Wednesday, February 29, 2012



  1. An arrangement or match resulting from organizing or forming people or things into pairs.
  2. The action of pairing things or people.

Something interesting that a lot of my professors having been bringing up in class is the idea of pairing books together to spark interests in student learning. I know in high school, I had to read Shakespeare, A Tale of Two Cities, Grapes of Wrath, and so on. A lot of times, I felt myself struggling to finish the book, let alone comprehend it. I understand the importance of covering the "classics" in English class, but I also value the importance of students wanting to read the text and be enthusiastic about learning. Therefore I have really put some thought into books that would be great to be paired together. For instance, in my Young Adult Literature class, we talked about pairing the book The Scarlett Letter with Judy Blume's Forever. I think that students would better understand a difficult novel if it is paired with a book that has similar central ideas, plots, characters, or symbolism. It would also be a great way to encourage students to expand their realm of reading and allow them to search for books that they might like to read. I think all around that the idea of pairing literature would be very beneficial for students understanding of books that can be tough to get through on their own. I want to be able to adapt to best fit the needs of my students so that they can succeed in class, but also come out with an appreciation of literature.

Feel free to leave some suggestions of books you would pair together (:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Digital Youth

I was able to learn a lot from Sara Kajder's book "Adolescents and Digital Literacies: Learning Alongside Our Students." In particular, I really liked chapter two of that book because it talked about the 'digital youth era.' I feel like I have really grown up in this era and that is why I was able to identify with this chapter very well. When I was little, computers had just made their appearance so I basically did see the evolution of technology starting at a very young age. All around us we see the effects of this. Kids in third grade with facebooks, every student having a cell phone, in particular smart phones, and almost everyone having access to some sort of computer. The reason I liked this chapter so much was because the statistics were very interesting (as shown below)

-64% of online U.S teens had created some sort of content on the Internet in 2007.
-100% of public schools now have access
-3/4 of teens age 12-17 search online to access information about current events
-45% of online users report that information found online was significant in their decision making
-55% of online teens (12-17) self-reported having a profile within a social networking site
-80% of online teens (12-17) read/engaged within social networking sites, with more than half doing so at least weekly.
-50% of all high schools use communication and social networking tools, girls' use outpaces boys' use by an average of 12 percentage points. 

Other statistics can be found but I found this ones to be very prevalent. Knowing these statistics now, it is imperative as to why teachers' need to be aware and educated about the 'digital youth.' Technology is expanding every day and it is beneficial for our students to be able to use all of the materials that are available for them to use. Therefore it is just as important for teachers' to be able to effectively teach the usage of these materials as well as incorporate them into engaging lesson plans. 

Creative Lesson Plans

In class, we have had the opportunity to see many lesson plans and see how they could be incorporated into the classroom. One that I remember well was the lesson about the story trees. The idea is for the students to think creatively with one another to create a story. I liked this lesson because it allowed students to choose the direction that they wanted to take the story. It also allowed students to not only start their own story, but build off their peers' stories as well. I think this would be a great ice breaker for a new class. It will encourage student interaction not necessarily face to face, but through their online story trees! This lesson would also be great because some students really thrive with their creative edge. Allowing these students to have an outlet for their creativity is always a great experience. I think that the students and teacher alike would be able to learn things about one another. Students would really engage in this lesson because it is giving them the freedom to choose their own path.

In my Young Adult Literature class last week, our professor told us that one of the days was a free range, arts and crafts sort of day. We got to use glue sticks, scissors, and construction paper to create a book cover. Even  though I'm in college, I must say it was a nice break to have that slow day. After we were done with the craft we were allowed to look at things posted around the room or do a free write in our journal about the book we had read. Having that opportunity to chose what I wanted to do and at what pace to do it was really refreshing! So if I enjoyed an activity like that, I am positive high school age students would as well! (: 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Taking Initiative

I decided it was time to check out some of the websites that our books provide for us. There are thousands of sites available buts what's nice for us is the books found some that are aimed for educators. Whether that means they are user friendly, free, or available to students...all of it is really beneficial if taken advantage of! Without further ado... here are the ones I checked out so far.
1. PBworks:
    PBworks seems like a really great websites to use not only in a classroom, but in the business field. It acts similar to a wikispace because it is essentially a giant website for collaboration. It allows you to create a username and have so many users access your data. The site suggests that it is a great tool when used to collaborate between students and parents. It allows you to post documents, add links, embed videos and many more. There is a free trial of it which gives you limited access but if interested, that would be a good start to see if you like it or not. To subscribe for a classroom for 1 year would be $99 and to subscribe for an entire campus would be $799 a year. 

