Friday, March 27, 2009

Journal article review of : Hooked on Classroom Blogging written Rachel Peters

This article is about a teacher who was given the opportunity to participate in a program called live in the Field sponsored by Earthwatch. Rachel went to Vietnam to help scientists study butterflies. Part of the experience she was required to keep an active blog and be connected with her students and submit lesson plans based on her trip. Her main goal was to teach her students about Vietnam, its geography, culture, and the Vietnamese people.
Her students are nine to ten years old and she said that her greatest challenge would be making the blog interesting for them. On her first attempt she had basic questions to be answered with concrete facts. She was not happy with that and she directed her blog more into the student discussion area were her students could share their thoughts. She also created online quizzes with rewards and that got her students hooked. In her article she lists tips for blogging in the elementary classroom. One of the tips was "1. Post questions that students will enjoy answering-questions that encourage them to share personal experiences and opinions..." When she returned she left her blog up for others to see: Rachel Peters' Blog.

Q1: How effective is this type of activity as a teaching tool for students?

A1: I would say that this is a wonderful way to share an experience with your students that is also very educational and productive. The biggest thing I liked about this type of activity is that Rachel was teaching her students about another culture and the people that lived in that culture. From my experience American students need to be aware of other cultures around the world so that they are not isolated in their personal perspectives. Students can learn a great deal with an activity like this. The interactivity for this type of project is great, the students participate and learn a lot through blogging and answering questions and relating it to their lives.

Q2: Can this activity be used in other means, not every teacher can take trips around the world and share their experience with their students.

A2: I'm sure that if you could be acquainted with specialists in various fields like anthropology, bio conservationists, and many other exiting fields. You could ask them to blog with your class. An example of this would be studying Egypt, you could ask many historians working there if they wanted to participate in a classroom blog and you and the historian could formulate questions and activity's the students could complete using the blog and technology.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Journal article review of : Bringing Math to Life written Tyson Tuchscherer

This article talks about mathematics courses are getting interpersonal with creative and interactive robots that students can use mathematics to reach students that are struggling with math. These little robots are called CalcBots and they can be personalized for each student, and very small and inexpensive. They are actually calculator programs that can be hooked up to a small race car like device and you can attach many devices to them to suite the students needs.
The students program the bots with equations and functions to do simple tasks, like measuring a distance, or something as complex as navigating a maze.
These little bots are highly interactive and according to the article many student success story's have came out of this experience. One girl in the article who had disciplinary problems was using two bots to create a synchronized dance routine. Another boy who was struggling with academic subjects discovered a new talent when he figured out how to program his bot to do search and rescue missions with a temperature probe mounted on the CalcBot. Even teachers are getting new tools to gain their students attention to subjects, and they are also teaching basic programing and math applications in the same lessons.

Q1: How are CalcBots helping students learn mathematics?

A1: These CalcBots help students learn mathematics by using equations and function commands to direct the control of the bot. But more importantly this type of tool shows a practical use for mathematics that the students can relate to and interact with. I know many students ask what the point of math is, when will they ever use what they learn. And that is a hard question to answer correctly to keep the students excited about math. These bots are perfect for showing a practical use for math that the students will be using in the future. Everyone will eventually need to have some basic understanding of programing in the future, and these bots help students learn equations that they need to know. Instead of doing pages of equations they can program a bot with those same equations and see a result of there math in front of them. And better yet they will self-correct their own math work because they want their bots to function correctly.

Q2: Could these CalcBots branch into other educational areas?

A2: I think you could have a very practical use for these bot in a physics class, working out force and acceleration equations, and many other physic problems. I know I would have liked to have these bots to use in my physics classroom, it one thing to be always doing imaginary problems with your imagination when instead you could use real life bots as part of the problem and the solution.
The only problem incorporating these bots into other areas would be the requirement of basic programing knowledge. But schools could work around that having that skill Incorporated into many classrooms so that the students are familiar with it and can expand their knowledge through further uses of CalcBots.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Journal article review of : Traveling the Novel written Melissa Wert and Scottie Girgus

This article is about a new way of students to interact with literature. This new literature is called the Traveling Novel and it is full novel that is matched up with Google Earth to increase student engagement as they learn. The example in the article is a novel called The Kite Runner and it incorporates satellite imagery, videos, and photographs with the text. The goal is to immerse the students in the journey of Amir, the main character of the novel, as he travels across the globe from Afghanistan, Pakistan, to California, and returning to Afghanistan. As students read about the emotional journey Amir takes they also experience the physical journey that he travels, also exploring the political and cultural conflicts of the story.
Using Google Earth students start off at place markers on the map and then students begin their journey through the text. The feature are very interactive and requires the students to quote from the book and add their own comments reflecting on the situations as they make their way across the world. They use Google Earth to locate actual location and land marks, then create place markers in their own imagination.

