Monday, July 30, 2012

Journal #6: Ten reasons to get rid of homework

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Education rethink. Retrieved from  

Summary: Spencer's "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework" talks about how homework does more harm than good to a child's educational experience. Spencer is a teacher who has not assigned homework for years; a teacher who believes in self-discovery and learning on one's own terms. In this article, he gives ten reasons to get rid of homework. For instance, he explains how children of all ages are busy and have lots on their minds; whether they have play-time or work, it can be very hard for them to fit in homework to their schedule. He also suggests that homework can demotivate students because it is an involuntary activity. Spencer goes on to describe how homework doesn’t raise achievement, causes bad working habits, etc.  Further into the article, Spencer suggests five alternatives to homework. He says that learning happens naturally when it is done on a child's terms, such as skateboarding. He also suggests that activities like charity work and photography can increase learning because they are done on a voluntary basis. 

Question 1: What are some downfalls of this "no homework" method? 

Answer: In my opinion, in order for a student to fully understand a concept, he or she needs to repeat an activity multiple times to get the hang of it. This activity should be spread throughout the day (not all done at once) for maximum understanding. Since students cannot focus on just one subject at school, they need to have time to reminisce on what they learned and practice any new skills they acquired. Because of these reasons, having no homework could actually backfire against a student. Furthermore, there are many children who run out of things to do during the day. When this happens, they often find alternate activities, such as video games or TV, to keep them busy. However, these activities often have no benefit on the child.
Question 2: Would I consider using the no-homework method in my class?

Answer: I like and agree with many aspects of the no homework method. However, there are some downfalls to this method (see above) that prevent me from wanting to adopt this method. Rather than no homework, I could see myself assigning more fun and meaningful work. For instance, I could have my students write an essay about a topic of their own choice. I could ask them to visit a museum. I could have them make a scientific model using household objects. In my opinion, there are endless alternatives to the typical pen-and-paper style of homework.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Journal #4: "Join the flock!" and "Learning & leading with technology"

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock!. Learning & leading with technology, 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from

McClintock, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning & leading with technology, 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from 

Summary: Ferguson's "Join the flock" talks about the importance of personal learning networks (PLN). Personal learning networks are places where people can share their resources and build interpersonal relationships with one another. These resources are often some sort of link (e.g. journal article, web page, blog, etc) and can be very educational. As mentioned in this article, Twitter is a popular PLN that can be a very useful tool, especially for educators. Ferguson mentions that you can find people of interest to "follow;" this is a feature that allows you to keep track of their newsfeed posts. Doing such gives you the opportunity to make connections and develop relationships with people all across the world. It also lets you explore and discover any resources that others may have made public. For example, if you are following the tweets of a famous educator, they may post a journal article that is of interest to you, and you may be able to adopt this as a resource to use in your class. Ferguson also mentions that posting your own Tweets, or "exposing yourself," can be a good way to get feedback and criticism from others.

McClintock's "Enhance your twitter experience" also talks about the importance of PLN's for teachers.  This article talks about how you should start to expose yourself in Twitter by sharing your ideas, which can be done by tweeting links. McClintock also suggests using hashtags in your tweets. By doing such, your tweet will become visible to educators who can provide comments and/or feedback on what you posted. Further in the article, McClintock suggests using TweetDeck  or Hootsuite as a way to manage and organize your social networks. She goes on to list benefits of such programs. However, one such benefit of using these programs is that they organize your social networks into personalized lists of people you wish to "follow" on a regular basis.

Question 1: Would I use Twitter in my classroom?

I would not use Twitter in my classroom, especially since I plan on teaching elementary school. I think Twitter is a great resource, when it is used properly. For instance, it can be very beneficial to anyone who is looking to network and make connections. However, when people start using it for pure pleasure, it can become very distracting. Furthermore, I feel like my students would see Twitter more as nothing more than a social website; it could become a major distraction.

Question 2: What are some positive and negative aspects about using Twitter as a networking tool?