2. Clipboard
    Initially I was looking up but that site is being taken down and it directed me to clipboard instead. I liked this site because it allows you to highlight portions of websites that you want to keep and saves them for you. I think that this would be a great organizational tool for everyday use and even studying. Not sure how it could be incorporated into a classroom but I'm sure there could be a way (:

These sites and many others were found in the Hick's book, chapters two and three. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Class Activities

Many of you are in the Young Adult Literature class with me as well so this may be a little repetitive for you, but for those who aren't this is something really interesting that we did in class on Monday. We have been discussing different types of learning disabilities and in particular, disabilities associated with reading. On Monday, our professor passed out papers to us individually, face down, and asked us to not turn them over until indicated. Then she explained that when she says to, we will turn the paper over and have a short time period to read the paragraphs. Afterwards, we are going to have a quiz on what we read.

After flipping my page over I started to get a little nervous. My font was all smushed together and swirling all over the page. As a few seconds went by though, I calmed down figuring everyone else would be struggling with this text as well. After a short minute flew by she told us to stop and asked how the reading went for us. Most people just nodded their head or said "Fine." Next the professor began asking questions about what the text was about and hands were going up all around me. People were note only answering her questions but giving insight and their opinions about it. At that point, I felt really dumb needless to say! I couldn't understand why everyone else was getting this so quickly and I struggled to comprehend the first three sentences before the time was up. It was very frustrating and confusing for me to sit there as everyone was answering questions.

After she asked a couple of questions, she filled us in on the trick. She gave about half of us the paper with the messed up font and gave the other half what the paper would look like to readers without a learning disability. Once I realized that I must admit I was pretty relieved. I was happy to know that my struggles were not because I didn't grasp something I should have understood and that other people were in the same boat as I was. The moral of this lesson is to be wary of students who do struggle with learning disabilities. This activity gave me a personal insight into the frustrations a student could face when asked to do a simple task such as read a paper. If you notice a student who may be slacking or falling behind in class, don't automatically assume they are being lazy. Learning disabilities are very real and very prevalent and could explain their lack of achievement. Many of the students may not even be aware if they do have a disability.

With all of this being said, as a teacher, just be cautious of the issues at hand and keep an eye out. The sooner you can intervene and get this student help, the sooner they can succeed and be successful in the academic field (:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Class Presentations

As I was trying to figure out what I should do my blog on today, I found myself looking some of the websites that we have talked about in class. Then it dawned on me that I could do my blog on the importance of gaining knowledge through the presentations. The first few presentations that I have seen have been very informative and gave some really good insight on lessons that could be fun and engaging for students. Some of the lessons I liked but saw some ways that I would tweak them to work better in the type of school I would be teaching in.

I think that learning from others' creativeness (not sure if this is a word!) is highly valuable. As future teachers, we are expected to have some level of creativity within us and these lessons that we are seeing are great tools to refer to. I liked the idea of talking about Wikipedia and Facebook in class because these are things that are students are encountering weekly, maybe even daily. Instead of shunning these topics away (even though we all use them) we should show the proper ways to use Wikipedia and how to properly handle social networking sites such as Facebook. Some schools may not allow you to go over these in class but hey it's worth a shot! I think it is important to focus on topics students will want to learn about instead of topics that they are going to forget about by the end of the week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stop. Shoot. Send Presentation

So for those of you in my class, you know that I did my presentation on Monday for the "Stop. Shoot. Send" lesson plan. I really think that this lesson would be beneficial to use inside class. I think the students will really enjoy doing this because it involves something that most of us are addicted to..our phones! When was the last time ANY high school teacher ever ENCOURAGED students to use their phones!? I think this lesson would allow the students to engage into the project, learn about photography, study the importance and emphasis of words, and how to narrow down a broad description. Another great way that this lesson can be used is if you are teaching a section on poetry. It reminds me of a type of freestyle/haiku sort of poem and I think that this would be a good intro into teaching those. All in all I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would suggest this to anyone who wants a fun lesson involving technology. It is very modern and I certainly think it would help you gain some brownie points with the students (; I know I would have loved to do this lesson in high school and I hope that if any of you do try it, will get the same results! (Check below for links)

The point of this blog is to give some of the links that I had in my power point for a quick reference for you guys! I realize that papers/handouts can be lost in a sea of other papers that you get from class so in case you lose it, they will be here! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Variety of Students

Currently this semester, I am also taking a Special Education class. I have just finished up my second week of the new semester and already I have learned so much. I never really thought about how, as a future teacher, I need to be equipped in understanding all types of students. Each year, a whole new group of students will be joining my classroom so I better prepare myself! Otherwise I'm not going to be able to assist each student in the way they need for the best possible environment for learning.

In this class, we have just scratched the surface of all the different types of disabilities that a teacher may encounter. We were provided with a handout which can be used as a great, quick reference if ever needed! I was able to find the website for the organization and wanted to share it with you all. I would definitely recommend that you at take a glance at it and even print it out. This website provides the thirteen classifications of disabilities, how they can be identified, and other special services. Having this pamphlet with let me be knowledgeable and have a better understanding for when I do have students with disabilities. I think this is really important because it enables the teacher to create an environment where this student and all the other students can learn in the best capacity. I have included the link below! ( :

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities