Big Huge Labs

My movie poster: http://bighugelabs.com/poster.php

A creative website I am definitely next year with my students is called Big Huge Labs. The site is free and can be accessed here: http://bighugelabs.com/

This site offers a wide range of options for students to use pictures to create movie posters, motivational posters, magazine covers, and trading cards to name a few. Providing the students with the academic choice of what they would like to create is one of the things I find very appealing about this site. Next year I could see this website being useful in social studies, science, and all of language arts.

My favorite thing about this website was creating the trading cards of famous people. I see students obsessing over Pokémon cards so I think using the trading cards for famous Americans or explorers would be a great way to help the students learn about famous Americans. For language arts I think I could have the students create a movie poster of a book they read to help remember the characters and ways of catching an audience attention with one or two taglines.

Overall I think this was a great site that I would highly recommend to all teachers.

BigHugeLabs.com: Home of fd's Flickr Toys

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Extracuricular Empowerment

This week I had the opportunity to watch the TedTalk by Scott McLeod titled Extracurricular Empowerment which gives insight into why we as educators need to stop limiting the capabilities of the internet by over censoring.

The video can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyIl4y_MRbU&feature=youtu.be

Mr. McLeod gives some very powerful examples of how the internet/social media has changed the world for so many of our youth. Using real youth for his examples in the video will make every educator think about how students aren’t all using social media for negative things such as cyber bullying. With such a high percentage of college students late on their college loans, the idea of creating students who could enter college with six figure jobs could prevent the added financial pressure that causes some students to quit school. Josh, Lauran, Sam and Martha are all real life role models for the students to use social media in a safe way because it can financially change your life.

Similar to other activities students engage in during a school day, eliminating something because of a risk of danger is not an appropriate step for success. During recess fights can occur during soccer games or any activity. Does that mean we need to take recess away? Its ridiculous to think activities such as soccer should be removed because it builds teamwork so in my opinion it isn’t fair to heavily censor social media from our students access. Similar to soccer, I will remember to model the appropriate use of the internet and use logical consequences if someone violates one of the school policies. I want my students to understand how powerful social media can be when used appropriately like Martha and Josh, but still realize there are consequences for not using the internet appropriately.

Generation Like-How does it affect me as an educator?

This week I watched a PBS educational video, which in my opinion every teacher should view titled Generation Like http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/. Generation Like takes an analytical look at how social media is impacting the lives of the students that will be in our classroom.

Generation Like gives educators an insight into the large variety and unique ways social media is affecting student’s worlds. The reason I think all teachers should view this video is it will change the way you teach your first two weeks of school. For me, I know teaching the students the importance of being safe while using social media is now going to be one of the things I teach during the first week of school. With so many schools adopting one to one technology for students, I think discussing the ways to be safe on the internet during the first week lets the students know how important using social media safely is.

One of the buzz words in education, and one of the most effective tools for teaching procedures or behaviors is modeling. This video reminds me that if I expect the students to take internet safety and use it to its full potential, I need to model appropriate use. This is the first time I have participated in a blog and it is an idea I would like to try to utilize in my classroom. By using the class blog I think it keeps the students engaged because it is giving them instruction through a media they are motivated to use. It also will provide the opportunity for me to expose my students to the possibilities social media can have to educate us about up to date information we are interested in learning about. Instead of giving them a paper book about a topic that they will potentially lose, with a blog I could send text and a video since student’s are more likely to view a video which will hopefully hook them into reading the text associated with the subject.

One of the reasons I believe social media is being used by so many students this generation is it gives up to the second information about every little thing that happens around the world. Before viewing this video I thought I was aware how impactful social media is on children, but now after seeing the video I was stunned to see the amount of real money that can be generated by getting likes. As a teacher I want to help my students understand that even though several likes might equal more popularity or money, it still never justifies lying or posting false information initially.

Digital Media- New Learners of the 21st Century

Recently I had the chance to view an eye opening video about integrating technology and gaming systems into New York’s state mandated standards titled, Digital Media New Learners of the 21st Century, which can be found at https://vimeo.com/20018135. The program that stood out to me in this video was called Little Big Planner which is a Playstation 3 game where the kids had the chance to create a new level for a video game. The students were getting the opportunity to design a new game level for an Aesop Fable story.

