Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wrapping It All Together-- Just in Time for Christmas

We made it!! Another semester done!! This has been a very interesting class that has given me many ideas to consider when creating lesson plans for my classes. These were concepts that I had in the back of my mind but struggled with how to implement in my classroom. Now I have the tools to refer to when I am stuck on "how" to integrate technology to enhance student learning, add lessons on cybercitizenry, or create lessons that are universally designed. View my first unit of "wrapping it all together" called Preparing for an Interview. I hope to create many more units like it!! But until then, it is time to start wrapping presents!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Santa Luke!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Universal Design for Learning-- Am I on the Right Track?

As I was looking at the CAST UDL Lesson Builder website's examples of UDL lesson plans, I thought that when I actually create my lesson plans, I am not too far away of creating plans that are designed to meet the needs of all my students. So I decided to take a unit I teach in my Introduction to Business class where we research different economic systems and what makes a country successful to find ways I can help all my students find success in my classroom.. What I found I needed to improve on was offering different avenues for my students to express their ideas. If we were to have a class discussion, I added ways for the students to express their opinions before the discussion. I also tried to make sure there were two ways for students to view information, whether through audio or visual.

To see what I came up with, click here. And please feel free to add any suggestions!! I hope I am starting to get on the right track for creating lesson plans that are designed for all of my students to learn successfully.

One more thing!! Here is an updated photo of Luke, who is almost 2 months old. Time is flying too fast!! This is one of his first professional photos. Already a model!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Helping to Keep Students' Safe Online or At Least Hoping To!!

The other day I got a text from my school's technology director asking me if I taught any Internet safety in my classes. I told him I had not but was thinking about incorporating it into my middle school exploratory next year. So when my professor gave us an assignment dealing with cybercitizenry, I was thrilled. Here was a way to not only do an assignment but create lesson plans that I will actually use!! Click here to find out how I found the Common Sense Media website and other Internet safety lesson plans to be very useful. And of course, this information will be very useful for my growing boy!! I am sure he will be using technology soon!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting My Classroom Ready for the 21st Century

We have been in the 21st century for 11 years now and I admit I am a little bit behind. However, I am working on trying to get my classroom to the point where the students of the 21st century are getting the skills they need in an environment that will challenge them. Having to evaluate how well my classroom met the different characteristics of effective classrooms in the 21st century, which are Student-Centered Classrooms, Teaching for Understanding, Assessment for Learning, Rigor and Relevance, Teaching for Learner Differences, and Technology Infusion, was a good wake up call for me to see what I am doing to help my students be prepared for the 21st century. It means even more now because of the little skeleton below (can you tell I am a proud momma?). I want to do whatever to make sure my son and all children get the education they need to be prepared for their future.

Overall, I think my classroom is going in the right direction. I try to create lessons that are student-centered, create understanding for the students, and are relevant. Technology is used to help increase student understanding. The areas I need continue to work on is teaching for learner differences and formative assessments. Click here to view my assessment of my classroom.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Taking It Up A Notch

Okay, I admit it. I am not much of a blogger. It has been a little while since I have created a post on my blog. Luckily, we are back to blogging for one of my master's in Instructional Technology classes so I will finally have a new post!!

In class we have been discussing how to select and integrate technology into our classroom. For an assignment, we have been encouraged to evaluate how we use technology and to try to take it to another level using the Technology Integration Matrix. To view my "taking it up a notch" assignment, click here to read some examples of technology used in my business classroom and how I plan to take my technology use to the next level. Feel free to add any comments or suggestions on how I can keep taking my technology use to the next level.

By the way, life has changed a little bit due to the little guy below. Our son, Luke Roberts Marcus, was born on October 11th, 2011 and has been such a blessing in our lives. Life as a parent has put me a little bit behind on this assignment but finally I have found a little bit of time to finish!! Maybe I will create a blog about Luke and it will encourage me to blog a little bit more!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I Almost Wish School Would Start Soon

Wow, what an amazing week I just had!! At the beginning of the week, I was a little nervous to be the student again. However, as soon as I started to meet my classmates, I realized it was going to not only be a great week but a great two years. Not only will I learn a lot from my classes, but I will and already have learned so much from my classmates. Here is my concern. School is still two months away. Will I lose all the great knowledge I have gained from this great week? I almost wish school started next week so I can take my enthusiasm and determination to make my classroom more student-centric and apply it in my classroom. I am just afraid I will slip back to my old ways. So to remember my ideas and my excitement, I thought I would get some of the ideas written down so I can just refer back to my blog!!

Here are some of the ideas I have:
1. Using Wikispaces or Wetpaint, focus on concepts by the students collaborating on what they find through research on a wiki.

2. To begin each unit, create a Readings, Writings, Listenings, and Doings (RWLD) (click to see examples from the final projects of our EIT class) to get the students thinking about what they have are about to learn.

3. Using a video conferencing tool such as Skype, talk to professionals in different careers so the students can discuss with him/her about their career.

4. Have the students create a Google account so they can use iGoogle and have them start creating their own Personal Learning Network.

5. During class projects, make sure all students are involved by using Google Docs.
6. Using collaboration tools such as VoiceThread, have business professionals comment on students' business projects to get a real-life perspective on what they did.

7. Get my classroom involved with the Flat Classroom initiative so my "small town" students become more global and aware of what life is like outside of our town as well as state and/or country.

Hopefully these ideas are just the beginning of helping to make my classroom more student-centric. I greatly look forward to what else is in store for this master's course. If anybody else has any thoughts on how to make these ideas better or any other ideas you have, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wiki Photo:
Google Docs Photo:
Flat Classroom Photo:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Know I am Not that Old but this "Old Dog" is Not Liking New Tricks

So today we had the opportunity to use iMovie 9 for our Final Project in Emerging Instructional Technologies. Okay, it is no secret that I am a PC person. I did use Apple's growing up in high school but when I arrived at the great University of Northern Iowa as a freshman, the closet computer lab was full of Dell computers. I quickly learned how easy it was to do my assignments on the Dells, which being a business education major was a good thing. So I was greatly delighted that when I got my teaching position, my room was full of PC's!! I quickly learned all the great applications that PC's has to offer for the classroom and went to town on using these in my classroom.

So today when I was working on iMovie, at times I got a little frustrated. The two and a half hours it took me to complete my iMovie, I know would have only taken me an hour on MovieMaker. And then I started to think about my students. Everyday I ask them to do something new whether it be to learn a new subject, a new technology tool, or work with someone that they would never have worked with. Do they get frustrated at me at times? Yes. Do I ask them to have an open mind? Yes. So even though it pains me to say this, I need to have an open mind when using Apples. Thankfully, Chelsey found some great tools on how to use iMovie on her blog post, Mac=Frustrating. At least I am not the only one that feels this way!!

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday!! Looking forward to everyone's final project!!