Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Did you know? 3.0-A John Strange 2012 Version

With the statistics shown, I wonder if the "American Dream" will surpass the expectations of the world from now to the future. I used to think that the "American Dream" involved doing your best and developing a life in which the majority of control is based on oneself, instead of the government. I find more and more that the government and public are more comfortable with the constrictive parameters that the government leaves (until a mishap occurs in which the public can blame the government). Unfortunately, the government seems to cripple the "American Dream" by setting the bar lower and lower, therefore making unqualified people put in the position of overly qualified people, making our performance as a country a constant catch up process. The employed becomes the learner for years to come and the world is stagnant, forever waiting for the future to speedily evolve at its ever increasing speed. All the while we protest our government, elected officials we were responsible for putting into office, and the world around us keeps evolving.
As one can tell, I'm overly bitter about this subject. Who likes to think that their future government has dwindled so much that corruption in the government and people is so blatant? Neither try to hide their fault, and only push the blame. I like to think that people gave this power to our elected officials, by hiring them. When the people want something done, their elected official pushes their agenda in whatever arena they can and when it's all said and done, a majority vote is used. If the agenda wins, I guarantee that the public is whimsically unaware of the backlash that comes along with all of the votes gained. They are ignorant of the many dark alley way deals that are added to the original idea's bill. When someone finally does, it's an ugly process that involves senseless deaths during protests and the cycle continues. Adversely, the public is now expecting our government to take care of the public more than it was intended to (pushing more power into the government's hands). I fully believe that this constant turmoil between the public and government is what stops our potential. The Japanese have an insane technological growth rate on us, because the government realizes their future and constantly goes after it. The Chinese are a largely labored country and their government exploits that and America's constant want to produce an extremely fruitful future. In addition, there are numerous countries that are considered healthier than us, because their government embodies their countries values and pushes for it. We were originally a country based on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but as a country, how much have we really gained from working together?

Mr. Winkle Wakes- (video)

I believe that in Mr. Winkle's happiness about the schools not changing, he is largely right. The schools are highly underfunded, and the most my high school and middle school had was a TV that broadcast major news events (9/11), watching movies, and daily announcements. This was about five years ago, and I highly doubt it has changed since. One educational tool that I think is a phenomenon in the classroom, is the Smart Board. One problem many teachers have is visibility of information for student. Chalk always seems to break and doesn't clean up well; similarly, dry erase markers can stain its white board or run out after minimal use. Both are constant costs (the dry erase markers especially). With a Smart Board, there is always clarity and its overall cost generally stops at its price. Sure, one might need a repair every once in a while, but every campus has a maintenance team, so what is to stop one from putting them through a Smart Board repair seminar? 

Another technology advance that I would like to see more incorporated is the use of the teacher's computer. I know that the internet is a powerful machine that can be an amazing tool in exploring all sorts of subjects. Why not use it? I would deter students from having one at their desk, because it is the equivalent of a video game. If there is paint, hearts, cell, or mine sweep, one can be sure the student will find a way to not pay attention. Even if everything but the calculator is turned off, the student's attention will be on that. With the teacher having the computer, he/she can look up articles about the difference between MLA and APA formats, pull up the different books, videos, and pictures (using the smart board as the projection) and maintain students' attention. Teachers can also post bell ringers, quiz answers (not graded), etc. If someone has a dilemma  about the use versus cost, they should be reminded that the military has put value into these equipment for their classrooms to adequately train soldiers in their given profession. 

Ted Talks- Ken Robinson (video)

That video was brilliant. When I was in school, I wondered about the same thing. I was really good with visual art, but so many people (excluding my art teachers) were quick to ask me: how will you make a living on this? Sure, I struggled with developing my art or developing my science and mathematics, but that was how I was raised. Adults have no idea how words effect the children they talk to on a daily basis. In second grade, my teacher took us aside one by one to test us on our multiplication of twos. She said she would give us three chances in three days to pass on our own, and if we failed, we would get a zero and a referral for after school attention. Day one and two were brutal, because my classmates passed without me, so I came home in tears. I remember running to my dad and crying about my failure. In an instant, he stopped my crying and told me that we would work on this together so I could pass the next day without a doubt. An hour and a half later, I had my multiplications of twos down. The next day, I passed. When I came home, I cheered with my dad for my success.

