Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apostrophe's the Devil!

Hello, All!

For those of you who are just joining in and didn't read my little bio, my dream is to become an English teacher, or a aclaimed writer -- whichever comes first.  So for my SEDU 183 class, I had to create a lesson plan for a class I would be teaching.  I chose to create an amusing, interactive writing review powerpoint on the topic of aphostrophes, because let's me honest, many people don't know how to use them correctly.  So feel free to flip through the powerpoint and see if your knowledge of the aphostrophe is correct!

When first told what the project was about (Create a PowerPoint lesson plan for your students) I thought, "This would be a breeze!"  But after Mr. Smith informed us we had to use PennDot to pick the lesson we where to present.  I hate PennDot.  It made little to no sense, and I felt really restricted even though I already knew what I wanted to teach my peers.  So that was not my favorite part, but the rest of the project totally was!!  I had fun putting together the varying answers and picking the pictures that correleated with whether the student's chocie was right or wrong.  Truely I chose those pictures to amuse myself, I feel like the teacher needs to make the lesson fun for themselves to have a better attitude to teach!  I enjoyed the project and just made me even more sure that I want to be a teacher, even though PennDot was a deal breaker, I got over it.  I believe my love for writing shows through in the PowerPoint because I added my own fun elements and silly sentences that makes the topic even more fun to learn, and keep those rules in the student's head.
But you know, PowerPoints are very helpful in the classroom!  Use mine for example, you can have the students interact with the lesson in order for them to learn more.  No one wants to sit in a hard desk and be lectured to in a monotone voice.  PowerPoints are a great way to get the class up and talking, and to help them learn more in different ways whether by adding videos, links, pictures, diagrams and much more to the PowerPoint.

So don't think that PowerPoints are no good, and can only be used to lecture!  They are fun and interactive, and hey, I add some fun stuff in there to entertain myself as well as the calss!  Leave a comment below to let me know what you have to say, and click my sign out to send me an e-mail asking any questions or telling me what you want to hear.

Till next time,


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Simon Says . . .

English, American English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese  . . . What’s the big hype over bilingualism?  Some say that it is just something we must learn; others believe it will foster better cultural unity.  But whatever the reason, the main issue is how it is associated with the education system today.  Many people argue that infusing bilingualism into the education of our children is very beneficial because it will not only make them more marketable in whichever career he or she pursues, but because it will make them more culturally diverse.  The other side of this argument believes that either the minority should learn the majority’s language or that bilingual education is not an important topic to be teaching.

Which to learn?First, I would like to point out an ironic thing I found while trying to scrap together sufficient information for this post.  As I was streaming through several YouTube videos, I found that much of the focus was English speakers had to learn other languages, but as I skimmed through website texts, the arguments were focused on minority speakers learning English.  So which are we suppose to learn?  If one group believes that bilingualism is a “crucial part of our melting pot country”, then which language should we adopt to?  Some argue that teaching certain languages and not others will seem like discrimination.  So how are we to chose which second language would be best to learn, by determining which is being more widely spoken, or the language that a person picks up on better than another language?

Where it all began?Low and behold, bilingual education is not something new!  Dr. Picciano states in his video (below) that during the Colonial Era up until World War I, schools not only taught English, but whichever secondary language was dominate in the specific area.   Dr. Picciano’s video is very fascinating, so watch it below!

Which is more important?One issue that is being argued is whether the student’s education of a second language is more important than the student’s mastery of literacy in their mother language.  I feel that a student should be mastered in mother language, and when I say “mastered” I mean: complete and correct literacy and be able to analyze and interrupt the literature in that language. Evidence shows that a student's reading ability is what’s really important and those who favor bilingual education offer findings that literacy transfers through to second languages.  However, just because a student reads well in one language doesn't mean that they'll be able to read well in another language that they've learned.

Which will give success?Is it true that if a person is bilingual, then they are more successful?  According to, “Many people who claim to have success without bilingual education were from environments where English was dominant and favored by the community.”  With the rapid growth of technology, people are able to use computers and cell phone applications to translate phrases between different languages.  But there is also value in learning a second language.  A person who is bilingual can easily communicate with another person who speaks the same language without typing or speaking into the device and waiting for the results.  But in the end, which route makes a person more successful?  No one truly knows for certain, but both cases show that whichever education one gets, they do have the potential of success.

For the information that I found, and for more educational hot topics, check out the Education website.  And if you wish you narrow your focus onto the issue of bilingual education, check out Sharon Cromwell's journals at Education World.  And again, if you wish to check out more of Dr. Picciano's YouTube videos, click on the link to be taken to his YouTube channel.

Comment below to let us know your stance on the issue. Or click my sign our to email me about any questions you may have.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tweet Tweet!

Long time no talk, readers!

During my short time away, I have been reacquainted with the glorious world of Twitter!  I made myself an account a while back, but never saw the sense in sticking too it, but I have had a huge reality check.

