Thursday, March 27, 2014

Project: Alabama Virtual Library

I am interning at a middle school library this semester and so I developed this presentation for middle school students and faculty.  I included the faculty in my audience for the presentation because if the teachers do not know how to use AVL as a resource, then they will not incorporate it into their projects, activities, and lessons.  For faculty I would present the presentation during a faculty meeting or professional development day.  For students I would present the presentation in the library, in correlation with a class project that involves research. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Project PBL #2

Two people canoeing
For my project I developed a lesson for 6th grade math students.

Project Name:It is Spring! Time to go on an Outdoor Adventure

This project has been designed to present a realistic, real world challenge, to incorporate 6th grade math objectives (distance/rate and other calculations).

Visit Anastasia Martin EDM 510 Website to view my Project PBL #2 documents.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blog Post #6: What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning from Randy Pausch?

Randy Pausch gave this lecture on September 18, 2007.  When he gave this lecture he had been diagnosed with cancer with only a few months left to live.  He looks amazingly healthy in the video and is an amazing speaker.  His lecture is inspiring.  The purpose is to learn "how you can achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others." 

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning from Randy Pausch?
1. Have fun in everything you do.
2. Learn from rejection, and keep trying.
3. Through hard work, and persistence childhood dreams can come true.
4. When doing something for the first time, things will go wrong, but the end product can still be amazing.
5. Use a project based curriculum - the best projects have students learn really hard concepts without the students realizing it because they are having fun.
6. Don't set limits on projects, let the students work to their full potential.
7. Give students an audience so they can be excited about their work.
8. Have a goal to get students to self reflect.
9. As a teacher we have the ability to help students on their path to fulfill their childhood dreams.
10. "We learn from our students."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project PBL #1

Cat chef cooking

For my project I developed a lesson for 6th grade math students.

Project Name: Hungry! Time to plan a recipe.

Visit Anastasia Martin EDM 510 Website to view my Project PBL #1 documents.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blog Post #5

Question Mark
Asking Questions

There is an art to asking questions. Stale questions can produce stale, mechanical answers. But the right questions can stimulate the mind and involve students in the learning process. Yes/no closed ended questions need to be replaced by open ended questions that require students to think and formulate an extensive answer. Joanne Chesley does a good job explaining the difference between open ended and closed ended questions in the two minute video, “Asking Better Questions in the Classroom”.


The Teaching Center has a great article, Asking Questions to Improve Learning,  that gives several examples of effective open ended questions like, "Under what conditions is this equation not valid?"

So how do you get started changing the way you ask questions?  Andi Stix in the two minute video “Open Ended Questions” explains how to modify existing closed ended questions to open ended questions.


Recently I observed a math lesson where students came to the board one at a time to work problems. Typically this is a time when the rest of the class, sits back, relaxes and lets the one student do all of the work. But the teacher impressed me in the way she asked the rest of the class open ended questions during the board work to involve the whole class in the learning process. Each time the student would come to a stopping point in the problem, the teacher did not say, “yes you are doing it right, keep going.” Instead she would ask the class questions like: “Do you think the student did step 3 correct?”...“How would you work this step differently?”..."How will the new method change the answer?"..."Which solution is correct, or are they both correct?"  Because of the outstanding job the teacher did asking questions during the lesson, the class was participating in the board work, reflecting on the students work, comparing it to their own solution, and evaluating whether the student was working it correctly. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blog Post #4

Project Based Learning Using Technology Tools

In library media, my field of study, a big focus is teaching students the skills needed to be life long learners in the 21st century using a constructivist approach (constructing knowledge). Students are actively learning in a constructivist approach, building on previous skills and lessons, and guided by the teacher. While project based learning reminded me of the constructivist approach I am familiar with in the library media program, the series of videos developed by Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps on project based learning taught me several new things about authentic, student driven projects. In project based learning (PBL) teachers assign projects that are designed for students to learn the course objectives through the completion of the project as an alternative to traditional paper and pencil tasks like worksheets. Anthony Capps described a good project as "having an authentic audience, having student interest, involving the community, and driven by content" Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher. Teachers that use project based learning, integrated with 21st technology tools to meet Alabama College and Career Ready Standards (ACCRS) have stepped away from the traditional methods of teaching.

To find 12th ACCRS relevant to this essay I used the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX). It has the ACCRS organized by subject and grade level ALEX Course of Study. The screen shots below show 12th grade writing standards that are correlated with writing essays.

Screen shot of 12th grade writing standards.
ACCRS 12th Grade Writing Standards

Screen shot of 12th grade writing standards.
ACCRS 12th Grade Writing Standards

After watching the videos by Dr. Stange and Anthony Capps on project based learning I wonder how many teachers are actually using project based learning in the classroom versus teaching technology. The video titled Don't Teach Tech - Use It emphasized the importance of having students use technology in order to complete a class assignment instead of a lesson that’s only purpose is to teach a particular technology. For example, “How to Use AVL” with no core subject objectives tied to it?

Ten years ago when I taught a senior level Math in Society Class, the students completed several PBL assignments. The objectives and standards of the class revolved around real life math skills, like doing your taxes, so PBL assignments naturally fit into the units. At the time technology had not integrated into the every day classroom; one teacher computer per classroom, and one computer lab the entire high school shared. The class used the computer lab a few times for research. The final projects were presented on poster boards or hand written text and analysis. There of course is nothing wrong with that but the students were not excited about the final products. Technology tools add a new level to PBL. Technology opens the door for students to take the project beyond the original scope of the project, to discover, to learn. Technology opens the door for students to be creative and to reflect on what they have learned.

Now ten years later I am interning in the library of a school where each classroom has a handful of computers and a smart board. Students are encouraged to bring their own devices. Digital cameras and video recorders are available for classroom use. Class sets of laptops are being created as teachers get new laptops. Two computer labs are available. I am not in the classroom observing how much students are learning ACCRS using technology through project based learning, but the library is the technology hub of the school. I am able to motivate, collaborate, and encourage teachers to use PBL and the technological tools we have available in the school. Projects can be developed that are cultivated for grade level, prior knowledge, and the amount of time a student will have access to a device.  The opportunities are endless.