Challenge Post #6 Guest Blogger

One of the things that attracted me to my fiancé is that he is a teacher. This continues to be something I love about him. Sharing a profession that we are both passionate about is going to be wonderful! Well, lucky for him, that also means that he is always on hand for when I need him (hello craft preparation when I teach preschool!).

I asked Ryan to write a guest blog for me about his time as a high school special education teacher and his decision to pursue a Masters degree in English. He’s knew to the blogging thing so go easy on him 🙂

I had a wonderful experience as a special education teacher.  I looked forward to my job and often found out that it was rather unpredictable.  Sometimes it could become stressful, but it was all worth it to see some of our challenging students make it to and participate in graduation.  Other times it was wonderful to see students exit the Special Education program because their abilities grew and they no longer needed the services.  Those are the victories I’ll cherish and hold onto.
Over the last 5 years of teaching (now on my sixth), I have been exposed extensively in the English curriculum, and had many opportunities to co-teach English courses.  With this opportunity I have grown a passion for English, and wanted to learn more about something I ruled as “boring” back in high school. Over the last few years I have toyed with the idea of going back to school for English, but have never pulled the proverbial trigger.  I finally decided I was done waiting, and sought out an all on-line program which led me to Southern New Hampshire University.  Next school year I will be switching position within my school and transition from a special education teacher to a full time English teacher.   I am so excited for the opportunity to teach English. I want to help young people find their passion in all that the English curriculum offers.  
The masters program has been helpful so far in fine tuning my reading and writing skills.  I am thankful for the opportunity to get better, and hope that my education will help me be a better English teacher.

Challenge Post #8 Tools for Assessment

While writing my technology integration lesson I realized that one component I need to get better at is how I assess students. For this challenge I have the option of looking at different tools to use as a way to assess students – perfect!

Some options that were listed to work off of were: Google Forms with Flubaroo or SuperQuiz Add-OnSocrativeInfuse LearningPoll EverywhereKahootMentimeterCellyExit Ticket

For no specific reason I chose to look further into … (drum roll)… Socrative! With this tool students can access assessment questions designed by you. The results to their questions show up instantly and as a graph so you get an easy to evaluate visual. Socrative also generates a variety of report types. So, when you are evaluating a lesson or unit you can view a report that will help you determine which components are good, which need work, and which need to go.

Want to learn even more about Socrative and how you can use it in the classroom? Check out this tutorial and enjoy. 🙂


Challenge Post #7 Google Add-on

Recently I shared a concept map which I made on Lucidchart. Well I forgot that for one of the challenge posts I could check out a google add-on… and what do ya know… Lucidchart is a super sweet google add on!

Google add-ons are just that… things which you can add to your account to access while working on a google doc / excel / sheets. Some of these are features similar to those Microsoft Word has – I recently got the word count add-on for a big paper I had to write. Others are super sweet tools… like lucid chart!

When I open the add-on it appears in a window bar on the right side of the screen. For this particular app you just need to click the ‘create’ button and you’re off! You get redirected to a window where you can choose what sort of chart or floor plan, or whatever (there is also a blank option so the choices are endless). From there a Lucid window opens are you can create your graphic organizer. Once done, the map is saved and you can insert it form the window pane on the right of your google doc. Any that you have made will appear there so it allows really great overall access.

I like to be organized. I think that as a teacher it is very important to be organized (although a little chaos is always to be expected). Lucidchart would be a great way to keep your files organized. You can use one to plan your classes out (who doesn’t love a visual for things like that!) Individual students could get a chart to help them see what their goals, and / or expectations are. Students could learn how to use it and make floor plans if there is an assignment where that would be helpful. So. Many. Possibilities!! This is really a worthwhile add-on to get!

And, if you missed it from my previous post here is the concept map I made with, the wonderful Lucidchart!

Concept Map


More cool tech apps

I know I said I have a hard time blogging and I’m still getting used to technology… but now I’m going to share ANOTHER cool tech thing I recently did for a class! Look at me grow! 🙂

The class Math for Educators has been very beneficial. I am in the second of three courses we have to take as part of the elementary education requirement. Not only am I gaining a better understanding of math than I had after my elementary math years, but I am learning how to be one day be an effective math teacher.

One of the exercises we do in each math course is to put together a concept map at the end of the semester. This allows us to really think about what we have learned and how it all fits together.

I should probably mention the reason I am sharing this as a cool tech app is that I made it using Lucid Chart. I had no trouble making the concept map and customizing it. Much different than drawing one by hand last semester – my lacking artistic skills made for a frustrating night! I remember being amazed in class by how many students had done their maps electronically. At the time I thought there was no hope left for me to learn how to do something like that – I was over the hill. But look at me now, Lucid Charten’ it up!

So, without further ado here it is:

Concept Map

Tech Integration Lesson

Recently I discussed the SAMR model of technology integration. One of the final assignments we had to do for Ed Media Apps was to write a lesson that incorporated technology. I thought it would be fun to share that here, particularly the cool app I found for the lesson.

I decided to develop a lesson for 2nd grade math. Although I plan to teach pre-k, or k, I want to make sure I am also familiar with standards for other elementary grades. Math has also become much more enjoyable (thanks Dr. G!) so it seemed like a fun challenge to use that as the curriculum.

(disclaimer… this is the first lesson write up where I am trying to integrate technology in a way that adds to the lesson… so constructive criticism only… and go easy on me! haha)

The common core standard:


Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.

The main web tool I found which I really like is, Create a Chart, a tool on the Kids Zone website sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics. This is an easy to use program for developing a variety of graphs.

