Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week 6 Reflection #etlead


This week really allowed me time to think about my education and how education has changed so much over the years.  Learning is an exchange between teachers and students it is not just a teacher filling students with knowledge.  I commented and had a lot in common with classmates’ blogs.  I shared the article quoted below with classmates.  

I contributed to others learning this week in several ways.  I shared the following article when a classmate was talking about allowing our students to explore their interests  The article talks about career academy high schools where students choose their career and academic pathways.  This applies to this weeks reading because it is a new way of teaching and learning in school.  One classmate was not able to get her book this week so I shared some essential ideas that were in those first chapters.

This week gave me some reflection and rethinking time.  I got to share my feeling about how school works and read and share on other students blogs.  I also questioned other classmates to get them to think more in their blogs.   



Pearlman, Bob. Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills

Tech. N.p., n.d. Web.



Week 6 Blog #etlead How does the culture of your current teaching environment differ from the learning environment you experienced as a student?


When I think about my learning, as I was growing up, I think of minimal technology and the teacher as the authority.  I remember playing Oregon Trail on an old floppy disk on an old computer, which was the game to play.  I remember having the job of cleaning the overhead projector film rolls.  I did not learn keyboarding until I was in high school.  These were my experiences with technology in elementary school.  During this time, the format that we “did school” in was listening to the teacher and doing what the teacher said, I don’t remember working collaboratively.  The teacher was always right and we had to listen to the teacher.       

Things have changed dramatically since I was in school, especially elementary school.  My daughter who is in Preschool knows how to run an I pad better than I do. Children are starting to use technology at very young ages and it is important that teachers keep up on that technology.  Students are not only learning how to play games but they are learning how to crate games through programs like Unity 3D (Gonboy, 2014).  Students know so many different programs they can be teaching us how to use these programs so roles are shifting and school environments are changing (Gonboy, 2014). 

In the past, the teacher was seen as the authority and the only holder of knowledge.  Today, schools are seen as learning environments where knowledge is being created and transferred back and forth (Douglas & Seely, 2011).  Students are learning with their peers, not just their teachers.  Students are learning skills in gaming communities like how to learn from others (Douglas & Seely, 2011).  In schools we need to be having our students work in groups and have the social interaction and learn from each other. 

In doing research, I did not go to a computer until later high school and college years.  It was straight to a book or encyclopedia.  Today, many students have not even heard of an encyclopedia.  “Students are using technology as investigators and producers of knowledge” (Pearlman).  Students today use various types of technology in doing their research.       

Schools and education are continuously changing and teachers should embrace these changes in technology and classroom structure.  Students and teachers are now interacting with each other to create learning.  Technology fills most classrooms and schools.  Our classrooms and schools are becoming learning environments.  After doing reading and research this week, I have come to realize how important it is for teachers to stay current and accept the change.  This weekend is when ASTE begins and it is a great way to keep up on current technology and learn about it.      


Pearlman, Bob. Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills.

Tech. N.p., n.d. Web.

“The Potential of Unity.” Interview by Kyle Gonboy. Youtube, 12 Feb.

2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <;.

Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the

Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?,

2011. Print.


Week 5 Reflection #etlead


This week I discussed being innovative and how difficult it can be at times.  There are so many resources out there that help teachers when they want to be more creative in their classrooms.  One resource I shared on my blog was a book called “Teaching Number Knowledge”, which has some great supplemental math activities.  Teachers could use this book to expand on their mathematical toolboxes.  I also asked teachers to think about their time and how we can be innovative when we have so many other mandated things we are required to do.    

I commented on other students’’ blogs and shared resources and provided confirmation for their feelings.  I found a website about teachers being like actors in their training and shared that on a blog.  The questions that Dave Burgess asks in section 2 of his book really resonated with me so I have made sure to bring those questions up to others and I also shared them on my initial blog post.  The questions are simple and can really give teachers a chance to be innovative in their planning and in their teaching on the spot.  I found these questions to be so important and I made sure others have really thought about Burgess’ questions.  I gave this idea of having those questions typed out and posted near your desk so that you can refer to them often. 

