Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project #14: SMART Board

C4T: #3

Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer posted a "Great Classroom Action!" idea's post that he's received from other fellow math teachers. All-in-all, I like the variety of ideas, but I wondered about the time frame for a few. One was a worksheet, so I know that would've taken a day or two at most, but there was one project about how to find out the surface area of a human. Students were critically thinking for what seemed a couple of days and they talked about different ways to calculate it (with the students' ideas; only mediation from the teacher). One group came up with a theory to measure around the body with a string, one used unit blocks, and one group even tried to calculate the individual fingers! All in all, there were good ideas and there were bad ones, but the point was to use critical thinking to find a solution. The results were off, but they ended this project with a classroom discussion as to where they went wrong and where they went right.

Another project that sounded lengthy was an investigator project. The students pretend to be investigators and solve cases using math. On first glance at the project, it really seemed lengthy, but when I followed a few links, I found that this project was something very malleable, because it's not one long investigation, but it's investigations of small things in short bursts. For example, the first inquiry made by the "SWAT team" was finding the area of a house (which had an areal shot of Micheal Jordan's house), because they needed to know how many people to send in. Another one was finding the height of a thief seen around a statue that was recently stolen (and actually is in real life). Critical thinking ensued and they found different ways to calculate everything. Most of it wasn't right, but because the teacher facilitated this as a group discussion, it headed in the direction of "right". Great post, and I look forward to reading more of his posts.

Post #2

We know that triangles equal 180 degrees because no matter what two angles you choose, the last angle will be the difference of 180 - (angle A + angle B), but what about other shapes like hexagons and squares? They also add up to a certain degree (540 and 320 respectively), but we can also create different shapes of cross-secting lines with a singular degree, like this one shown below:
As one can see, the shapes are odd, but as Dylan discusses, this is a great way to incorporate geometry for students who like a puzzle. They'll find new shapes and have a great time trying to figure out this classic problem. For more information, visit Dylan's blog, or check out links below:

Project: Green Screen (Harlem Shake Edition)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog Post #10

Papermate vs. Ticonderoga
John T. Spencer drew this illustration as a mocking comparison of "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" advertisements (if you follow the link, and look in the comments section, he blatantly says this). Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many interpretations can come from it. My interpretation is about comparison. In other words, we may have different tools, but the product is the same. The only difference is our personalities behind our decisions; whether we be cost efficient coupon queens or the self absorbed obsessive, we can still share generalities of jobs, financial situations, or hobbies. For EDM 310, my comparison would specifically be about teaching styles. Early style teachings can be out dated and not as effective, but modern teaching is sometimes about what the latest and greatest teaching style is, but also just as ineffective. Moderation and research is key, in my opinion.

In another post, Spencer posts a conversation between a teacher (presumably himself) and a principal.  The contents of the conversation was about a principal scolding the teacher for having a class play a game instead of teaching from worksheet packets and memorization tests. That alone screamed old world thoughts and simplistic teaching. I hope as a professor, I constantly strive to show that learning can be fun and interesting. It doesn't have to be boring. People will argue and tell me that children have to be serious and understand the main point and/or smaller details of any subject, but I'll always fight back saying "Why does that have to be boring?" It's not enough that we trudge in, plop work on their desks, and grunt at them like cavemen telling them to work. 'Engaging' seems to be a key word in teaching, and I think that was the idea behind his post.

"Don't teach your kids this stuff, please?"

This poem sarcastically battled the nay-sayers of new technology in the realm of teaching. It didn't seem to necessarily constrict to teachers, but could have been interpreted to include people with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and godchildren. The point: if everyone was to open up to the idea of online and technologically enhanced or based learning, good can come from it. It addresses that (sure) there are bad things that the internet includes, but the internet isn't made of only porn and distractions. It's mostly a great source for new information in a variety of flavors. For instance, if I don't understand a topic in calculus, I can look up videos, read several posts on the best way to look at a problem, and develop an individualized way of attacking that certain topic if I ever see it again. Without technology, I rely on books, my teachers, and peers to help me through tough subjects. Unfortunately, if I don't understand the first or second time a teacher presents the subject(questions included), my peers can barely explain the topic themselves, and I don't understand what the book is saying(or it doesn't cover a specific example that is giving me trouble), I'm out of luck and I miss out on test points, and future subjects may become more than difficult for me.

