everyone, I hope I could provide a great resource for you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Using TubeChop in the Classroom

For any teacher who struggles to find videos to meet the classroom time limitations, there is a solution! Recently, I explored the tool TubeChop which is an online tool that lets you single out important parts in a YouTube video that you might like to show in class, without having to show the whole video! What a miracle! You can shorten hour long videos and make them thirty seconds if you want to! This is an important tool for teachers because as we all know the one thing we're missing in the day is time. So yes, now you can show as many videos as you want to without having to worry about wasting too much class time. In my classroom activity, I didn't utilize TubeChop to the max as my video correlates to a complete story but TubeChop cut out almost 10% of the video that was unnecessary to listen to before and after the material that I wanted to focus on. Now, with a three minute video, this doesn't sound like much, but with an hour long video, it saves a huge amount of time, time that we as teachers don't have. So for this assignment, I didn't cut a huge amount of time off of my video but I practiced using TubeChop successfully and found it to be an extremely useful tool for the future. For an activity in class for my ESOL students I chose to focus on a cultural topic as it is the holiday season and well as follow up with this cultural lesson with some oral feedback as well as writing reflections. Showing this video as an activity would hit a total of three standards: Standard 5 Language for Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding, Standard 4 Language for Social Interaction, and Standard 2 Language for Literary Response and Enjoyment. My TubeChop Video is the Story of Thanksgiving. I would show this video in class to my ESOL students to demonstrate a holiday that we celebrate here in the United States. I think the language in the video is language appropriate as well as culturally appropriate for my learners. I would show the video in class and have my students then orally discuss what they had seen in the video, checking for comprehension as well as looking for reflection of this holiday and how they perceive it. I would also have the students for homework write a paragraph discussing the video that we watched and have them reflect on this U.S. holiday and then discuss a holiday that they celebrate in their home country. I would check their homework the next day and allow students to share their feelings and paragraphs. This would not only be a fun activity to display to students, but it would also hit almost all, but specifically 3, of the standards. Thanks for taking the time to read!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Against All Odds, The Refugee Experience

Although I will be a future ESOL teacher, I do question sometimes where my job even comes from. Who are the people that I will be teaching and what are their stories? After being assigned to play a serious game for my online class, I was answered some of these questions in the most haunting way. Although many of my students will be immigrants which is just as an intense experience, my eyes were opened to the path that a refugee takes to get here and even someone here on asylum. The game Against All Odds is a virtual simulation into the path a refugee takes to enter this country and even some tasks associated with it after already being here. The steps in this game are intense; Starting with hiding from military prosecution, to finding ways out of the country, finding places to sleep at night, fitting into a new life, and even constantly being judged by other people. This game offers an intense experience into what it might feel like to be a real refugee. Although this may not be essential to language learning in class, it hits a cultural objective to a tee. The best way I could use this is a classroom if I had only a few ESOL students in my class and the rest were mainstream students. I would make all of my students play this game hoping that they are humbled to the experience that someone needs to go through to get into this country and what their classmates are facing. I would use this exercise to be able to open the eyes of my students to show them a piece of culture of the other students in the class and try and connect us as a community.In the meantime, students are all learning to follow directions as per following the game. They must follow instructions and be able to use tact to be able to escape the situations that they are in. Personally I have played this game 3 times successfully, it wasn't without frustration at times. I had to keep repeating the levels over and over because I kept doing things wrong. But this is exactly how the game is supposed to be set up. It wants to portray the struggles and frustrations that refugees encounter. I found it to be a valuable source of a personal story as well as a learning experience. One NYS Standard that I could base this activity on is Standard 5. Standard 5 speaks to Students using language for cross-cultural knowledge and understanding. In focusing on this standard I would be addressing both a language need as well as a cultural need. We could practice using language to describe the encounter that we had with this game. We could kill two birds with one stone. To test students on their comprehension as well as success based on this standard, I would have the students write me a paragraph either describing to me their experience playing the game or either their own personal stories. They would not have to share these stories with others nor myself if not comfortable but there is that option for these students. I hope that I will be able to use this game in the future, I think it is an eye-opening game as well as a valuable piece of cultural knowledge. Just be aware of the age group which is playing this game, It's very graphic and emotional and should not be used for younger crowds.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Using the Game Escape the Room in a Classroom Setting