 I answered questions that were posed in other students’ blogs in order to create and maintain rich conversation.  It is all about having conversations back and forth with each other, that is a great learning experience.  I learned from the questions that were posed and the questions that I posed back made others think therefore it was a learning experience for everyone.  I also contributed to other students’ learning by sharing resources and highlighting how important Burgess’ questions were in making simple creative changes in your classroom.      


Week 5 Blog #etlead How do we maintain excellence as we innovate?


Innovation is “the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs” (Wikipedia, 2014).  Teachers are naturally innovative.  We are always adapting to changes that come at us by the minute.  It is often difficult to deal with these changes.

I have only been in the classroom for a couple years so I find it a little more challenging to be innovative.  Beginning teachers often struggle with catering to the diverse needs of learners, managing student behaviors, and reporting to parents (Johnson et al).  As a beginning teacher, all of the stresses and struggles in other areas make it a little more difficult to be innovative.  I think that as I move along in my career and teach one grade for a couple years, I will become more innovative but for now, I feel like I just have to get by.

Dave Burgess is innovative in his lessons and many people would strive to have great lessons like his.  In his book, I found it very helpful and inspiring to read the questions that you ask yourself for each type of hook.  I would like to compile a list of these questions and keep them next to my desk so that I can read and ask myself these questions routinely.  I found inspiration just by reading and thinking about these questions.  They seem simple but how often do we ask ourselves these questions in order to be more innovative? (Burgess, 2012).

Bob Wright and his colleagues, attempt to make it a little easier to be innovative in their book.  This book outlines various fun math mini lessons and ideas for one on one.  Some of the strategies are as easy as having the students line up and count by 10s off the decade flashing dot cards and having the students recall.  The materials are all included on the disk and lessons are outlined for the teachers.  This is one of my favorite math books to use as a supplement (Wright et al, 2012).

Overall, I find innovation necessary but often times difficult to do while attempting to maintain excellence.  Teachers have a lot to juggle in order to be “excellent” and time is always an issue because there is never enough of it.  I think that as I move forward in my career, it will become easier to become more of an innovative teacher.

Burgess, Dave. Teach like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity,

and Transform Your Life as an Educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess

Consulting, 2012. Print.

“Innovation.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

Johnson, Bruce, Barry Down, Rosie Le Cornu, Judy Peters, Anna Sullivan, Jane Pearce,

and Janet Hunter. “Conditions That Support Early Career Teacher Resilience.”

(n.d.): n. pag. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <;.

Wright, Robert J., David Ellemor-Collins, and Pamela D. Tabor. Developing Number

Knowledge: Assessment, Teaching & Intervention with 7-11 Year Olds. Los

Angeles: Sage Publications, 2012. Print.

Week 4 Reflection #etlead


In my blog, I discussed a few different methods that I used in my class to keep students engaged.  Other students were interested in hearing more about the ideas that I posted about.  Many students in the class teach secondary students so I have contributed elementary ideas to their learning.  Dave Burgess also comes at the ideas from his experience teaching secondary.  Many of his ideas can also apply to elementary. 

In my blog I talked about Daily 5 and teaching with the book Polar Express that caught the attention of a couple classmates.  I elaborated on those ideas so that these students could learn more and possibly apply these ideas in their own classrooms.  I explained the Daily 5 and gave the website out so that this literacy structure could be used in other peoples classrooms.  I also contributed the elementary perspective on collecting feedback. 

I commented on other students’ blog and contributed to their learning by sharing my ideas of keeping students engaged.  One classmate talked about building community in your classroom to help with engagement.  I shared some ideas for creating community in your class by having students share things about themselves in various ways.  I shared the idea of doing an all about me board and also and all about me worksheet at the beginning of the year.  Getting to know classmates is a huge step in keeping students engaged.          

I shared an elementary perspective with classmates by giving some ideas that work in the elementary grades.  I commented on a blog that talked about posting an essential question at the beginning of the lesson and finding different ways for students to summarize the lesson at the end.  I shared some ideas for what I do in the elementary grades such as think-pair-share, graphic organizers, and verbal sharing.  I also shared some attention getters and differences in students’ attention span. 

