Getting Organized

Today I met with fellow student teachers to go over our expectations and course work for this semester. After we all started looking at the assignments and especially due dates we all felt a hot rush of panic overwhelm us. We have been so excited & nervous to begin working with real students none of us had stopped to consider our additional work for our own classes. Quickly we had to stop & regroup.

First, we all began by going over the due dates of each assignment and logging them into our calendars. Then, we all agreed to meet up weekly on Monday evenings (before football starts) to keep each other on track and collaborate. In the last few minutes of our meeting we all began developing our first few pages of our Teacher Work Sample (TWS) formats on our drives. It was so nice to chit chat, question each other about various aspects, and get immediate feedback on our projects. By the time I left, I felt accomplished & ready to conquer this semester.



Educational Innovation


Photo CC by Celestine Chua

Thinking of what “innovation” means, I think of expanding something into a new diverse manner. Education must be innovating or we will always be playing “catch up” to those that are innovators. It won’t be an easy task but with determination and an open mind teachers are innovating on a daily basis.

This semester was full of innovation for me. One of my classes was solely an open education concept. We had objectives to go by but how we gathered the information and then presented the information was completely done in our own creative, unique manner. This class, too, had me expanding out beyond my comfort zone a lot. Learning all the ways to make and display the daily creates really had me searching for new apps to accomplish what I had in mind. I was also pushed to express myself in a variety of ways which I hadn’t done before, so that took time for me to adjust and be receptive to it. Although I am not 100% convinced of the use of Twitter in education, especially since I’m more focused in elementary and special education, it was good to learn the aspects of it so that I know what students will be taling about. I could see it used more in upper grades with intense monitoring and participation of the teacher too. As George Couros says it in his article, “The Mindset of an Innovator,” “I will utilize the tools that are available to me today and I will continue to search for new and better ways to continuously grow, develop and share my thinking, while creating and connecting my learning.” It may take a while for me to see the total educational value of Twitter or Facebook, but I must remain open to it and perhaps utilize it within my classroom someday.

Innovation makes me see that we must teach with objectives in mind but how we take in the information and present the information is where we could allow students to take more charge in doing so. We are their compasses, just guiding them when they go off track.

What have I unlearned?  As a future teacher going into special education I and many people need to unlearn, “the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning,” as Will Richardson explains in his article “The Unlearning Curve.” This really grab my attention and the “Aha” voice keep going off. This is so important when working with special education students. While self-directing themselves can be a challenge for some, they actually show teachers this day in and day out when they are trying to learn something. It will not be just like everyone else they can and are capable of learning different content in their own time.

Unlearning and innovation will be continuous concept to work on as we enter into our teaching professions. We must remain open to it and objective of the changes that surround us on a daily basis. We may even get veterans to unlearn and innovate some of their ways along this journey.

Good luck everyone!

Learning Through Independence

As we wrap up our independent learning projects, there are some aspects of photography that I have learned along the way and more importantly about myself. I enjoy learning new things and broadening my horizons and for the longest time I just pointed a camera at an object and clicked away. Never really thinking about how or why to compose the best possible picture. I just crossed my fingers and hoped to get a nice picture to reflect upon later or share with others.

This process helped me to learn that I can get very side tracked when it’s not a vital lesson for me. As a life learner, I get to a point that there are so many items that I want to learn about but there’s not enough time to deviate to everything. To pick out just one thing at a time is just not possible, but I must try to do so. I can’t truly learn something to its greatest potential unless I can remain focused on one thing at a time. I also realized that I can be somewhat creative when I choose to. This is an aspect that I have put aside while raising children and trying to complete school.

Motivation on this projects was somewhat difficult. Not that I didn’t want to know more of how to produce better pictures, but because I ended up quite sick for nearly a month. This was just frustration on my part; due to the fact that I couldn’t go out and capture more pictures and practice new skills. Then on top of being sick, our Minolta camera took a dive. I wasn’t going to spend money to fix it so I then had to refocus my learning to using our digital camera. This turned out better anyway; due to the fact that I will most likely being utilizing a digital camera in my future classroom anyway.

By implementing independent learning into my classroom it will be a personal learning experience for my students. Of course, I would want to begin with letting students pick a topic that interests them the most. Gradually, I would want to push them into other topics to broaden their learning and skills. I see this as a highly motivating and creative process for many students. Just as I have learned to utilize so many other technology programs so will my students. Overall, they will be learning not only about a topic of interest but learning to be creative, learning new technology, and cultural dynamics that surround them and what they create.

Lastly, the best part out of this project was taking the pictures. By doing this, I was able to take a time out from all my homework and relax a little bit. I noticed too that I really began to look at things around me in more detail. I would notice the lighting of features more or the shape of things differently. It really made me slow down and really “see” the world around me and appreciate it so much, much more. Some of my last pictures that I have taken, please enjoy.

Working on lighting with flash or without and some action photos (hard).


Out around town shooting whatever captured my eye and working on thirds rule.


Walking the dog and the beauty that surrounds.


My Practicum classroom working with students on Newton’s Laws of Motion.


Can’t wait for summer time, live to ride.


Teaching Is A Road Trip

This week was about creating a digital story based on a metaphor. I focused on a teaching metaphor for my future students. It was hard to pick just on e metaphor because I see many things that relate and contribute to my beliefs of teaching and learning. I choose to make a WeVideo and then uploaded it to YouTube. Enjoy and I look forward to your comments.