In this phase in my online class, we are learning about gamification. My previous post expanded on the notion of what gamification is and how it can be used in the class. I came across an article in our syllabus that talked about the nature of Escape the Room games and how they can be beneficial for ESOL students. If you aren't sure what Escape the Room games are, here's a basic description according to the article Focus on Genre: Escape the Room Games, "A point-and-click adventure game where players have to escape from imprisonment by exploiting their surroundings..." Players are asked to click on anything in their surroundings and gradually piece things together to be able to escape the situation in which they have been places. One particular escape game I found to be thrilling is the Phantasy Quest game. This is an escape game that depicts you being stuck on an island and having to use the tools and objects around you to be able to make it through safely. Although I've played many Escape the Room games before, I've only played this particular one 3 times. The first time, I tried to see as far as I could get without a walkthrough. The next two times I completed it with a walkthrough to make sure that the directions that they gave me allowed me to win the game. The first time took quite some time and required a lot of repetition and trying new things. I really liked this game. It has you hooked from the moment you start playing. This creates great possibilities for using this with students. The last couple times I played was using the Phantasy Quest Walkthrough. I did this to be able to create a working game for a potential future classroom. I never realized the potential of using one of these games in my class until I pondered about the walkthrough. To understand a walkthrough, you need to know directions, verbs, and so much vocabulary. If provided computers in school, this would be a great activity to help students listen to explicit directions. According to the NYS ESOL Standards, Standard 1 can be directly focused on by using one of these games in class. Standard one says that students will use language for information and understanding. This game is PERFECT for working on that task. While playing this game in an ideal classroom, each student would have a computer. You may have to get creative if there isn't one available to each students but if so this is how I see this game being used for an activity. First I would explain to the students what the Escape the Room games are about and how to navigate through the pages. After gaining the general idea I would let them play around on the site to be able to practice picking things up and making sure that their technical use of the computers is going okay. I would then have them restart the game to start at the beginning. My role as the teacher would be to be the reader of the walkthrough. I would hold the walkthrough and read the steps out loud to the students. From hearing my specific instructions, the students should be able to navigate through the specific task that I am asking for instance, turn left and pick up the bottle. After I've given students time to complete the task, I would walk through and make sure that the task is complete, checking for comprehension. If I see that a student needs help or hasn't completed the task I might repeat the directions again. If they still aren't understanding I would have brought in picture references so that I could show them what to do. Some of the vocabulary might be a little tricky. Some might struggle through one step while others breeze through it and vice versa. I don't expect every student to get every step right but as long as the majority they do I'll be happy. This is a great listening task and checks for understanding and comprehension. Students would be engaged playing a game but as the same time learning new vocabulary and learning how to follow directions. By checking the students after each step, I would be making sure that they are active in the learning process and making sure they are on task and understanding. From this, I could figure out which students are struggling from what and pinpoint helping points for future lessons. I would encourage all teachers to try out this activity in the class, students would love it, I know I did!

Monday, October 6, 2014


Gamification, a generally new vocabulary term, but a long-used method of learning. When I started this Mod for my online class, I wasn't sure what the title Gamification was exactly going to entail. Were we going to be playing video games the entire time? What does this have to do with learning? I was shocked to find out that gamification was present throughout my entire education as a student and in fact, still is. Gamification, in my best definition, means including game-like techniques into learning to encourage students to be involved in a reward and praise filled environment. One prime memory of this in my education is when teachers used Jeopardy in our classes to be able to study for exams. I know on the days that we played Jeopardy, I payed attention. It takes the monotony out of learning and gives education the spice that kids need to really engage in their own learning. 10 Gaming Genres to Adapt in Class Kyle Mawer gives multiple examples and various adaptable scenarios to bring gaming into live classroom situations. Among the great ideas, a few stand out to me: Pacman (Arcade) and Puzzle Games. Arcade games (specifically pacman) stands out to me because it transforms a classic and well-known game into a learning experience. Who would have thought that pacman could bring out so many vocabulary terms... Colors, directions, exclamations. It's a full learning experience and you wouldn't even know it. I love bringing traditional things and making them learning experiences. I like the puzzle game ideas for the same reasons. I've always had puzzle games in my education and they have really benefited me as a student. I would love to carry on using them. In the article Sculpting Flow and Fiero Zac Hill one quote stands out in particular to me. Zac Hill states that "...a game designer can create and share a core emotional experience with an audience." Gaming goes beyond a latent interaction with its players. Gaming elicits an emotional response that connects with its gamers. This is an extremely valuable notion and idea that can be connected with the classroom with great success. What student wouldn't want to learn and keep learning by playing games? It's a great great idea and needs to be further developed. So.. How is gaming being used in the classroom? I think the article 7 Things You Should Know About Gamification gives a great explanation to this question when they say " In academe, gamification
typically employs elements such as points, badges, or progress bars to engage or motivate students in the learning process." We can really use gamification to bring our education to a whole new level. I can't wait to be able to include these themes in my classroom and I hope you found this research educational to you as well!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Twitter in Education