For this specific lesson students will be making bar graphs. First they will measure four objects in the classroom, and record the results in a basic data chart. They will then access Create a Chart on an iPad or computer (in my imaginary classroom I have the perfect number of both).

To make their graph they add a title, label the axis’, pick colors for the graph, say which unit they used (cm or in for this lesson), give the necessary max. and min. values, and put in the object names with the lengths they measured them at. All very easy to do! The graph can then be previewed so adjustments can be made if necessary.

Here is a sample graph I made: graph

Once students have completed their graph, they can use it to help them compare the different lengths of objects. They will also all put their graph onto a padlet page. That will allow everyone to see the work their classmates are doing! Those who finish quickly can add pictures of the objects they measured, and compare the lengths of objects which other groups measured. The latter of which will be the focus of our group discussion when we come back together at the end of this lesson.

This lesson could be considered Modification (the M of SAMR), however, I still feel like there is more I can do to integrate technology appropriately. In order to become as skilled at that as I like, I just need to keep practicing and continue brainstorming potential lesson plans!

I hope you enjoyed a taste of a lesson I developed! Keep checking back, and I will keep posting lesson ideas and plans… that way you can see me grow as I eventually become a teacher!

Challenge #5 Technology Models

There are two models for educational technology which explore what components can help integrate technology into education. Early in the semester I did a screen cast of the SAMR model. For that reason I have chosen to explain more about SAMR (TPack is the other model – also very interesting and informative).

The challenge of this post is to find 3 resources that explain SAMR more. After explaining these resources I will discuss how it will impact my future lessons.

SAMR stands for, Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. 

Kathy Schrock gives a great explanation on her website. (Click the website word to access her site :))
One of the things that helps me connect to SAMR is how well it fits into Bloom’s Taxonomy. Whenever I am unsure if a lesson plan is going to reach the redefinition stage, I just ask myself if it would be requiring students to create something new and unique. Ms. Schrock has a wonderful image on her site that connects all of Bloom’s levels to one of the stages of SAMR. 

Another image which I think does a great job explaining SAMR further (I’m a fan of images), is the one below. This comes from Learn Maker, a group based in the UK that helps teachers, and schools of all levels integrate technology.
This graphic is clever and makes me laugh at how simple it shows the SAMR model to be. 


Don’t have a ton of time but want to get a better idea of what SAMR is, or explain it to others? Check out the video below. In just a few minutes you can have a basic understanding of SAMR, and understand examples of the different levels of SAMR.

What does this all mean for me?
For me, both of these models, but particularly the SAMR model, are very useful. This semester I have grown a lot in my own tech comfort level, and in how important I think it is to include into education. I have gained a lot of tips and tools that I look forward to using in my future classroom. However, an essential component to using technology is HOW it is being used. Simply substituting technology is not going to add much to a lesson. The main focus of a lesson is typically not specifically tech related. That focus needs to remain as technology is incorporated into the lesson. The technology then needs to take the lesson’s focus to the next level.
I have previously been hesitant about technology (if you’ve read my other posts you know I purposely avoided it for the two years I lived abroad). However, when I see technology another tool to help children work up the steps of Bloom’s Taxonomy, I see that it can play an essential role.

I will continue to reference the SAMR model as I plan future lessons and I will strive to plan lessons that bring students to the point where they are being creative and developing things that were previously inconceivable!

And just for fun, (because when is it not good to laugh?)…

Challenge #4… Hmmmm…

 Since starting my education, education at UWP my overall feeling has been 
one of reassurance. I learned A LOT during my time teaching preschool at 
Hlanganani. During my first semester of classes a lot of what professors 
said about being a teacher, classroom management, etc. were things that 
made me say, "I know that, I learned that form my preschoolers!" This was
very comforting in that it made me feel like I truly am on the right path. 
This isn't to say that I'm not learning a lot, I definitely am, I am just 
very happy to be able to put my education classes in the context of real 
world teaching.
There have definitely been some concepts taught that are making me think 
and reevaluate some of my attitudes towards teaching. Ironically one of 
the biggest ones is the role technology can have in the classroom. I have 
made it not secret that I have spent much of my life being uncomfortable 
with technology. I will always avoid overusing technology and take lots 
of opportunities to encourage 'old school' forms of communication (snail 
mail letters people, snail mail letters!!). I will however, no longer shy 
away from incorporating technology into my life and into my classroom. 
One of the biggest concerns I am developing is that I still see a lot of 
teachers who have been teaching for a while, not realizing just how 
ingrained it is in current students. They do not know life with out it an 
that is not going to change. Although I at first wanted to resist the 
message Eric Sheninger is making, I eventually became much more open and 
understanding to it. 
The other big concern that I have is how effectively internet safety is 
being taught to kids (and adults!!). I have gotten the impression that 
there is a big gap here. No one seems to want to take responsibility for 
that, and people are pointing fingers at who they think should be 
responsible for it. So this is where I still have a lot of questions. 
What I plan to do to get some answers is find out from my future district 
what their policies are on internet usage. I also like to ask current 
educators what they are doing to help educate their students on internet 
safety. What are YOU doing, or what do YOU think should be done to teach 
students about being safe on the internet?
Does the responsibility rest on parents, or on whoever is allowing access 
to students (so in most cases schools)?
One site that I found helpful is ConnectSafely. This site provides 
information on many commonly used internet sites and apps. There are also 
resources and tips for educating kids, and making the tools you allow 
access through safer for students to use.