Monday, February 27, 2012


As I was reading through our textbook Adolescents and Digital Literacies, by Sara Kajder, I loved reading about the website "Diigo."This site allows you to bookmark sites to an account online. This means that whether you are on your laptop at home, or a computer in the library, you can have the websites all in the same place. You are also able to highlight things on the site and add sticky notes to remember important information. After reading about this website I checked it out a little myself online and found out that it's free! There are plans that you can pay for, but the free plan seems to have more than enough. You are able to have unlimited bookmarked sites and up to 1000 highlights per year. I think this tool seems extremely helpful in researching for a project or paper, and not only see myself using this for my classes, but also introducing this site to my students if they are interested in using it.

Comic Life

One of the lessons I really enjoyed learning about was the Comic Life lesson. I remember from personal experience, trying to make my own graphic representation of something (and I am by no means artistic whatsoever). These projects were always somewhat difficult for me because it made me feel as though my work was never good enough and I'm not used to turning in work that I'm not very proud of. I think Comic Life would be a much easier tool for me to use and for it to look professional. I also think that it looks like it would be fun to create, even for students like myself who don't usually enjoy this type of assignment.
In my own lesson about podcasts, one of my original ideas was to combine these two lessons and have the students make their own comics and then create a podcast. I think it would be fun to make these comics come alive in a way and add sound effects or music or whatever else they can think of.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Don't do anything that will make you look stupid"

In my ELL Strategies and Practices class, our professor talks a lot about his own experiences as a teacher and is always trying to give us advice on what to do in our own classroom. My favorite piece of advice is "Don't do anything that will make you look stupid in front of your students." It just makes me laugh every time he talks about it or tells a story where this theory of his came in handy. He believes that if there is something within the classroom that you may not be fully confident about doing, make the student do it instead. These are mainly silly things like passing out papers, or pulling down the projection screen. He claims that doing these things, and possibly messing them up, will make your students think you're an idiot. He told a story about how one of his kids was the main person to pull the projection screen down when needed (this professor claims that this activity makes you look like an idiot because it is rarely pulled down perfectly on one try and then you stand there trying to figure it out, so he pawns this job off on the student). This student pulled down the screen, and as he was walking away, the screen fell and hit him in his head. Now of course this professor made sure the kid was alright and sent him to the nurse's office just to be safe, but he said instead of feeling sorry for this kid, all he could think was that he was glad it wasn't him. He said it would have been remembered by the students forever, and he would have been known as the teacher who had a screen hit him in the head. This story was just a funny little anecdote, but I wonder whether this strategy of his is really useful or not. Sometimes I think he is right and that you have to look professional in front of your students and look like you know what you're doing. I also think though that when you can admit to not really knowing how to do something, it can make you more relatable to the students and they may feel a little more comfortable in the room with you, which in my opinion can lead to far more in depth discussions if the students aren't intimidated by you. Just some thoughts for the day...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ignorance and Superiority

An incident occurred this morning in my Educational Measurements and Assessments class. I honestly half ran to my computer when I got back to my apartment so I could blog about it.

The class started out innocently enough, discussing the different grading policies that are implemented within various school districts. One policy came up that stated a "D" would be considered a passing grade for any class except Math, in which you had to achieve at least a "C" in order to pass the class. Immediately this policy irritated me a little, because why is this one subject being held at a higher standard than the others? What if students have a harder time understanding the concepts of mathematics, this seems to be discouraging from the start. Then a hand went in the air from the back of the room (I thought it would be someone asking these very same questions I was wondering to myself) and I heard this girl say, "Well I understand why they would have this policy because it is a known fact that there is a higher level order of thinking involved in math, and those who are better in math have a higher I.Q. than say someone in literature." You could have heard a pin drop in the class we were all that silent. Now, just to give you a picture, I sit in the front of the class with about three or four other English Education majors and I think you could visibly see all of us stiffen and look at each other silently expressing the words "Excuse me? Did I really just hear that correctly?" This girl then proceeded to give examples of Newton and Galileo being geniuses that are far beyond anything literature could accomplish. I was grateful when the student next to me uttered a single name, "Shakespeare" making most of the class laugh and agree. 

I understand that we all tend to be partial to our own specialities, but I just could not understand the need to put another subject so below your own. I think it is a combination of all the subjects, and each student's likes or dislikes that creates learning as a whole. If someone can look at numbers but can't read or write a sentence correctly, how does this place them above a student who can crank out a well written paper but can't grasp the concepts used in mathematics? It scares me that this person is on their path to becoming an educator and cannot clearly see that every specialty has its own worth and importance.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Social Media

I came across this picture someone posted on facebook about an hour after we left class today and it just reminded me of some of the topics that were discussed in class. I think this picture is just a funny way to briefly sum up how people use the social media that is so popular with our culture.

In class we discussed how we can use these different sites in the classroom. I think it is important to be aware and knowledgable about the things that our students use on a daily basis. In Kara's presentation about facebook and really taking a look at what is on your profile, I was blown away by the fact that people spend almost eight hours A DAY on these websites. I have never given much thought to how much time I spend on these sites because they have become so ingrained into this generation's everyday culture. This statistic was especially significant considering that I eventually do want to become a teacher, and I think an important aspect of being a teacher is your ability to relate and connect to these students. I think incorporating websites like facebook or twitter in the classroom can give them a way to feel comfortable, not only with the teacher, but also in participating in an activity that they know so well and obviously enjoy.

A Brief Introduction

My name is Suzanne and I am starting this blog initially as a requirement for one of my classes, but I am honestly excited at the idea of keeping a blog. I have always considered starting one as a way to keep myself writing on a somewhat consistent basis outside of the classroom, but I could never pick a subject to actually keep a blog on. This blog will mainly be about various educational experiences or concerns on my own journey to becoming an English teacher. Enjoy!