Creation Alternatives

While exploring through online creation tools this week I was able to find more tools to get my thoughts and teachings across with. After exploring Piktograph and Canva, which are great in their own individual ways I choose to try a Piktograph. Once I was aware of how things were set up on this site it was easy to maneuver around and fun to find new things to use. As for the comic strip creation tools, they were interesting and fun to work with. I like the comic strips for students that have a hard time reading because these are short and sweet with word choice yet filled with dramic art work to get the comprehension across through visualization.

The most challenging thing to do was figuring out how to utilize my own photos for some of the slides. After playing around with it though it is very similar to other sites when uploading your own items. Some items I had to go through the tutorials available so that I was better able to access and use them. For my little presentation I just wanted to share some things that I have learned personally and just a few tips that have helped me become better at analyzing what picture to take; instead of point and shoot.

I can see utilizing these tools in a classroom in the upper grades more than lower grades. I feel that it would be a bit to much for lower elementary students to work through. Upper grades would be more suitable to maneuver through all the options. Some students of course may need extra assistance trying to get things arranged and written out the way they would like but it can be done. This is a great point too, teachers must make themselves familiar with these tools beforehand to better assist the students. I feel the students would favor the comics version as a project more so than the other typical presentation options which are similar to Google slides or Powerpoint. I definitely see these tools as a benefit with junior and high school students to use for presentations or story telling options.

Is there value in presenting information in these visual or graphic styles? Yes, I do feel there is invaluable value in allowing students and myself to present information in this way. One, it allows one to relay information to others in a more creative manner. It, also, gives personality to ones opinion or research on a particular topic. Secondly, I have found that it makes the student want to find out as much as they can on their topic to fully understand it and then convey it accurately through their visual presentation. Allows for more open education to take place without them even knowing it. Any learning tool or teaching style that allows for the maximum learning to be obtained while giving freedom to critical thinking and solutions really gives students the best of their educational experience. Since most students today have access to computers and all that they have to offer, I’m sure I’ll learn more from them in the long run. The best teachers learn from their students.


Photo CC

“Serial”esness Improves Learning


Photo CC by: Ruta N Medellin

Before this assignment I have never listened to podcasts or seeked out digital stories. Well I have been missing out. This may become more interesting to me than Netflix (so addictive).

I found these articles on podcasts and digital stories to be very inspirational. It gave me a new way to look at how to expand critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creativity for my future students. Having such great tools to access allows students to tap into their creativity that they may not have thought they had. It provides them a way of expressing themselves when otherwise they might never had with other traditional teaching methods.

I watched several digital stories, these two were my favorites: “Adapting to a New Culture” and “Camera Obscura.” These were informative shows and kept me interested in what they were talking about. When watching “Adapting to a New Culture” I could sense the girls sadness and confusion within her life. I feel that this type of connection is what can and will keep students connected to listening and watching these stories. “Camera Obscura” was more informative and historical, but I found it interesting for my independent learning project.


Photo CC by: Wesley Fryer

Again, a historical perspective may capture students attention in a different way than just reading from a text. There were so many different topics to find digital stories on, just amazing the creativity and willingness to share information that is out there. Especially like the examples shown, “Teachers Guide to Digital Storytelling,” it helps ignite others ideas on projects that I am currently working on and for the future.

The Leviathan Chronicles podcast captured my attention and I plan to keep listening to this one. So glad these are free. This one is not appropriate for an elementary setting but I’m sure I could find some that would work or have the students create one. I see a lot of these more useful at the higher grade levels not so much in the elementary unless specifically set up for their ages.

Other aspects that I like about utilizing these tools is that it allows for an integration of Common Core Standards and subject matters when students are listening to, writing, and interpreting information from these devices. I feel it can be accommodating to all students needs and levels of creativity. Coming from the perspective of my special education field this could be a down fall for students that are deaf. Other means of providing the story or podcast would have to be taken into account. Same for those that a blind that can’t watch a digital story but at least could hear what’s going on. Accommodations are something to consider before using these.

Overall, it excites me for the possibilities of what I will be able to bring to my future students. There are so many wonderful tools that I can access through today’s technology. I don’t miss the days of how I was taught. I can enrich, stimulate, and drive more critical thinking and creativity in students now then just a decade ago. Imagine what another decade could bring us as educators? Unimaginable!!!

DS106 Week 4-Wrappin’ It Up

March 24th

March 26th

March 27th

March 28th

March 30th


Photo CC

March 31st

April 1st

April 2nd

April 3rd

This wraps up my Daily Creates for the past 30 days. It has been quite a learning experience for me. I am not usually the creative type when it comes to all these tasks. By trying this out for the past month I learned some new programs that are out there to inspire and spark my creativity and that would be good for students to use. It really made me get out of my comfort zone on some of the projects. I found it most difficult to get on Daily Create on a daily basis though. I would forget to do one or two and play catch up later. I also found that I needed time to come up my ideas, I’m not a spur of moment kind of person when it comes to doing creative projects. I like to think it through and find how it inspires me (if at all). That was difficult too, when projects given did not inspire me. I needed more time to do those and come up with a decent outlook.

As for utilizing this in my classroom, I would love to challenge some students with this. This would be great not only for my naturally creative students, but for those like me that need that extra push to be creative. Allowing them to find and use any method of technology to make their projects comes to life really allows for critical thinking, questioning if/how it will work, and opens their creative outlets. If some of the projects did not inspire students, I would like to see what they come up with all on their own or let them create that daily create project for everyone to try.

Overall, these Daily Creates pushed me beyond my comfort zone but allowed me the freedom to express myself; whether I’m in a silly, serious, or mischievous mood. I do see the benefits of using these with future students too. Unfortunately, so many districts are getting rid of art and music programs and this would be one way to allow students to express themselves. Great experience to have, thank you.