Twitter, as per any blogging site, is a way to share information. As learners, we can't know everything. It's a great resource to have other people to seek information from. Twitter does exactly this. It's a pool of knowledge from people from your field with experience and years ahead of you!
A couple pieces of information on how to get the most out of twitter for educational and professional purposes comes from the article The Teacher's Guide to Twitter. Within this article it lists four important ways to get the most out of twitter: Create, Don't just consume, Connect and Network, Keep at it, and Share your resources. Aren't these all ways to valuable learning and being a teacher without even knowing that twitter was involved? Aren't we as teachers creators, networkers, persistent, and fountains of information? Twitter brings these all together on one website. It keeps us up-to-date and constantly learning without having to research multiple sites. Like other blogging and social media sites, Twitter provides learners with news and new ideas. I could definitely see myself using this in my classroom. I don't think that I would require its use among my students but for my own professional development as a teacher, I can see myself using it. It''s never a bad thing to build up your fountains of information and resources. Another valuable piece of information about twitter and micro-blogging comes from the article Using Micro-Blogging Platforms for Educational Purposes. One quote that stands out to me in this article is "You’ll also find stuff you never knew existed. Use it how it works for you and just take it from there. Enjoy the adventure!" This article mostly explains the way to get the most out of twitter and tips for using it as an educational blogging site rather than person entertainment. Again, Twitter is just a way to find new fountains of information and learn about things you never knew existed, Enjoy the ride and the learning :)

Twitter Chats!

Although unfamiliar to twitter before this activity, I found the twitter chat to be easier than I thought it would be. I was nervous to be a part of the chat all week because I was so unfamiliar with twitter. Where do I sign up? How do I post? How do I hashtag? It all came into focus while actually doing it! I was really pleased that it wasn't as hard as expected.
The chat that I followed was #langchat. This group chat is mostly comprised of language teachers that discuss language issues. The issue of the night was Learning vs Acquisition and how it impacts our teaching. While I am not currently a teacher, I do have some strong feelings about this topic which made it easier to blend in. It was really fun to me to see that people were responding to what I had to say as well as appreciating my words. I loved getting retweeted and favorited! It was mostly concerning how we stray away from straight learning in the classroom and bring students closer to a native level status. This to me speaks highly about pragmatics and ensuring that we bring in outside materials to ensure that our students are learning from as many "natural sources" as possible.
I definitely liked the twitter chats. I found them to be really interesting as well as full of potential ideas and debates. I think at any given time if the topic is right I would love to join in and learn some new information. This I could definitly see myself learning as it is important to form a community of learners.
As per twitter itself, I still am really confused by the site itself. I don't really know its potential at this point having only been a member for a few days. I have a lot of learning to do and information to gather but I think it would give me ideas as a teacher and help me to stay current. I don't think this will be my main fountain of information as a teacher and a learning but I could see myself using it for the chats or just to look at news and ideas.
Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


WOW! I cannot even begin to fathom how useful this site could be in my future. ePals is a global website which focuses on language learning through sharing ideas and even classrooms. You can link up with another classroom and have students collaborate and correspond through email! This site is incredible. I wish I would have had an opportunity like this while learning Spanish. Even though I'm in the ESOL field, I'm still not sure what my future holds or which subject area I'll be teaching. If I do end up as a Spanish teacher, I would love to use this in my classroom. Being from a small town, I never got the opportunity to converse with native speakers of Spanish and i'm sure a lot of Spanish native speakers would say the same. Not only is this real life practice of conversing with natives, but also boosts cultural learning in the classroom. This corresponds with the LOTE Standards 1& 2 and would be really helpful to students to actively engage in learning. As per the ESOL benefits of this website, there are numerous. One of my favorites is the in2books feature, ESOL students are able to gain literacy skills by linking up with an eMentor in which they can share important ideas about what they have read. This is a great learning tool in which students can use their English skills to interpret their reading and be able to receive meaningful feedback in order to reflect and get better at their skills. This corresponds to the NYS ESOL Standards 1, 2, and 3. This website has great tools available for language teachers as well as students and I can't wait to use this in my future classroom.