Overall, I contributed to others learning by sharing elementary ideas and strategies that have worked for me in those grades.  I also shared some resources and classroom structures that could work in elementary and could also be applied in secondary. 

Week 4 Blog #etlead How do we keep our lessons engaging? Does innovation play a part in this?


There are so many methods you can use to keep lessons engaging for students.  Innovation plays a huge role in teaching every day, we are looking for new ways to engage students or we encounter unexpected things that require us to be innovative.

Dave Burgess discusses methods for keeping students engaged.  He begins his school year by setting a tone of fun and comfort to explore learning.  He is constantly finding ways to keep his students guessing and excited to come to class (Burgess, 2012).  Burgess also discussing having passion for your subject, you are not passionate about everything you teach but it should appear to students that you are.  “When a teacher is passionate about his or her subject matter, this enthusiasm is infectious” (Teacher, 2014).  Students know when a teacher is enjoying what they are teaching, so if it is not your favorite subject, find other ways to be passionate about it.

Being innovative and trying to find new ways of engaging students and teaching various lessons is time consuming.  Teachers have a lot to do and often times, innovation is at the bottom of the checklist.  Teachers have to manage and teach daily classroom activities and behaviors, attend meetings and professional developments, communicate with families, plan lessons, look at student and professional standards, and the list can go on.  Most times these duties need to be fulfilled before teachers even think about innovative ways to engage their students.

A lot of times, students are not engaged in lessons because they become bored with the material.  One way to keep them engaged is to make sure you are teaching on the cutting edge of their knowledge and are solving various tasks (Wright et. al 2012).  Students should always be thinking beyond what they know but not so far beyond that it becomes too difficult for them.  Another way that I kept my young students engaged is by changing activities often.  An organizational structure that I have used in my classroom is Daily 5, which worked well with my multi-grade classroom.   The students were constantly moving to different activities and making choices for which activities they went to (Boushey, G. & Moser, J. 2006).

As far as things flopping, sometimes the kids get way too excited about things like this and it ends up being a crazy free for all.  I have tried to teach some lessons like this and they flop when the students get too much freedom and get out of control.

One of my favorite things to do around Christmas is to read the Polar Express and set up my classroom like a train.  The students would come to school in PJs and we would pretend that we were boarding the Polar Express, I would wear a conductor hat and the kids just ate this up.  This is one example of a fun and engaging thing that I have done in my classroom.  It is amazing how much the kids love things like this.

I believe that teachers are natural innovators because that is the nature of the profession.  Teachers are constantly dealing with changes and having to come up with new strategies on the spot.  There are so many ways to engage students and so many resources on the subject, it is just a matter of trying things out and finding out what works for you in your particular class at a particular time.


Boushey, Gail, and Joan Moser. The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the

Elementary Grades. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2006. Print

Burgess, Dave. Teach like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity,

and Transform Your Life as an Educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess

Consulting, 2012. Print.

“TEACHERS.” Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2014.

Wright, Robert J., David Ellemor-Collins, and Pamela D. Tabor. Developing Number

Knowledge: Assessment, Teaching & Intervention with 7-11 Year Olds. Los

Angeles: Sage Publications, 2012. Print.


#etlead Week 3 Response


Our group collaborated this week to make a serious game evaluation tool.  We began our discussion by all deciding at least 1 component that we felt was important to have in a serious game.  From that list we came up with 7 rubric items.  Team members added evaluation criteria under each rubric item based on a 3-point scale.  The evaluation items include: clear purpose that relates to the learning objectives/standards, transference of new skills to real world by promoting positive and responsible choices, interactivity by creating an authentic environment, and the students are able to interact with others in the game, well-organized, risk oriented problem solving (hierarchical levels of difficulty as students progress through the game), Entertainment Factor (motivating and engaging), game provides feedback as the player takes risks and learns from his/her mistakes, and identity: students take on a new identity by helping create the world they work in such as designing an avatar.  We used the 3-point scale because a lot of districts use the Marzano scale so most were familiar with that.  Our team worked well together and everyone contributed to creating our rubric.  It took some time and tweaking and still could use some work but we are happy with it for the moment.