As mentioned above, Twitter is a great place for exploration and discovery. There is so much information and knowledge available on the web; it is just a matter of finding it. Furthermore, Twitter is a great way to make connections with others. However, Twitter does have some negative aspects, too. Although I do not know much about such issues, I feel like Twitter could be a place where false information is published. This can range anywhere from false facts to gossip. There are also issues of piracy and copyright theft.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Journal #3: Upside down and inside out: Flip your classroom to improve student learning

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out: Flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning & leading with technology, 39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from

Summary: “Upside down and inside out” talks about a new method to teaching, the “flipped classroom.” It specifically talks about a Calculus 1 class from Minnesota. Instead of teaching a lesson to an entire class, the teacher pre-records her lessons for her students to watch at home; this frees up time to answer more specific questions that the students may have. When students come to class, they complete in-class problems and take daily quizzes to ensure understanding of the material, which can be taken independently or in groups. One of the ways they took quizzes was with a clicker, which gives teachers immediate feedback of their students’ understanding of the material. This article also talks about how students have more freedom in the classroom, such as listening to music and working where they desire. This is mostly because they do not have to focus on a lecturer. Furthermore, certain studies have found that the flipped classroom actually improves student test scores. Not only did students perform better on classroom tests, they also tested significantly higher on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment. Other subjects, such as History and English, have also started adopting the “flipped classroom” approach by using digital curriculum and e-portfolios.

Question 1: Could the flipped classroom realistically be implemented in most classrooms?

Answer: In my opinion, the flipped classroom could work very well in honors and AP classes. However, it may be hard to implement anywhere else. Students in honors and AP classes are generally very motivated; most of the time, they do not have to be prompted to do homework or study. However, not all students have such a strong work ethic; many procrastinate and fail to do their homework all together. If this were to happen in a flipped classroom, it would be much easier to fall behind than it is in a regular classroom, due to the fact that students would be missing out on many lessons/lectures.
Question 2:  Is the flipped classroom realistic for all ages?

Answer: In my opinion, the flipped classroom is only realistic for middle school and beyond. Elementary school students simply do not have the attention span and work ethic needed to complete these lessons at home; they need a teacher present to guide them and answer any questions they may have. Furthermore, teaching elementary students is much more effective when lessons are creative and hands-on. Unfortunately, this creativity and hands-on aspect is much harder to achieve when done in a virtual manner.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Journal #2: School 2.0

Technology Self-Assessment: School 2.0
NETS-2 Module: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

I chose this standard because as a future teacher, I know I will always be longing for useful tools and resources that I can use to help me devise and implement effective lessons. Fortunately, the link that is attached to this standard provides many different useful resources for teachers, students, and parents to use. This tool is called the "Technology Toolkit for UDL in all Classrooms," and the links it provides all pertain to technology in education. For instance, some of the links are tools for math, while others are meant for literacy. Examples of math tools included online graphing calculators and math dictionaries, while there were e-books in the literacy link. After reviewing the "Technology Toolkit," I realized that that there are many different free tools available at everyone's disposal. This is very beneficial to the modern teacher because it helps with effective and creative lesson planning. The "Technology Toolkit" also provides resources for everyone regardless of educational status and level. For instance, a third grader may choose to use the "math dictionary" link, while a high-school Calculus student may use the "derivative" link. And lastly, teachers can use this toolkit to tailor their lessons to the specific needs of the class they are teaching.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Journal 1: 100 Things

100 things that make me happy:
(1)family (2)friends (3)education  (4)music (5)laughter (6)softball (7)the ocean (8)animals (9)pasta (10) ice cream (11) Disneyland (12)Sea World (13)good health (14)helping others (15)Southern California (16)peace (17)television (18)sleep (19)board games (20)movies (21)making others laugh (22)Super Smash Brothers (23)Mario Kart (24)personal triumphs (25)watching others succeed (26)exercise (27)clothes (28)makeup (29)shopping (30)swimming (31)trying new things (32)traveling (33)playing the violin (34)sleeping (35)flowers (36)compliments (37)surprises (38)being loved (39)loving others (40)love, in general (41)going out for dinner (42)being appreciated (43)road trips (44)relaxing (45)Christmas (46)Easter (47)Halloween (48)birthdays (49)dressing up (50)bowling (51)being recognized for hard work (52)promotions (53)being able to support myself (54)fireworks (55)meeting new people (56)good deeds (57)magic (58)camping (59)learning (60)the sky (61)rain (62)sun (63)reunions (64)watching kids grow (65)dancing (66)star gazing (67)joking (68)barbeques (69)suntanning (70)volunteering (71)fishing (72)helping others (73)good grades (74)creativity (75)dreaming (76)college (77)airplanes (78)trains (79)graduating (80)the country (81)trees (82)lakes (83)water (84)mountains (85)being outside (86)being goofy (87)aloe vera for sunburns (88)summertime! (89)jet ski (90)water skis (91)inner tubing (92)kayaking (93)boats (94)go karts (95)mini golf (96)shoes (97)jewelry (98)Slurpee (99)talking (100)freedom