Understandably, the author ends on a "let's see who's horse is bigger in the future" note. Summary: just because bad things can happen with new technology, don't let it deter you from the out weighing potential it possesses.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

Mr. Joe McClung

The idea of end of the year reflections is a great one, especially for teachers. It reminds us of where our wins and losses were. Did we really do our best throughout the whole year or semester? Did we reach any goals and grow as an individual as well as a teacher? It's important to keep up with this self evaluation, as Mr. McClung pointed out. From the list of four blogs to read from Mr. McClung, I read the last two(found here and here). 

The first blog post I read covered was a lot of insight that confirmed how I felt about my teaching career. I want to be the teacher that is a role model and a friend to my students. I want them to feel comfortable in my classroom and always be willing to ask the dumb questions. He phrased it as "putting the students first" and in my own way, I will too. 

Another topic he covered happens to already be a vice of mine. I "touch the keyboard" when I'm tutoring. I like sitting at the front and confirming what student are doing right, even if their voice ends up at inflection when answering my questions. I do my best to facilitate their learning and critical thinking skills, but what use is it if I'm the one always asking the right questions and answering half of them? I'm impatient, but it's just another thing to improve, right? 

The last subject from this blog post that I liked was about not expecting others to be as excited about change as you are. To me, this is self evident. People become stagnate when they find a good groove and when an inventive or new approach plops on their desk they mentally turn off their brain right after saying to themselves "I've got this covered, thanks." Sure. The past was great, but great things also exist in the future. It might be better or worse, but it's our job to investigate and adequately give things a chance, especially if research and peer educators are giving it a thumbs up. I'm not saying it's necessary to rely on peer educators for this, but it's necessary to evaluate something's use through resources, guides, and intuition.

A woman looking stressed

The second blog I read only reviewed two topics, the first being about always challenging yourself. When going to grade school, I remembered the better days of comparing and contrasting 'Hamlet' movies, Quiz Bowl Fridays, and a competition for building a tennis ball catapult. In other words, it's the extra time that teachers put into making a project follow a lesson plan for a couple of weeks that make lessons memorable, even years later! I still brag about my tennis ball catapult, how many hours and reconstructions it took, and what my physics teacher's catapult looked like! In addition, that lesson had other impacts for me, like knowing how to construct and build something on my own, what factors held back its potential energy, and the list goes on. Challenging oneself is the same way. We need to be inventive and stunningly memorable so it effects the students in the way we want it to. If it doesn't, we should always look back at the black board to tweak or replace it with something better. The point is we don't give up.

The last topic that really perked my interest from this blog was his relating to peers and colleagues his own age. I suppose he's considered a pioneer at this school, but what good is it being a pioneer if you're the one doing it alone? Every Batman needs a Robin and just the same, teachers need someone on their side to help nurture and facilitate great ideas as well as trash bad ones. I'm not saying he's wrong for "out casting" himself, but just the same, peer evaluation can be just as important as a self evaluation.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream Pts. 1 and 2

I love books. I love the way they smell, what they symbolize, and how I know I'm going to be a better person (in some way) after reading it. However, this fashion of book loving has gone away and has been replaced by something that use to be written off as a mystery but nowadays is a tangible and viable source for more information than one book could ever give me: the internet. Streaming, creating, and sharing are typical verbs used in describing the internet because it's applications are endless! Just creating a document on the internet through (oh, let's say...) a blog immortalizes it in a way that could never be done with pencil and paper. Even if my apartment burns down, my blog will still be up and running. It's more organized and easier to read in some cases! "This Is How We Dream" talks about this and many more ways technology has seeped into our lives and has created an irreversible effect on our lives simply through the way we share information. It's true, we're behind, but what better way to catch up than through a proactive approach? Concerning multimedia, I'm not proficient in it yet, but I will be by the time I ask my students to do the same.

Carly Paugh's B.P. #12

Carly's post about how we should create our own playlist is a simple, creative, and fun idea. She outlined what parameters we should stay in, but she's even provided a way for us to still be individuals by saying that we only need to choose five off the list, but need to have at least 10 videos on our playlists. The possibilities are endless and the idea is extremely malleable to make this an assignment for children but with different parameters. I think it's another great way for us to share ideas, especially if we were to group up and watch each others playlists and write a blog post about it. I have even reviewed her playlist and it's up to 57 videos ranging from serious topics about disabilities to not so serious topics about how teachers are people (a Goofey interpretation). Anyone wanting to see her playlist should click here! Also, anyone wanting to read more about her blog assignment should click here! Thanks, Carly!