Twitter is not just for the celebs, fashion designers, and obnoxious wannabees who are telling everyone (or no one) what they are doing with their days, it has some value!!  What value you may ask?  Well not only is it obvious that it is a great tool of connecting with people all over the world, but you are able to find knowledge users who are sharing knowledge ideas -- in you know where to look.  From educators to professional writers to athletic coaches, there are people out there on Twitter that are providing valid information that will help you in your career path, or even your hobbies!
The communication on Twitter is pretty handy, connecting people with common interests all over the world, and having the opportunity to learn different things that interest you.  But don't let it stop you there!!

You -- yes, you, my amazing readers -- are able to tweet about whatever you want.  And yeah, that could mean about you're every day life, but you can also tweet about the latest theory you learned in class, or the better way to go about a difficult problem, or the soultion to whatever answer.  The point of it all is a network connection to keep people informed and keep ideas flowing through different minds so we are not stuck thinking and doing that same old things! 

You are following me here (a good choice by the way), but if i may suggest clicking my sign out to follow me on Twitter.  It's a handy little too, especially when on the go!  Don't be left in the dust, find out what others are thinking and let your voice be heard too! 

Till next time, little birdies,


Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Era of Old School

                Personal Learning Networks by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli is the text that was assigned for one of my courses this semester – SEDU 183 taught by Mr. Marc “Balddaddieteach” Smith, to be exact.  Just after reading the first chapter, however, I put down the book and had a mixed reaction, let me tell you why.  The first chapter, titled Understanding the Power of PLNs, dealt with the issue of why schools today have to become more technologically advanced.  It was argued that by becoming more tech-savvy will enhance the student’s education because they would be able to “self-direct our[ the students] learning(p.22)” in ways the interested them, also, it would allow the student to further broaden their educational horizons by having access to unlimited educational resources around the world, whether that be a student in Hong Kong or a teacher in Bangkok.   The authors further explained themselves, by reassuring that the students would be taught the safe, correct way to wander around the internet, and that schools only use the blocking of Facebook and MySpace (which is no longer a worry cause, serious, who uses MySpace anymore?) as an excuse to keep the children “safe”.

                Ok, and these are the points where I get my mixed reaction!  I put the book down and thought, “ . . . Well, I see two problems with this.”  The first problem being that students will learn more using technology by being able to access more information about what they are interested it!  The writers clam that we are shifting from a “generic to personal (p. 17)” learning system where we “pursue our interests and passions (p.17)” If I had it my way, back when I started school, I would not have touched a math book or learned a single mathematical equation!  I would have spent all my time researching historical England and reading whatever literature I could get my hands on.  Students need to learn all the different subjects in order to be the ideal Renaissance man – or woman.  It is better to be well rounded, even if you have your weak points, at least you would have some knowledge of what the subject entails.

                This issue then led into the next comment made in the chapter.  The writers stated that schools are only blocking networks such as Facebook (MySpace, who?) and Wikipedia because it is keeping children “safe”. They stated that, “we suspect that it has much to do with being an easy way not to have to deal with the real world realities that the web brings” (p 36). Firstly Wikipedia is a sorry excuse of an “informational” let alone “educational” site.  Anyone can go on there and say that Uranus used to be called a planet, but has now shrunk and has teleported to be a blemish on someone’s behind!  Wikipedia, not creditable and useless, next – Facebook.  

Most drama starts on Facebook, and cyber bullying is a rapid growing issue because people do not have the courage to say anything to someone’s face nowadays.  Let Facebook be on the student’s own personal time, not during school.  My high school had sites like that blocked until the end of the school day, so if there where students still waiting in the building for a ride or sports practice, they would let the rest of the world know too.

The point I am getting at is that, yes, schools do need to become more tech-savvy in order to teach the students and teachers more, but also make the teacher’s job a little easier; but they also need to realize that some of the “old” school ways are beneficial and should not be totally thrown out like your grandmothers moth eaten pajamas!  I had a Math course where we had to do much of the work online . . . and I HATED IT!!  I couldn’t understand it by myself, let alone have the text on the computer screen tell me how to do it.  And yes, this is an instance where I could have found some miraculous Math Heaven site and have the answer told or attempted to be taught to be, but all students learn in different ways.  We still need that teacher in the class room to sit us down with a pencil and paper and help us work it out and explain it to us in numerous ways if we don’t get it the first fifteen times. 

Then there is also the issue of communication.  Sure, a student can talk to the teacher in Bangkok about Lewis Carroll and his nonsense Wonderland world, or have the student in Hong Kong do his parent’s tax returns, but could that student be able to turn to his peer next to him and have an intelligent conversation without any stutters, “like’s”, awkward pauses, or anything else that is classified as poor communication skills?  Having all this technology at the students (and teachers) fingertips is great!  But are we losing the humanity, or I should rather say human communication, that has been taught all these years?

The authors have presented a good argument, and to some extend I do agree, but you also have to worry about what is going to be lost with the addition of all this new technology in the schools.  I do encourage students and people of all ages to go out and educated themselves, but it is not going to be spoon fed to you.  Schools should be teaching their students how to maneuver through the internet safely, and go out and find the information they need and want to learn!  The internet, when used properly is a great source to learn new things, but I believe that there are still some aspects of the old school way of learning that are still valuable to learn.

Well, I know many of my followers had to read what I did, so if any of you have your comments, remarks, criticism, or right out bashing of what I had to say about it, leave a comment below.

 Till next time.