As a graduate from Virginia Public Schools, I wish I would have had projects similar to these while in school. I think every activity I viewed in this video provided the opportunity to engage in the 4C’s which are: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity (Lamar, 2013). The Little Big Planner activity where the students needed to read a paper story of an Aesop Fable, then transition it into a graphic novel, and finally produce a new level of the fable on the PlayStation 3 had the students engaged in all of the 4C’s.

Critical Thinking

I watched the students select the scene from the fable they were going to use for their game, which forced the students to think critically about what scenes are important and how they want to create the characters.

Collaboration

The students were playing each others games and giving feedback, as well as working together to trouble shoot.

Communication

All aspects of this program require the students to communicate directions to each other in the game and provide feedback on the game.

Creativity

This project screams creativity because there is so much room for academic choice by the students as to what will be included in their fable game. The students used templates but had control of creating characters, settings, and animations used in their level.

I love how the video used the analogy of teaching and assessment are similar to video games in the fact that you should not just move on with learning new content until you have reached mastery of the previous content. “Doing game design in school teaches you to attack a complex problem into smaller pieces”(Digital Youth Network 2016). I think this is an amazing concept in reducing the learning gaps in students because of building a solid foundation.

 

References

Lamar, J. (2013, July 10). IS THERE A BEST WAY TO DEVELOP THE 4CS IN ALL STUDENTS? Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1249-is-there-a-best-way-to-develop-the-4cs-in-all-students

Digital Youth Network. (2016). About DYN. Retrieved on June 8, 2016 from http://digitalyouthnetwork.org.

 

Physical and Behavioral Adaptations

Currently I am in my third year of teaching third grade where we are lucky enough to study a large variety of science topics such as simple machines, ladybugs, earth cycles, layers of soil, and animal adaptations to name a few. The most popular seems to always be the topics where we learn about animals. To try and learn some new activities for my classroom next year and break away from traditional activities such as drawing animal, the standard I have decided to focus on is animal physical and behavioral adaptations.

3.4             The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment. Key concepts include

a) behavioral adaptations; and

b)         physical adaptations

During this semester I am hoping to learn a variety of ways to incorporate the 4C’s of creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking while using technology.

Creativity:

I think I will discover multiple ways to incorporate creativity into my lesson plans with multiple entry levels for students. While starting to search the web one website I found was called Build Your Wild Self http://www.buildyourwildself.com/. This website lets the kids choose from a large variety of animal adaptations to create themselves as the perfect animal. I like how the site makes the students pick their habitat first to integrate the concept of the adaptation should be useful for survival.

Communication:

I am hoping to discover more engaging ways of communication during this semester, but tying into the Build Your Wild Self website, an activity I would have the students do is post their animal to a GoogleDoc and have classmates pick any risks to the animal and one strength of the animal.

Collaboration:

To build off the Build Your Wild Self website, an activity I would have my class do is to pick the animals created by other classmates that would survive in the same habitat as themselves. I would also have the students identify which animals would be a threat to them. During the semester I am hoping to discover new ways to create engaging presentations with programs other than Prezi or Powerpoint.

Critical Thinking

To determine which adaptations the students will select, they will need to use critical thinking skills to ensure they survive. They will need to justify why they selected each adaptation and how it helps them survive. Another critical thinking activity I might use is to post a picture of an animal and have the students try to create a name for it. An example would be:

 

 

TeachThought

While trying to decide which blog I am going to follow this semester, I was torn between Larry Ferlazzo’s ELL blog and TeachThought. I am currently a third grade teacher in at a school with a 93% ELL population, so my goal was to find a blog that would help me learn techniques for helping ELL learners. I was skeptical that TeachThought would be as useful as Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, but all students need critical thinking skills regardless of their native language,so I came to the conclusion that TeachThought would be the most useful blog for me.

The reason I decided TeachThought would be the most useful blog is because of the ease of use. I like how the blog has the four categories of critical thinking, learning, teaching, and the future of learning. Since this is going to be the first blog I am following, I wanted to select a site where I know I can find information interesting to me without spending too much time searching through the website. Currently I hear the administration at my school talking about project based learning and this blog offers strategies that will help improve my instruction. Another reason I like this blog is because it looks forward into the upcoming trends for education. By reading the future of learning section I think I will be able to better prepare my students for what will be expected of them as learners.

One of my goals as a teacher is to create open minded skeptics out of my students. I think too many students take the information they receive as the only solution as oppose to questioning why things work or are the way they are. The name of this website is exactly what I believe open minded skeptics need to do which is THINK and question the information they receive. I am excited to explore this blog and incorporate some of the ideas into my classroom.