Videos: "EDM310 for Dummies" and "The Chipper Series"

"The Chipper Series" was about a student and the different ways she thought school should be taught, starting from her experiences as a student and ending with her experiences as a school director. In each scene, it's obvious that this is the typical student's attitude towards school, but as the series progresses she (like many other students) find that it's not so easy to just live without following rules and working hard.

"EDM310 for Dummies" was about the class Edm 310 and how to get through it using a simple guide. I thought the idea was cute, but this is already outlined for us in our "Activities", "Blog Assignments", and "Projects" links. The only way someone can't get through this course is if their pride is just too large, they're unwilling to change, or if they're illiterate. Sorry if I seem crude, but it seems this may have been made for the cute factor, but Dr. Strange has already surpassed its purpose...

Thus far (from these given examples), I'm imagining my video must be about Edm 310. Therefore, my video would be about the ways to get through Edm 310 with understanding the philosophies about the course and utilizing them to their fullest. For example, I would talk about how you don't necessarily have to read into every comment made about your blog and portray it as a personal attack, but instead read it as pure constructive criticism or an opinion that could possibly shape the way you teach or learn. Though this is just an example, the theme would be "Reading in between the lines of EDM 310" where we acknowledge that this course isn't the easiest, but there are ways to mentally defeat it.

Video: "Learn to Change, Change to Learn"

This video is a compilation of distinguished educators who realize what movement we need to take the future of education in. At the beginning, a guy talks about how 55 sectors were ranked on the technology usage and education ranked in the very last spot. Last? Last. We knew education wasn't exactly technology literate, but we're so behind that we're less technology literate than coal miners?  Ouch. The rest of the video talks about how we need to change our thought process and advance our horizons in technology so when we bring it to our students, we'll still be the ones they turn to for questions and obtain mental stimulation from our advanced lesson plans. I liked the video because of the resounding census of how far we need to take education. It was a good watch and I enjoyed it immensely.

[On a side note: the background music reminded me of a great video about success. Anyone else seen it? It's a great motivator which has gotten me through some tough times. Here's a link and enjoy.]

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

1) Classroom 2.0 ( This site is a great tool for educators and is just like Blogger, but better. On, one can customize and share their ideas while sharing other's ideas as well, but Classroom 2.0 is more like a forum where blogs, videos, books, and teacher reviewed sites come together specifically as a resource for teachers. It's already saved in my favorites!

2) Make Beliefs Comix! ( I lean more towards the artistic side in me rather than the mathematical side, so when something comes along in which I can merge the two, I get really excited! Here's a comic strip creator for the creative person in you! Fun and full of possibilities!

Comic Strip about a girl misunderstanding who the famous presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln) are.

3) SmileBox ( This innovative tool lets your creativity fly when creating things from online greeting cards to online slide shows. It seems to be a universally productive site that you can use over and over in the classroom and over and over in your life. This application can be used for phones and be posted to forums like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger. Great tool!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Here are some quotes throughout the lecture that I loved and wanted to share.

"When you're screwing up and no one bothers to tell you, that's when you know they've given up [on you]."

Honesty is something hard to come by. As a student, I always wondered how professors could so graciously accept criticism (constructive or not). At first, I thought it was them wanting students to realize "everyone makes mistakes" or "nobody's perfect" or just a correction before the wrong idea sets in, which may be the case for many professors. At second thought, it may be because they're striving for perfection, or they're glad someone's paying enough attention to correct their mistake. On way or another, Mr. Pausch says this because he wants people to open their eyes to what true constructive criticism is and what it means.

"Brick walls are there to keep the people who don't want it bad enough, out."

Determination to make your dreams come true is a must. There are many harsh environments for nature to live in, but it always finds a way to flourish. Just the same, our education is a race where we can limp off the track after falling, or picking ourselves up and push forward for what we want. It's all about attitude.