Google+ Communities

As an up-and-coming ESOL teacher, I'm constantly looking for new resources and ways to connect with like-minded people in my field. Joining social networking groups gives us the opportunity to form a community of learners with others in our field as well as share ideas so that we can all benefit from a pool of knowledge. One social networking group that I found particularly useful to me is the Google+ Community English Language Learning. This community allows for both teachers and learners of English to share ideas and questions with each other. Once you are a member, you can also post and answer questions within this site. It's a useful tool because as human beings we can't know everything, pooling knowledge and connecting with others can boost the amount of knowledge we know or can find out. This community is a valuable asset to anyone in the ESOL field, or just curious people! I can't wait to find out more information from experienced people ahead of me in the field!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A learner is like...

A learner is like a sponge, constantly soaking up and growing bigger by what is around them. Learners have the ability, in the right environment, to keep on growing and soaking up information. If however their environment lacks the right conditions, they can dry up once again and lose that information. Providing students with a nurturing environment can give unlimited potential to what a student can soak up. In an age where traditional learning is almost obsolete, we must invent new ways for students to learn. We must stimulate their minds so that when they leave the classroom, the knowledge that they have doesn't dry up.
In the article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens makes an especially good point when he says the following, "Learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes, should be reflective of underlying social environments." A social environment now a days involves technology which should be directly influencing what students learn in school. They shouldn't be learning a method or way to do something and never be able to use it again. We need to supply our learners with the equipment needed to be successful so they can continue to use these strengths and soak up the world. By equipping students to do this, we are ensuring that they are prepared for higher-level learning as well as being successful in the future. We need to ensure that they will not lose this information and that the half-life of their knowledge will be significantly decreased.
Another quote of George Siemens as stated in his YouTube video entitled The Changing Nature of Knowledge, speaks again to the relevance of technology in the classroom, "Knowledge is really about the distribution that occurs across an entire network." He relates to the fact that knowledge these days isn't just about what an individual learns in class and retains inside his or her own head. It's also about the collectivism and connectivism theory that allows people to join together as a collection of ideas and knowledge and pool what they know with each other. Technology has made this a possibility and a reality. We are able to form a community of learners and share what we know among others. We can retain that information as a sponge does and on top of that, rely on what the professionals or peers in our life know as well and together, we are a bigger sponge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Post #3, Pinterest vs. DIIGO

Through taking this technology course, I have been to exposed to not only new forms of technological resources but also new ways to use the resources that I was already using! This is most definitely the case for this week's assignment. We were asked to explore DIIGO and Pinterest, two websites used for social bookmarking.
I was completely new to DIIGO before starting this course and still haven't quite grasped it completely. From what I've gathered through exploring the site as well as creating my own account, it's comparable to a bookmark tab on a browser with the capability of being social. What I found really cool about it is that it's an account that isn't linked to a specific computer and you can access your documents from wherever necessary. I really like this aspect of it. Comparing it to a bookmark tab on a computer, it's way better able to organize your websites using tags. It's also collaborative in the way that you can follow others and you are able to share ideas and websites! I could see myself using this in the future.
I wasn't unfamiliar with Pinterest before this class, but I wasn't completely aware of it's potential. I previously used Pinterest for new hairstyles and make-up techniques and thought it was more of a trendy site rather than a social bookmarking site. I learned today how to use something that I was already familiar with in a professional manner. There were so many visuals on this website and I really loved that! I learn a huge amount through visuals as a learner and I think there are many ideas on there that could truly benefit my students. It doesn't organize itself solely on tags which I also like. It's organized through topics and is really easy to search through! I don't necessarily think you can follow someone on Pinterest though which may be something it lacks. I know you can share pins with Facebook and Twitter, but not necessarily form a community of learners through it. I will DEFINITELY be using Pinterest in the future, it's got great ideas and great visuals!
Comparing the two, I think I'm more comfortable with Pinterest and that's because I've already been exposed to it. Also, as I said before, I'm a visual learner so seeing all of the bright colors and ideas really attracts me to this site. Don't get me wrong, DIIGO is an awesome tool, but it lacks a bit of creativity. However, it is a great resource to form a community of learners as well as it pools resources really well.