Q: How beneficial is this type of literature activity to students?

A: This is a great activity that promotes growth in reading, writing, critical thinking and creativity. This type of activity is for ally kinds of learners too because of the vast interactivity involved in the Novel. Students are also being tutored in Internet browsing, and that is a really valuable skill. I myself have never used Google Earth, but I will give it a try now.

Q: How does this type of interactivity with Google Earth help the students culturally?

A: This tool is invaluable at teaching students about other cultures and geography. Many students are unfortunately unaware of the locations of country's in the rest of the world, and they are becoming increasing isolated culturally in today's society and media. This project is great at teaching students about other cultures and what the rest of the world looks like. Students really need to be aware that their is a whole world out there that is culturally different and have different values than their own. This project gets students personally involved with the life of people that are so vastly different than theirs. This type of activity can be done with nearly any age group using the appropriate story's.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Journal article review of : Interactive Teaching Programs from the U.K. written Helen Crompton

This article is about a teacher that moved to the United States from England. She reaches the realization that teachers everywhere face the same problem with gaining the attention of 21st century students. One teaching tool that she brought with her from England that she uses daily in her math class is a set of Interactive Teaching Programs (ITPs). This tool is free and provided by the British government on their education standards site.
She uses this as an interactive program that the students can manipulate, and as a projected lesson that she can use to demonstrate measurements, number facts, and calculating area. It is a great tool to show the steps of problem solving.

Q1: How useful is this tool for teaching math at an elementary level?

A1: I would say very useful. One of the great problems with teaching math at that level is accurately demonstrating fractions and there use. This program give teachers the ability to have interactive bar that can be divided into 100 pieces or less and can be manipulated to show fraction values and equality's. Also the teacher can let the students interact with these bars too to show their understanding of the concept. This type of system is a huge advantage over manually drawing fractions on a board. If you make a mistake or need to review a problem it is saved for you online, instead of you having to erase and draw the fractions allover again.

Q2: How does this type of program solve the problem of gaining student attention?

A2: According to the article there is a variety of activity's and games. One example of an activity is Number Spinners, it is a lesson for teaching probability and is very interactive. I think the biggest advantage to using this program to gain students attention is the interactivity. Math is no longer this abstract product, but an actual visual experience that the students can relate with.

Software Review:

Web Browsing: Research and Citing Sources Grades 6-8
Tutorial Lessons and Nets Standards
  • Browsing Basics
    • K-12 [5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issuses related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12 [5.a] advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • K-12 [6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations
      • K-12 [6.a] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12 [6.b] select and use applications effectively and productively.
    • 6-8 [7] Select and use the appropriate tools and digital resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and to solve problems.
  • URLs
    • K-12 [1] Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
      • K-12 [1.a] apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    • K-12 [2] Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
      • K-12 [2.a] interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
    • K-12 [6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations
      • K-12 [6.a] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12 [6.b] select and use applications effectively and productively.
    • 6-8 [7] Select and use the appropriate tools and digital resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and to solve problems.
  • Web Searches
    • K-12[3] Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
      • K-12[3.b] locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
      • K-12[3.c] evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness from a variety of sources and media.
    • K-12[4] Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
      • K-12[4.c.] collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
    • K-12[5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12[5.a.] advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • K-12[6] Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.]understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b.] select and use applications effectively and productively.
  • Validity and Sourcing
    • K-12[1]Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
      • K-12[1.a.] apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    • K-12[2] Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
      • K-12[2.a.] interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
      • K-12[2.b.]communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
    • K-12[5] Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
      • K-12[5.a.]advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
      • K-12[5.b.] exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
    • K-12[6]Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
      • K-12[6.a.] understand and use technology systems.
      • K-12[6.b.] select and use applications effectively and productively.