A professor recently talked to me about the possibility of getting my PhD in Mathematics instead of stopping at a Masters. I was taken aback because I never thought of that possibility, and when I asked him if he honestly believed I could do this, he said without hesitation, "Yes yes yes yes yes, of course, yes." My attitude had been shorting myself of a possibility. Now, I realize it's worthless to see myself as anything less than what I could be.

"Guys, that was pretty good but I know you can do better."

In this reflection, I realize many people finish activities and projects with a "WHEW! Done. There's nothing more to this" but people who come back and say "I know this is good, but something bothers me. I can make it better" are the people who will change the world. The unsatisfied. The tireless workers. The imaginative perfectionist. Striving for the better and unique is where change grows. This is where I want to be.

"That's the best a gift an educator can give their students: self reflection."

It's a great thing to want to be an educator, because we inspire so many kids and young adults to be better people, find careers, and develop life-long hobbies. One of the harder aspects of being a teacher is helping our students become better people. Even harder, showing them who they are and how others perceive them.

"I will fix this."

I loved this.Walt Disney is best quoted for saying "Keep moving forward." This is the same concept that I love to practice and hope to embody with my students.

Quote says: Don't strive to be the better person, strive to be a better you tomorrow

Project #9: PLN Progress Report

What is a PLN?

A PLN is Personal Learning Network. Its a tool that people (especially teachers) use that organizes their resources and learning tools to help them be more efficient at jobs, tasks, and enjoying hobbies. Tools that can help with a PLN include: Symbaloo ( or Edublog (

How have I started making my PLN?

My PLN (Personal Learning Network) is not as far along as I'd hoped. Much of it consists of Pinterest and pinning interesting websites to my boards and organizing it accordingly. This blog is a really great help with getting me started in building my PLN, but it seems that it isn't far enough along where I want it to be.

Where do I plan on taking my PLN?

There are many areas in which I hope to build up my PLN. I hope to better utilize the above tools and make a PLN specific to Mathematics. I already have several blogs I look at on a regular basis involving mathematics, but I hope to include more TedTalk videos. Twitter isn't my favorite tool, so I'll probably end up dropping it, but networking tools I love include Blogger, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube. I hope to expand on these tools for future educational usage.

Project #8: Mighty Ducks Podcast

This podcast is brought to you by the Mighty Ducks, which include (from left to right): Logan Kirkland, Alice Wise, and Jana Sharpe.

Project #7: C4K


Joseph did a short blog about lightsabers in WW1 and the strategy in weaponry changes that would be made on both sides. He included long, short, and medium ranged weapon comparisons, and even included types on weaponry that would work well against the lightsaber. There were some grammatical errors, like "is is" and "though" vs. "thought. Overall, he had a well thought out argument that was non-biased.

I wanted to leave a fairly thoughtful comment, so I wrote about lightsaber trivia that Star Wars nerds know. As far as I know, only a Jedi may use the lightsaber and I argued that if this is the case, Jedi were also telekinetic and could for see nearly current future events, making the use of any weapon obsolete. However, because we were discussing the lightsaber and not the user's ability, he was completely right in deducing that a flamethrower would be nothing against a lightsaber.

Laura W

"I am going to a birthday party it is a sleep over party it will be fun. and my friends and me are going to have so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much fun.I wish it was my birthday.I am so happy.and so are my friends."

I left a short comment about her party and how I hoped it was as good as she hoped. I added material about how my parties use to go and gave her a few tips on making her up coming birthday party awesome! Overall, her post was short (as you can see), and I did the best I could by expanding.

Leone and Kelly of Room 6

In this C4K section, I was asked to leave a comment on two children's blossoming class blog and a comment on the general class's blog. I think this was a cute idea but I really didn't have that much to comment on. Leone and Kelly didn't have anything on their blog to comment on, so I left a general "Welcome to the Internet". It was nice, and they are adorable!

Savannah from Mrs. Miller's Class

Savannah defined the word "hegemony" and had to use it in a sentence. She defined the word wrong and used it in a sentence wrong. The definition of "hegemony" is:

noun, plural he·gem·o·nies.

1.leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.

2.leadership; predominance.

3.(especially among smaller nations) aggression or expansionism by large nations in an effort to achieveworld domination.

She defined it as follows:
hegemony: when somebody abuses their authority over a person

She used it wrong in a sentence according her definition and the right definition, so by bare minimum I left a note about what the right definition is.