Monday, September 8, 2014

So you think you're JUST a teacher?

As a up-and-coming teacher, I've found that the word teacher doesn't quite cover exactly what we do. We are role-models, world-changers, and most importantly, innovators. On a daily basis we strive to give our students the best education that we can so that they can survive and thrive in the ever-growing world. Technology is becoming more intertwined into the education system. It helps students to become more modern but also more global. One way that we can be successful teachers is to introduce and give our students the opportunities to prepare themselves to be ready for the new age of technology and give them a whole new sense of learning in the classroom.

One video that I watched that really shows what teaching with technology can become is A Vision of 21st Century Teachers. Teachers of all ages participate in this video to show various ways in which they use technology in their classroom and empowering others to do the same. I particularly like this video because to be honest, at this point in my life I'm not so tech savvy! Through taking a technology course at my university as well as informing myself of the various technologies out there, I believe that I am assuring a better future for my students. This video gives various methods in which you can bring technology into the classroom on a simple level as well as more advanced methods. A few examples from the teachers in the video include: "My students use digital cameras to capture math in the real world," and "My students shoot videos to express themselves." These are simple yet innovative ways to bring technology into the classroom. I encourage all to watch this video.

Another video that I found appealing to reasons why the "traditional classroom" isn't quite working anymore is Educational Change Challenge. It refers to the traditional classroom as almost a jail cell. Why limit student's education to the four walls surrounding them? Should kids be defined to a setting where they are all supposed to learn only in the classroom and at the exact same pace? He refers to this system as almost industrial. We are pushing kids through the system on a conveyer belt. But not all students are alike, nor on the same level and we need change. He asks the simple question, "Am I creating life-long learners?" I like this video because it explains the relevance of students and teachers being on the same level of culture. Teachers need to be constantly teaching and learning for themselves how to help their students to be the most successful that they can be. Don't be afraid to experiment because in the end, you are only helping your students to grow and once again, becoming an innovator.

We are teachers, We can do it!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Using Blogs to Meet Learning Standards

Hi Everyone! And welcome to my first attempt at blogging!
For my first blog, I will be exploring (and learning along the way!) some ways that blogging can be beneficial in the classroom.

Being new to the graduate program as well as just starting to learn about education and the standards that are set in place can be very intimidating. The bar is set very high, but for good reasoning. We as teachers want to help our students to the very best of our abilities to learn as much as possible. Blogging, in various situations, can help us to achieve the high expectations that are in place for us as teachers as well as helping students stay connected to their own learning.

Based on the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)NY standards, there are five common areas that ESOL students should be able to fulfill. Two of these standards that I have noticed to be highly receptible to blogging are as follows:

1) English for information and Understanding
This key requirement that ESOL students have to reach states that "Students learning English as a second language will use English to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information for content area and personal use."

One way that students can meet this standard could actually be blogging!

According to the article Blogging in Language Learning one beneficial use of using blogging to fulfill this requirement could be facilitating class discussions. Almost everyone uses technology to communicate with friends, so why not use it for a classroom! With an interactive blog, students can practice their English, chat with their friends, and learn more about how to state their opinions. It will help their reading and writing skills and it won't feel as much like homework as usual! It will benefit them without even really understanding that they are learning! This also ties into the second standard which speaks to students using their English skills for enjoyment. Two for one!

2) Language for Social Interaction
Although this fifth goal is very tied into the rest of the goals, I think it speaks highly on the pragmatic level. Students from other countries may have tendencies to take over a conversation or even remain quiet, or some might just not know what to say in a conversation without coming off the wrong way. Facilitating blogs gives everyone a chance to state their opinions and write them out. Everyone has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and then be able to share them online with everyone else. In the article Seven Reasons Teachers Should Blog it states that "Blogging can give you valuable feedback. As you gain feedback from your readership, you gain a sense of peer review, sometimes challenging and refuting your ideas" The same goes with students, especially international ones. It gives students a way to empower their thoughts and especially find an identity while studying here.

I hope you guys enjoyed my first blog, look out for a second one coming out!