Mini Review:
I learned the most from the web searches tutorial. I did not know that you can quote words and put a * after them to get more specific and valid searches, this information is really valuable and greatly aids you in your web searches. Some problems with using this product in a classroom would be coordinating a large group of young students without getting students lost and backtracked. It would be best to do this is with a small number of students so that you can have more one-on-one time if they need assistance. Other than human error this product is problem free and very easy to use once someone introduces it to you.

(2007) - Technology Integration, Tech Literacy Assessment Web Core Curriculum. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from
(2007) ISTE | Nets for Students 2007. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

GarrenAdams News

Alexandra Garren & Christopher Adams

Teaching History In Elementary School

I have always been fascinated with history because the subject matter never changes; but is rather built upon by new events. Having a concise and clear knowledge of our past allows us to make better choices in the present. By examining our past, we can learn from our mistakes and improve on how we interact with other people and our environment. If children are taught the value of learning from our past, they will be more consciously aware that the choices that they make from day to day have the power of affecting the world. Understanding this concept at an early age is crucial because it will encourage global cooperation and the conservation of our natural resources. There is much to gain by being aware of what has happened in the past. Hence I firmly believe that children should begin learning about our history from an early age.

History can be incorporated into any grade level curriculum. The depth of the material that is taught merely changes as the students get older and are able to assimilate more information. By introducing history in Kindergarten, teachers will be able to build upon that knowledge every year. It is beneficial to view the California Content Standards because the standards for each grade are articulated. This website provides the content that should be incorporated into each grade level as well as offers ideas for teaching history with affective approaches. For example, a great way to teach history, especially for younger grades, is to conduct classroom plays. In this teaching method, the students are all actively involved and allows them to incorporate their own creativity. Furthermore, other artistic techniques may be used such as having the children write and illustrate historical events and then creating a classroom book with the collaboration of the students' work. For more ideas, visit Creative History Lesson Plans.

Written by, Aexandra Garren


I have always been drawn to the idea of teaching because I have always been fond of school and the learning process. I feel that even as adults, we have the full potential to keep learning and grow as individuals. Furthermore, as educators I believe we are going to learn as much from our students as they are going to learn from us. My mother is a kindergarten teacher and for years I have been able to witness how much she has learned from her students. Even though she has been teaching the same subject for nearly 10 years now, she still learns more with each new class.

My personal teaching philosophy is to prepare my students to be model citizens for our community. I want to give them the skills to question facts and come up with their own conclusions. I would like to provide a base of knowledge for my students and teach them how to apply what they know to solve problems in their everyday lives. Furthermore, my biggest concern with teaching is to have my students really grasp concepts, rather than just memorize procedures. In order to really learn, students need to know the broad spectrum of how something works.

Additionally, I firmly believe in teaching students to think independently and to understand that their actions affect more than just themselves. Ideally, I would like to set up my classroom as a miniature model of a full scale community. By incorporating this setting into my classroom, my students will be able to learn to work together as a team and learn how everyone has individual skills that when applied, can benefit the whole. As teachers, we help shape the people who will become our future generations. Therefore, teachers are given an extraordinary opportunity to practice positive ideals and values, which may directly reflect in our society.

Contact Information:


Blog Web Address:

Learning through the Arts K-12

My main subject of interest is in teaching through the arts. I would like to teach at an elementary level using art to get students thinking creatively in all subject areas. I am also open to teaching Middle School and High School as an art teacher that incorporates high school curriculum into the art lessons. By viewing the California Content Standards you can see how teaching through the arts meets the curriculum that students need to learn. Teaching through the arts has always been around but lately the arts has been pushed into the extra curriculum content and is still viewed as beneficial but not mandatory. Not all students learn in the same manner or at the same pace. When using the arts as a tool for learning, the teacher slows down the learning process so students can think about the subject they are learning and then share their knowledge with the rest of their class through the art's that they produce. When students are in a safe learning environment and they can personally reflect on a production they created by using information from the subject area and share what they know about that subject with their classmates, they will have a firm grasp of the information and remember it. Art gets you thinking creatively and this world needs more creative thinkers. Art also lets you view the world in a different eye and see beyond what is actually there.

Incorporating the arts into your classroom can be done in many ways, its not all just drawing an painting. Teachers can use dance, music, sculpture, drawing, drama and other personal performance driven activity's. Some examples of these activity's being used in lessons can be found at Teaching Core Curriculum Content Through the Arts. There is also a great program, Learning Through The Arts, who make it there business to promote learning through the arts. They have a vast amount of information to help teachers wishing to incorporate the arts into their curriculum including free lesson plans to get you started. The best lessons are the ones you create yourself, knowing your students ability and interests your lessons can be more personal and creative and help the learning process. It is always a great idea to use art's from your community. There are some fantastic artists out there that can guide you through a medium and help you create a wonderful learning activity.

Written by Christopher Adams


My name is
Christopher Adams. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and I moved
to the United States when I was eleven. I am an artist and I like to
create sculptures and drawings at home and I try to take at least one
studio type art class each semester.I have worked for the Poway Unified School District as an Extended
Student Services Assistant for over four years. This job involved me
working one-on-one, and in group environments, with students after
school. I was in charge of thirty to fifteen students depending on the
time of the day. I worked on-site at Adobe Buffs Elementary School. A
typical day involved helping the students complete their homework, and
have the students involved with educational activity's throughout the
day. I have created, planed, and implemented many educational arts,
sports, and games for my groups. I have also presented some of these
projects that I have created to the rest of PUSD ESS program at their
annual district wide meeting. The grade range I worked with was
Kindergarten through fifth grade, the grade I was primary responsible
for was forth and fifth grade. Additionally I have over twenty hours
certified participating in the Tutor Connection program, a Community
Service Learning Project. I tutored an "At Risk" youth in Foster Youth
Services. I have also put on a professional puppet show at CSUSM for
first graders. I also have given an in class presentation on teaching
through the arts for a classroom at CSUSM showing many of the
activity's I have used with my students.

I am going into teaching because I enjoy working with
children, I also enjoy creating educational art activity's for them.
One of the earliest forms of communication was cave paintings and early
humans used those paintings to tell story's to their decedents. I feel
that even in this modern world we need to keep the arts as a crucial
part of our teaching method. Creativity and imagination are fantastic
tools of the human brain and we need to reinforce there use if we are
to have a brighter future. Teaching through arts gets your students
brains working no mater what type of learner your students are. Art
also get you focused on a subject, you will lose students if they are
constantly lectured. When students personally interact with the subject
mater they hold onto that information easier and remember it.

You can contact me by e-mail and you can also look at my blog in which I write weekly reviews of educational journal articles that use technology as a teaching tool.

Written by Christopher Adams

Monday, February 16, 2009

Journal article review of : Let It Snow! written by Kathy Sanders and Gwen Pavelski

The article Let It Snow! is about turning a negative into a positive. The article is about how nineteen second graders at Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, started a collaborative project because of last winter's record-breaking snowfall. The project involved the students, their teacher, and the library's media specialist. The project is called Weather Watch and it is a multidisciplinary project in which has second graders researching a natural event in their community.
The students started their research reading fictional and nonfictional stories about snow and then they created questions about those readings. From those questions they answered them by using mathematics, science experiments, and digital drawing media to compare their drawn snowflakes and actual magnified snowflakes. They also interviewed the superintendent of schools, head custodian, and the local meteorologist about how their jobs were influenced by the weather. With all this information they gathered they created conclusions about this weather phenomenon.
For this project the students got to create many visual products. They created digital visual representations by measuring the snow totals and then drawing themselves to scale. This told them that the snow depth was equal to the size of two second grades standing on each others shoulders. The students also created digital photography, video interviews, a blog, computer art, and voice threads. All these visual products were then posted on a student designed web page. Their music teacher also helped the second graders write a song about snow and have the class perform it.
According to the article the students exceeded learning expectations because of all the various activity's that involved multiple disciplines. To quote what one of the students said in the article, "This was my best day of school ever". It looks like the students really enjoyed and got alto of enrichment from this project.

Q1: So how exactly did students benefit educationally from this massive project?

A1: For starters this project actively engaged the students, they wanted to do this project they were not being forced to participate. Because they were so actively engaged they took part in every aspect of the project. This project involved reading multiple literacies, creating visual productions to standards, lots of mathematics, and most importantly reflection on what they learned. The refection was the most important part of this project, because the students were able to reflect on what they have learned and then snare what they learned with others. Their ability to teach the information they gathered to others is really showing what they have learned from this project.

Q2: Could this type of project be done in a different state, like California, some were with a different climate?

A2: Yes this could be done in California. The Santa Anna we get every year would be a perfect weather condition to base this type of project off. You could also do this type of project on tidal waves, or the San Andreas fault, or even the growing pollution situation in southern California. The biggest part of this type of project is using a subject mater that will engage your students. Like the Let It Snow! article you need to choose a topic that impacts them and one that they know little about.

Here is a link to the classes web page.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Journal article review of : Jumping Into Art History written by Savilla Banister and Rene Steingraber

This journal article was about incorporating technology into art history. The article described how art students at East Broadway Middle School are learning about famous artists and the works they have produced. In their class they are using digital cameras and software to create personal video blogs sharing what they have learned about the artists they have chosen to research. Students form cooperative groups and pick an artists that they want to study and research. They then organize the information they found, examples of work and detailed information, and discuss the images they found and determine what images they think best represents the artist's style. When they have compiled all their information they then create their videos which they edit and style. After all the videos are finished the students combine all the videos of the classroom in to one DVD and every student gets to take a copy of that DVD home.

Q1: How does this type of activity help the students in the learning process of art history?

A1: I know from experience that if get to the point that I am explaining information to someone then I have a fair knowledge of that information. With the students verbally and visually showing what knowledge they have gathered they must know the information to discuss it. Its one thing to read about a subject, but if you revise that subject by discussing it then you are relearning the information and it will stick with you.

Q2: What kind of benefits do the students get from doing this type of activity in the classroom.

A1: The biggest benefit that these students get from this activity is the experience with the technology and learning how to use it to benefit them intellectually. This type of activity is also a great teamwork builder, and team working is a high demand skill to have no mater what field you are working in. Another great benefit is to the learning process with the personal videos that each student made. Now all the students have copy of what the class learned and can go back to that information.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Journal article review of: Chatting It Up Online written by Pamela Livingston

This article was about a new and innovative tool for classroom teachers that allows students to chat with the author of a book they are reading in the classroom. The students are able to have a one-on-one discussion with the books author and gain insightful information. This is a great tool for students aspiring to become better writers. The article tells the story of Chestnut Hill Academy, which is a K–12 all-boys school in Philadelphia, which recently participated in an author chat and what a great experience it was for their students and teachers.
The main theme of the article was preparation. For this classroom experience to be a positive one a lot of preparation before hand happened and a lot of communication was needed. I think this is a great lesson for future educators to take to heart. You can never be too prepared and in a learning environment things can happen quickly that will disrupt your lesson and you have to be prepared to regroup and move on from it. Lucky in according to the article Chestnut Hill's students had a great learning experience with no glitches. From what I read the chat with the author is a bit hectic but still organized. The students submitted their prepared questions ahead of time so the author could prepare for the experience for themselves. The article basically described the event just the way a normal internet chat room would function. It really sounds like an invaluable experience that the students had. They learned more from the chat with the author than what they could have learned from reading a text book.
I personally would love to use tools like this to get students in touch with authors and other experts in the field. There really is no substitute to learning something from an expert that has has first hand experience in a subject. This was a very interesting article to read. It was great hearing about this experience from a teacher that has went through it and came out with positive results.

Q1. I wonder if it would be a good idea to use this type of interaction with authors using video instead of a chat room?

A1. This could work if you and your students are professional about it. However the authors may not want to appear publicly and would like their privacy. Many things could go wrong with video communication at ether end. It would be a very neat thing to chat with your favorite author over a web cam, it would be more interactive and personal than just exchanging text. I would love to get artists to do live activity's in their studios and have students be able to see first hand what processes are involved, and what the imagination can produce.

Q2. How would I implement activity like this into my lessons?

A2. I would go from the example in the article and use the technology to get my students chatting with the author of the book we are reading in class. It would be great if I could also get other professionals in other fields to chat with my students. It would be an invaluable experience and it would inspire students to learn about subjects they never would have thought interesting. One question I would always like to ask is how did the person get into their profession, what inspired them to choose their path. I am sure there are many untold story's that these professionals have.