Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blog Post #16- Final Reflections:

In Blog Post #1 I responded to:
"Imagine your classroom when you start teaching. What will be the methods of teaching that you
will emphasize? What tools will you use, and what tools will your students use? Think about the
learning that will take place in your classroom. Now, in four or more paragraphs describe you
and your teaching, your students and how they will learn, the tools that you and your students
will employ as part of the learning process, and what your classroom will be like."

You should take a look at this whole post, but if not- A very brief summary of my post is:
Basically, I wrote about having a very bright first grade classroom in which I plan to have hands-on units/stations and incorporate non-traditional methods like Venosdale describes in “If I Built a School". I will emphasize technology, readiness, positive criticism, and reinforcement. I plan to use a variety of methods to teach, especially technological tools, such as: the SMARTboard and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). I wrote that I want my students to know that everyone is different but yet equal. That everyone learns different using different methods. I also wrote that my primary way of teaching will be to incorporate many teaching styles so that these different learning types will have equal access to learning and understanding. 

So how has my views/thoughts shifted now that 
I have completed EDM310? 

Throughout this course I have been given [and found] tons of resources that will be useful in my future endeavors as a first grade teacher. 
Some of these include:
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Skype
  • YouTube
  • Social Media (such as Twitter)
  • Prezi
  • Voki
  • iCurio
  • glogster
  • SMARTboards

I have also learned that technology is always changing and getting better- and educators must change and grow with it or get left behind- thus leaving the students behind as well. So I have created a video talking about my thoughts on technology now. It describes specific things I plan to do in my future classroom. Basically, I plan to use a class blog to update parents and put assignments and homework information on. I also plan to post weekly (or possibly monthly) pictures. I plan to use Skype to interact with people from all over the world and learn about others’ culture, tradition, geographical information, as well different learning styles. I also talk about using social media and the benefits of sites like Twitter. In all- using technological tools provides educators the ability to teach in a way that is appealing and involved. Teachers are capable of finding out what drives each student and playing on their interests through an almost limitless/endless variation of tools. Of course there are many tools that are "popular" right now that may not be the best out there in two years when I begin to teach- but that is a HUGE lesson I have had to learn in EDM310 this semester: "Technology is always changing"! So educators must maintain this thinking and must change with the technology. My views have shifted drastically from what I planned to use during Blog Post #1 to now. The video is below and is more detailed and thorough! Thanks for watching!


I have made another video pertaining to my final reflections about what I have learned, what I can do, who I am, and how I have grown as a result of EDM310! 

***Note: I did not talk about tools I plan to use in this video due to having talked about this in this same blog post in the previous video.

***Special Note: THANK YOU for all of the Lab Assistant's help, especially that of Lindsey Estes! Also- THANK YOU Dr. Strange for pushing me and helping open my eyes to the future!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Project #16

"Get Caught in the Web of EDM 310"
By: Briann Smith, Heather Smith, Lisa Smith, & Amanda Weller

 You can also check out our Prezi here!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15:

 By: Briann Smith, Lisa Smith, Heather Smith, Amanda Weller

This video gave us a quick look at the benefits of using Assistive technologies in the classroom for children with sensory impairments, and a motivational tool for teachers to use assistive technologies in their classroom. We plan to give all students with sensory impairments the ability to identify, explore, investigate, question, discover, observe, engage, and interact with their environment with assistive technologies. Learning needs to be personal so we plan to incorporate text to speech and speech to text devices, iphones, ipads, ipods, screen magnifiers, and sensory aids into our future classrooms. It’s finally time to take the plunge, step up, and be surprised. Don’t give up on the kids that you can enlighten. It’s their future. 

By: Lisa Smith, Heather Smith, Amanda Weller, Briann Smith

 Immediate feedback is vital to the struggling learner. Using the Mountbatten braille writer allows for both audio and textile. As the student brailles the machine produces the braille by announcing what is being brailled. This machine is very advanced. It can save files, transfer files and receive files from/to computers. This device is also great for mainstreaming the classroom working with teachers and students that do not know braille. As the student brailles text the memic converts it into print and then displays it onto a screen. This is a feature that will allow for the blind to be included into the curriculum receiving feedback from the teacher and participating in peer group projects. 

By: Amanda Weller, Lisa Smith, Briann Smith, Heather Smith
In this video, Professor Art Karshmer, explains the techniques of teaching math to the blind. Mr. Karshmer attended the University of San Fransisco of Management, which was formerly School of business and Professional Studies. He is a pioneer in the use of technology and computer-based systems to teach mathematics to the blind. For the most part, blind students are effectively barred from the study of all the core or "stem" sciences which rely on math as their root language. Using computers and computer-based devices, Professor Karshmer has created a system which translates the two dimensional realities of mathematical problems into the otherwise single dimensionality of braille to allow a blind student to impress those realities into their visual cortex through touch and electronic feedback. This video is a wonderful source for blind students and so forth. We would definitely recommend this video to parents, teachers, students, and etc..

By: Amanda Weller, Lisa Smith, Heather Smith, Briann Smith   

 In this video, Wesley Majerus, shows us how blind people use an iPad. Wesley Majerus is a Access Specialist for the National Federation for the Blind. By watching this video we have learned how actively engaged apple products have become. Its neat to see all of the features that apple products have to offer. Apple provides a voice feedback to show you what is going on and what you're doing. Wesley demonstrates in his video how to use iBooks. The kindle and other sources do not offer the same features that Apple does. The voice activation is very neat and leads you right to what you need. The source is very applicable for blind people. For each individual tap that you click, the voice activation tells you what tab you're on. We found this video to be very neat and a wonderful source! 

By: Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, Lisa Smith, Heather Smith

In this entertaining video, a teacher gives a student’s mom a lesson in voiceover on the iPad. The parent’s child is deaf and blind and she learns the things that her child does while using the iPad.The teacher explains to the parent what a voice over is. She gives the mom a step by step tutorial of how to use voice over. As we can see from the video iPads can be very useful to teachers and their students who may be deaf or blind. The iPad has a great feature integrated Voiceover software(“Apple iPad, iPod, iPhone”). The software allows the information shown on the display to be read aloud to help students. The gestures that are used on the integrated touch screens were designed to allow a blind person to navigate the screen or select menu items and write text(“Apple iPad, iPod, iPhone”). The iPad has several useful apps for deaf and blind students. A great app is Verbal Victor. This communication app allows people to communicate with their students or children who are developing their language skills or who have language impairments(Hooda). Another great app is iASL. iASL stands for i American Sign Language. This app will translate sentences up to five words into the American Sign Language(“Apps for the deaf and hearing impaired”). This is a great app because it allows for the teacher and peers to communicate effectively with the student. Since it is a app it can be on the classroom iPads and the student can communicate with everyone and not feel left out or misunderstood. A valuable tool for teachers and students is the Braille Lite. This tool is a note taker and it allows students to type their notes in class using a specialized keyboard(“Out of Sight”). On the front there is a Braille display that allows the students to check what they have typed. It also has an optional speech function that reads the text aloud(‘Out of Sight”). The Braille Lite can also be connected to a PC to print notes on a standard printer in a large font, or on an embosser in Braille(“Out of Sight”). The teacher can also use this tool to translate handouts and other papers into Braille.This assistive technology tool is great for teachers and students. Technology has become such a major element in our schools today. It is great that the technology is made useful to all students. The assistive technology tools are especially wonderful and useful to teachers that have students who may be deaf or blind. These tools and the tools that were mentioned above allow the students and teachers to communicate effectively. They also provide independence for the student, because the student can use these assistive technologies for things that they might had to rely on the teacher for in the past. The use of technology in the classroom is empowering and it provides a great way for all students to learn and excel! 

By: Heather Smith, Briann Smith, Lisa Smith, and Amanda Weller 

 In Free Resources from the Net for Every Learner, a Blog by Paul Hami, there are many assistive technologies and resources listed for not only educators, but parents and children as well. We had a couple of favorites that we felt would help us in our Elementary Classrooms in the future, such as MyScript Calculator- a free app for both Android and iOS devices from VisionObjects. It offers a “handwriting calculator”. 

Another assistive technology we felt will benefit us is SlideTalk. This is a service where you upload either sets of images, or complete PowerPoint presentations. Once uploaded, SlideTalk adds narration via high quality text to speech that can be customized for pronunciation, reading rate, voice timbre and more. There are at least 17 languages available, and multiple voices are available for most languages. You can even change voices or languages within a presentation. Once a video is produced, it is automatically published to Youtube.

The Assistive Technology Blog gives so many assistive technologies that will be useful to all of us as educators. It is too difficult to list them all, so to name a few: Adobe Presenter 9, IPEVO Interactive Whiteboard  System, Co:Writer App for IOS from Don Johnston, Inc, Adobe Connect, MimioTeach Interactive Whiteboard, Windows Surface RT,  Belkin Tablet Stage, iReadWrite, and Evernote. All of these assistive technologies are geared toward different uses, but are equally beneficial in the classroom. The following is a brief explanation of a few of our favorites we found on the Assistive Technology Blog:

The IPEVO Interactive Whiteboard System is a cost effective way to turn any whiteboard or flat surface into an interactive whiteboard. The IPEVO Interactive Whiteboard System works with both Windows and Macintosh computers and the system is comprised of a small camera, stylus and supplied Annotator software. Teacher will need to also have access to a LCD projector for the classroom to use this solution

 Co:Writer for IOS comes complete with a large library of built-in Topic Dictionaries. You can customize Co:Writer for IOS by determining the base number of words that Co:Writer should access which would depend on the students vocabulary and grade level. You can also set the Text to Speech feature to read letters, words, or sentences and set the rate of the speech. You currently can utilize five different fonts and change the size of the text and utilize a high contrast feature, black background white text. While Co:Writer makes it easy to get your ideas down on the iPad-it also gives you lots of options when it comes time for sharing your ideas. You can send the text to iMessage, Facebook, Twitter or Email. Better yet you can save it to your Dropbox or Google Drive account for easy access at home or in school. You can also copy. paste and print the text directly from the app. 

 iReadWrite is a well designed app that works as advertised. It provides students with text-to-speech , word prediction and vocabulary support. iReadWrite does not require an internet connection to utilize the program which is ideal for students who may be in schools with poor web connectivity. 

Belkin wanted to extend the reach of capabilities and help teachers get the most out of their iPad investment. With this in mind Belkin has just released the Belkin Tablet Stage which turns your iPad into a document camera and presentation system.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Post #14:

What Did Dr. Strange Leave Out? 

I am supposed to create a blog post for that Dr. Strange SHOULD HAVE created in my area of specialty: Elementary Education... then I am supposed to DO IT!

But what is left? We have covered PLN's, how to add TITLE and ALT modifiers to pictures, podcasts, creating and editing videos, Social Media, PBL, iCurio, DiscoveryEd, Common Core, writing a quality blog post, and many other tools and techniques to better ourselves as educators. How could Dr. Strange have left anything else after we covered all of this plus more? The thing is, education and tools used on the web are always evolving and changing. An example would be social media... Who remembers "MySpace"??? This was possibly the biggest social media network ten years ago, then this changed to FaceBook, and now there is Twitter. My point is- tools are always changing and there is always going to be a newer, better version of something. As an educator is crucial to keep up with these changes to relate to students in their generation, and to be able to teach students using the most generation-ally appropriate materials available. 

So how do I answer the question: "What did Dr. Strange Leave Out?" to better his future classes if his future classes will be using newer tools and app's than my class has? Is this question a "Catch-22"? Does he really want me to give a tool for them to use that will possibly be outdated in 2-3 months? 


I could make a blog post that is something like this:

Create a Symbaloo account here.
Create several webmixes in order to keep track of: 
-Social Media 
-Common Core Information
-Teachers Blogs that are insightful
-PBL examples that could be used in the future
and create blog post explaining why you chose these and how it will benefit you as an educator. 

But what is the point of doing this? Will Symbaloo still be as valuable in months to come as it is now? Or will there be a newer, better tool available for people to keep track of sites and information? If you refer to my previous post: PLN Final Report: I explain my Symbaloo Webmixes and show examples of Webmixes i have created. 

So to finish this post: I could have created a post of a tool we did not cover in EDM310 (Such as Symbaloo), but what would be the point? As previously mentioned: Tools are always evolving and changing! There is no way to accurately say what I suggest now will be useful in future semesters. 

PLN Final Report

Project #2: PLN Final Report:
During the first weeks of this semester, I created a Symbaloo account in which I have added webmixes for various subjects or things relating to my future career as an educator. Some of my Webmixes are original (I created them) and some of them were created by someone else and I am following it- this is due to the particular webmix being so detailed and accurate that it was pointless to create another one. I have found TONS of valuable tools as well as people that will better my educational experience and future teaching abilities through Symbaloo. Below are a few of my Symbaloo Webmixes:

This is a Symbaloo Webmix dedicated to sites for K-2 grades:

This is a Symbaloo Webmix dedicated to "All things PLN":

This is a Symbaloo Webmix dedicated to "Common Core":

This is My "Home" Webmix that is my "home page" for my internet site- I use this daily!

I hope everyone gets valuable information from my Symbaloo Webmixes! Like I stated previously- I have found many PEOPLE and TOOLS that has already (and will) benefit me!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13:

What Can We Learn from 

These Ted Talks?

Shukla Bose: Teaching One Child at a Time 
By: Briann Smith,Heather Smith, Amanda Weller, and Lisa Smith 

ParikrmaIn Shukla Bose’s Ted Talk, she tells the awe inspiring story on how she created her foundation, Parikrma Humanity Foundation , which brings promise to the children in India’s slums by focusing on teaching each child as an individual. Shukla Bose did not start out in the field of philanthropy. She humbly says that she is not a trained academic or a veteran social worker. For twenty-six years, she worked in the corporate world, trying to make organizations profitable. In 2003, she started her foundation, Parikrma Humanity at her kitchen table. There in her kitchen, her journey began. The first thing that she did was walk through the slums of india and identify houses, where the children would never go to school. The number of children that did not go to school blew her away. Against peoples doubts, she decided then that they were not going to go by the numbers. They instead would focus on the children individually and take them through school and prepare them for a better life. The first Parikrma School was started in a slum, where 70,000 people where living below the poverty line. More schools soon followed, including a junior college. In Shukla Bose’s presentation, she included clips of some of her students eloquently talking about their favorite subjects in school. The parents even started to participate in their child’s education and some them were inspired to learn themselves, all because of their child’s achievement. The Parikrma school not only became a safe haven for the children, but it also helped the community and the parents of the students. Many of the non teaching staff members at the school are the parents and relatives of the children. The schools are all English medium schools and they use the ICSE curriculum. They have professors from Berkeley, the Indian Institute of Science and other prestigious schools, who come and teach the students. Art and music are considered as therapy and a way of expression for the students. They believe that content is more important than the infrastructure of the school, the important thing is what is happening in the school. She believes that creating an environment of learning, inquiry, and exploration is what is “true” education. Shukla Bose says that her life has been transformed and forever changed by the children. She says that she has learned so much from them, especially love, compassion, and imagination and creativity. Shukla Bose’s story was so inspiring! It was amazing to see how one school changed a whole community and gave the children groundbreaking opportunities. It was incredible to see the children speaking so eloquently and saying how much they loved school and enjoyed learning. As future teachers, we can learn from her story and remember that it’s not always about the number, but it’s about the individual student and their abilities. The other valuable lesson learned, is to always believe in your students and yourself, even when people doubt your ability! 

Kakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School 
By: Heather Smith, Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, and Lisa Smith 

Kakenya Ntaiya is from a group of people in Kenya called the Maasais. They are warriors. They are fierce. Most of all, they are set in their traditional ways of inequality between men and women. Kakenya Ntaiya’s village believed in arranged marriages, so as a child she knew that when she turned 12 she was to be married- he was already chosen. If she went to high school, though, she could postpone this marriage. She decided to make a deal with her father: She underwent the traditional Maasai rite of passage of a very brutal and unsanitary female circumcision in return for being allowed to go to high school. While she was in school she met a man that had graduated from college. She remembered admiring him. Also during high school, her father had a stroke and become very ill. 

Kakenya Ntaiya
The custom of her village was that any man of the village was her father by default. She had received a scholarship for college, but without the support of her village she would be unable to get to America. After persistence and courage- Kakenya Ntaiya received support from her whole village to get an education, something that was unheard of, but only with the promise to come back and help with anything the village wanted. She speaks of her anger and frustration when she came to America and found out that the ceremony she went through when she was 13 was called female genital mutilation and was against the law in Kenya. She found out that she did not have to trade her body to get an education, she had rights- 3 million girls who are at risk of going through this mutilation right now have rights! She found out that her mom had a right to own property and did not have to be abused because she is a woman. She found out that girls did not have to forced to marry unwillingly. She found out that she had to DO something! She had to HELP these girls. When she went back she decided to build a school for girls. She built a place for girls to be safe and protected from the brutal acts against them for the simple fact that they were born female. She has currently saved 125 girls from marriage when they are 12 years old. She has given 125 girls opportunities to rise and achieve their dreams. She has given 125 girls the advantage of not being beaten. She has started a REVOLUTION. Kakenya Ntaiya ends her speech challenging the audience. She challenged us to make a DIFFERENCE, to make tomorrow BETTER, to be a LEADER! She challenged us to CHANGE our world, CHANGE our community, CHANGE our country! If she does that and we do that- we will create a BETTER FUTURE for our CHILDREN, for your CHILDREN, for our GRANDCHILDREN! Kakenya Ntaiya is the image of grace and bravery. She is a truly outstanding woman. She could have moved to America and never went back, but she didn’t- she went back to Kenya and helped others. She faced numerous obstacles along the way but she stayed strong and never lost her vision. Her remarkable accomplishments will be forever gratified by the women she has so graciously helped. She has taught us so much about honor and courage, about self-discipline and drive, and most of all- about compassion and benevolence. 

Shane Koyczan: To This Day... 

for The Bullied and Beautiful 
By: Amanda Weller, Briann Smith, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith 

In this video, Shane Koyczan gives a poem of what it’s like to be bullied. Shane first started off by publicizing that children are expected to find themselves starting at a young age, and if they don't other children would do so. For instance, he stated how name calling would occur. Names such as slut, fatty, fag, and so on. While children are being told these names mean what they do, they are also asked what do they want to be. Koyczan goes on to say that when he was a kid he wanted to be a marine biologist, until he
watched the movie Jaws. He also went along by saying that he wanted to be an adult and began to shave. At the age of 10, Shane was told that his parents left because they didn't want him. However, when he was 11 Shane wanted to be left alone. At 12 he wanted to die and when he reached 13 he wanted to kill a kid. By that time, Shane was asked to pick a career. He choose to be a professional writer. Not only was Koyczan made fun of, his dreams were as well. He actually recalls a few of his dreams in his video. He remembers his first line of poetry was in response to a world that demanded he hate himself. Through ages 15 and 18 Shane hated himself and the world that he lived in. Shane mentioned that standing up for yourself should not lead to violence. back when Shane was younger he would trade in homework assignments for friendship. Its so sad to see the cruel world that we live in. Now, with technology it is so easy to sit behind a computer and for children to cyber bully other children. Furthermore, he describes how when he was younger he thought that pork chops and karate chops were the same thing. Shane's grandmother thought it was sweet so she didn't correct him. He states in his video how he fell from a tree one day while he was playing outside. Apparently Shane knew that he wasn't supposed to be outside playing. The gym teacher found the bruises on his right side and turned him into the principle. His response to the questions about his home life was “When I’m sad, my grandma gives me karate chops!” If only he knew this would lead into a full investigation and would be removed from his home for three days. News got around the school and he got deemed the nickname, “porkchop”. In the meantime, the rest of Shane's video is of a wonderful poem with illustrations and a violin in the backdrop covering bullying. Shane's poem is incredible, as well as his other work. The emotion and descriptions used in his demonstrations is very engaging and inspiring! 

Salman Khan:Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education 
By:Lisa Smith, Briann Smith, Heather Smith, and Amanda Weller  

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the
Khan Academy
teacher available to help. Using video to reinvent education is a convenient way to learn on your own time. Everyone is for convenience so we believe this will be a great tool to use. Using video to upload educational information not only helps the class that you are teaching but it will also benefit others that may come in contact with the information. Having educational videos available will also give the students resources to fall back on if they need additional help. This would also be great if students want to get read ahead in their lessons. Flipping the classroom with doing homework in class and saving the lectures for students to watch at home sounds like an amazing idea. Having homework as in class work will show the teacher what homework problems that students may be having a hard time with. If problems arise the student can then stop and watch a video on the homework problem and the video actually teaches the correct way to work problem. The student can practice and get 10 problems correct and then move on to the next question.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project #15

I have created a google website to introduce my 
Project-Based Lesson Plan (#3)... 

This Lesson Plan is: American Presidents 
This Lesson Plan is designed for First Grade
but could be altered for many grades.
This Lesson Plan takes roughly 3 weeks to complete.
This Lesson Plan covers many Common Core State Standards
such as:

  • RI.1.10 With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.
  • RF.1.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • RF.1.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish           writing, including in collaboration with peers.
  • W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).
  • SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts   with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings   clearly.
  • L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Blog Post #12

What can We Learn from Sir Ken Robinson?

“The real role of leadership in education … is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility.”

                                                                                    ~ Ken Robinson

By: Amanda Weller, Briann Smith, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith

In the video, Changing Education Paradigms Ken Robinson says that, “Every country on earth, at the moment, is reforming public education.” The first of many reasons is economics. People are attempting to work out the struggling question because we can't determine what the economy will look like in a few days. They're wondering
Sir Ken Robinson Qoute
how to educate their children to take place in the economics of the 21st century. The second reason has to deal with cultural identity. Ken Robinson challenges the way children are being educated in his video. He talks about the way that we're educating our children. The system of education currently going on was designed for a different age. Mr. Robinson talks about how children are brought into ADHD because they're getting distracted by "boring stuff." He talks about how children are being medicated when teachers should be waking them up. Ken doesn't believe that students should be medicated. He believes that we should be changing education and doing away with standardized testing. Ken mentioned that standardized testing was designed for a different age. Children think differently than they did years ago. So many things have changed, but not education. The school system should constantly create creativity and acknowledge all kinds of learning.

By: Heather Smith, Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, and Lisa Smith

Mr. Robinson talks about the irony of “No Child Left Behind”. He said that this initiative actually leaves millions of children behind, how ironic is this? In some parts of the country, 60 percent of kids drop out of high school, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. What it doesn't count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it, who don't enjoy it, who don't get any real benefit from it. And the reason is not that we're not spending enough money. America spends more money on education than most other countries, class sizes are smaller than in many countries, and there are hundreds of initiatives every year to try and improve education. The trouble is, it's all going in the wrong direction.There are three principles on which human life flourishes, and they are contradicted by the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure.

1. Human beings are naturally different and diverse:
Education under "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) is not based on diversity, it’s based on conformity. One of the effects of NCLB has been to narrow the focus onto the so-called STEM disciplines- such as Math and Science. Mr. Robinson was not saying that they are not important, just that “they are necessary but they’re not sufficient”. He believes a real education has to give equal access to the arts, humanities, and physical education. Mr. Robinson taught me that children prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of talents. Take the arts, for instance, this is not just important because it improves children’s math scores, but it is important because it speaks to parts of children’s being that are otherwise untouched.

2. Curiosity:
If you can light a spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance. Children are natural learners, and curiosity is the engine of achievement. Mr. Robinson said that one of the effects of the current American culture has been to de-professionalize teachers. He said there is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Can we get an AMEN? (Sorry- we HAD to add that!) Teachers are the lifeblood of the SUCCESS of schools. But teaching is a creative profession. It’s not a delivery system- you’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers not only deliver information, but they also mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage students. At the end of the day, education is about LEARNING! If there’s no learning, there’s no education! And what, might you ask, is the role of a teacher? To FACILITATE LEARNING!!! Mr. Robinson also taught me that part of the problem is the dominant culture of education has come to focus on not teaching and learning, but testing. Testing is important, as he stated, but there is a place and time for everything. Standardized tests should not be the dominant culture of education. They should help, they should be diagnostic, and they should SUPPORT learning- they should NOT OBSTRUCT IT!!!

3. Human life is inherently creative:
We create our lives through this restless process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and what one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity. Mr. Robinson has taught me that instead of developing creativity, instead we have a culture of standardization. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. He used the example of Finland and how well the students do in math, science, and reading. He said the reason that Finland’s system works is simple: they do NOT obsess about “those” . disciplines (math, science, reading)- they have a . . broad approach to education.

Mr. Robinson also taught us that all high-performing systems in the world currently do what is apparently inevident to the systems in America- they:
  1. Individualize teaching and learning:They recognize that it’s students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity.
  2. Attribute a very high status to the teaching profession:They recognize that you can’t improve education if you don’t pick great people to teach and if you don’t keep giving them constant support and professional development. Investing in professional development is not a COST, it’s an INVESTMENT!
  3. Devolve responsibility to the school level for getting the job done:Mr. Robinson said there is a big difference between going into a mode of command and control in education- this was probably the most influential part to me because if you think about it: it is teachers and students in a classroom, not a committee of legislature, it should be the teachers discretion to make the environment enriching and plausible!
The point Mr. Robinson was trying to make is very clear: education is not a mechanical system. It’s a human system. IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE!!! People who do or do not want to learn. Is school boring? Is it irrelevant? Is it at odds with someone’s life outside of school? These are the reasons for drop-outs. These are the trends of America. There are conditions under which people thrive, and conditions under which they don’t. It’s that PLAIN and SIMPLE! He said that we are all organic creatures and the culture of the school is absolutely essential. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility, waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, and change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate what they do- and schools that were once bereft spring to LIFE.
According to Robinson, Great leaders know this! The real role of leadership in education- on the national, state, and school levels- is not and should not COMMAND and CONTROL. The real role of leadership in education is CLIMATE CONTROL, creating a climate of POSSIBILITY! And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.

Mr. Robinson ended with a magnificent quote from Benjamin Franklin:
“There are three sorts of people in this world: those who are immovable, those who are moveable, and those who move.”
What does this mean? There are those who just don’t get it or don’t want to, those who see the need for change and are prepared to listen, and those who make things happen. If you encourage more people- that would be a MOVEMENT. If the movement is strong enough- that’s, in the best sense of the word, a REVOLUTION. And that’s what we NEED!

The Importance of Creativity

By:Briann Smith, Heather Smith, Amanda Weller, and Lisa Smith

In Ken Robinson's TED Talk, he gives an entertaining and inspirational speech on creating an education system that nurtures creativity instead of undermining the power of it. He begins his speech by describing the three themes that were running through the conference which are the extraordinary evidence of human creativity and the variety and range of it and how it has put us in a place where we do not know what’s
Sir Ken Robinson Qoute
going to happen in the future. The third theme was that children have extraordinary capacities especially for innovation.  He says that he has interest in education and that he believes that everyone else does as well. Robinson says, this is partly because education is meant to take us into the unforeseen future. He says that all children have talent and that adults squander them. Robinson believes that now creativity is just as important as literacy is and that it should be treated with the same status. Through several funny stories involving children, he explains that children naturally take chances on things. They are not fearful of being wrong and they just go for it. He then explains that as adults most children lose this fearlessness and they become frightened of being wrong. Robinson then told the story of the conversation he had with Gillian Lynne,the choreographer of “Cats”. When she was a student in the 1930s, her teacher believed that she had a learning disorder because she kept fidgeting in class. Her mother to her to a specialist and instead of putting her on medication. The doctor saw that she was destined to be a dancer and defining moment put her on the path of dance. Robinson believes that the only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology,one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity.  He says that our education system has mined our minds our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth for a commodity. Robinson explains that this will not serve us and we have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we are educating our children. He ends his speech by saying that we have to appreciate our creative capabilities for the richness they are and see our children for the hope they are. Robinson says that our task is to educate their whole being so that they will be prepared for the future. As future educators, it will be our job to teach children and prepare them for the world. As we learned from Ken Robinson, it is important that we cultivate our students imagination and creativity in the classroom and encourage them  to go for their dreams and goals no matter what. The children are our future and it is our job to prepare them and make sure that they are ready for it academically as well as creatively!

By: Lisa Smith, Briann Smith, Heather Smith, and Amanda Weller

Sir Ken Robinson begins his speech talking about how human resources are depleting stating that we make very poor use of our talents.  He references two types of people, the ones who divide the world into two groups and those who do not.  He adds that many people endure their jobs/profession rather than enjoying it. Education dislocates many people from their own personal talents.  We must personalize education to fit our individual students so that personal dreams can still be accomplished.  Our classrooms will be full of a diversity of talent and it is up to us as teachers to put each and every talent our students bring to the table to good use.  They must flourish in order to succeed. Robinson
Help them accomplish their Dreams
talks about how the education system is geared more towards conformity, like a fast food or manufacturing company.  We must ask the question, does this feed the spirit, and if the answer is no, we should look for a better option.  We must move from the manufacturing industrial way to the agricultural way.  The agricultural way has human flourishing and ways of creating conditions under which the students will flourish.Sir Ken Robinson ends this video with a poem by W.B. Yeats and it was so touching that we felt compelled to share it first in this blog post. Robinson referred to “Children spread their dreams under our feet and we should tread softly.”  Our group found this quote to be one that we remember when we start our own classrooms.  Please see the following poem titled He Wishes For Cloths Of Heaven.

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

By: William Butler Yeats

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven                    
HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,  
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.