Though a good of a lesson about hard work, I don't ever remember coming home and cheering about my successes in the arts. My parents looked at it, smiled, told me it was great, but no cheering. Why? Because, how would I make a living on that? My parents are great people, and I'm not accusing them specifically of stunting anything. If anything, they were uplifting people. They taught me what they thought was important. Every parent has done this from past to present generations. Only a handful harbor the artists, and I want to be one in that handful someday. 

Pinterest for Educators

I've already got a pinterest account and explored its world. I knew that it would be a powerful tool for more than the procrastinators, and even before this class, I looked into the world of educators using pinterest. They shared everything from specific lesson plans to interesting tutorials about projects. Overall, I understand pinterest to be a powerful tool for future use. Why work harder when one can work smarter?

The only down side to pinterest is the sifting of information. It's a flood of information that leads to poor links at times, links that one has misunderstood in its descriptions, and sometimes just useless information for what one is looking for. I imagine that mathematics is going to be a harder subject to incorporate from pinterest, but a little research usually goes a long way.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

About Me:

I am a 22 year old female that is enveloped in the world of mathematics. It has become my home in many ways, but it wasn't always like this. In fact, when I was born to my parents (Edmund and Rebecca) I started my journey in Omaha, Nebraska. Because my family was a military family, I moved two more times: once to Honolulu, HA and then to Ocean Springs, MS. My father retired and I finished my high school (and some college) career while living with my parents. I fell in love while going to a community college with a boyfriend who I'm happily with currently!

Over the years, I've cultivated my interests to tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and cooking. I knitted scarves when my hands need something to do, but because my knitting didn't produce anything except for scarves; that interest was short lived. I also practiced martial arts religiously, but once I transferred to Mobile, AL to finish my schooling, I found few places to keep this up.

In the end, my passions have boiled to graduating college with a degree in mathematics and a degree in education. It wasn't my first choice, admittedly, but it was the right choice in the end. Mathematics poetically transcends time and language and is ever expanding, like science. The part that I love best about math: anyone can do it. Some people beg to argue with that statement, but a professor of mine put it best when he said, "I've never met someone who was unintelligent [referring to him teaching math students]."

My Future Classroom:

I want students to walk in wanting to learn about math. Alone, my passion for it doesn't stand a chance against the multitude of attitudes that would rather be at a mall, outside playing sports, or at home just "hanging out", but my passion plus the right setting, enthusiastic outlook of their futures, and my willingness to go above and beyond for the common student will hopefully catapult my vision for my future classroom.

When the first day arrives, I'd want to soak them to a habit of preparing their minds with a bell ringer. For the most part, the bell ringer (an activity for the student to do when they come into a classroom) would consist of some homework problems from the day or two before, but occasionally, I would print out articles for them to read and write about. Math journals would be boring, but career options and interesting research (where math majors venture into) would get them acquainted with the idea of their potential. In addition, the quicker they turned their brains from "socialization and/or sleepy time" to "getting ready to take notes time", the better the teaching experience becomes.

Though I will be a high school math teacher, I recognize the "ants in the pants" syndrome most students have, therefore half-way through the material would have everyone stand up to stretch for a minute before plunging back into the material. I remember having that opportunity in a specific class and thinking how revitalizing thirty seconds to a minute and a half of stretching worked in helping me to focus. I wouldn't repeat this process every day, but mostly days in which we were going through especially dry material.

Another implementation I would have in my classrooms would be to maximize their five learning senses. It's apparent that everyone doesn't learn the same way, so why should I teach to all of them using two senses when only a handful are grasping the material? Something another professor of mine told me was, from kindergarten to high school, kids are the same: they will work for a piece of candy. I would set time before class ends (maybe ten to fifteen minutes) for them to work problems from past homework and study guides. The ones whose names are pulled from a Popsicle jar would be called to the front; any that made the effort to finish the problem correctly would be rewarded with a candy of their choosing. This would once again reinforce the material given and hopefully stick with them better.

There are numerous ways I'd want to re-invent the classroom, but when all else fails, the basics will never let me down.

Dr. Randy Pausch:

I did not learn that much in this video lecture. I'm an excellent planner; my feathers do not ruffle if plans are switch, dropped, or added to my to-do list; and I am aware that if I don't do the most time sensitive and/or toughest portion of the to-do list first, my lists never seem to get shorter. If I had seen this video a few years ago, I might have had more interest in it, however my bills, schooling, two to three jobs, and homemaking duties do not allow me to veer too far off my predetermined path filled with daily lists. In fact, the keyboard I'm typing on is on top of my desk-top sized planner. Hint: it's not empty. End: Blog Assignment #1