Elephants in the Classroom

Will Richardson, in his article “9 Elephants in the (Class)room That Should Unsettle Us”, said some things that should wake us up as future teachers. The “elephants” that he listed in our classroom are things that we all know to be true, but none of us want to acknowledge because we simply do not know what to do to fix it.

One of the elephants that really caught my attention was number 4, which states, “we know that we’re not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success.” I think this is pretty unnerving because there seems to be nothing that I can do about it. When I become a teacher, I have to assess my students in the way that the standards tell me to, not in the way that I truly believe is effective. If the teachers aren’t happy about it, the students aren’t happy about it, and the administration isn’t happy about it, then who is? And if the answer is no one, why do we keep doing it? I think that we need to start focusing on assessing our students in ways that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, not just until they get into a good college with their scores.

elephant-ivory-animals-africa.jpg

Another elephant that caught my attention was “We know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in”. This statement is 100% accurate, and I don’t know a single parent or student, including myself, that could disagree with it. From the day we start school, we learn that getting good grades is important. When you are sent to school, your parents say, “Get good grades!”, not, “Learn something importan

 

t!”, and that is because we all want to say we got good grades, to get into that good school, and to receive that letter telling us that we made the Dean’s List. But what happens to that letter when we graduate, go off to find a job, and don’t remember anything that we have been learning for the last 18+ years? We need to start caring about what we are learning and how we can become more engaged and invested in our education rather than our grades because then we will be more successful in our lives.

I am going to be a teacher some day, and when I am, I want to help my students. I want to prepare them for the real world. I want to show them just how exciting being a lifelong learner can be. I do not want to drill into their brains that assessments and grades are what define them because it isn’t true. They need someone to cheer them on and help them find whatever it is that makes things click, and I hope that I can be that person for my students.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

Kayla

Learning Progress

As this semester comes to an end, I can’t help but to reflect and realize how thankful I am that I was required to take this course. To be completely honest, I was dreading it with all that I have. I heard that we had to blog, tweet, and be creative with technology, and all of those things scared me to death. I don’t know how to blog, I don’t like to tweet, and I am neither creative or tech-savvy, so this course was basically my nightmare. I am so happy to report, though, that not only has it not been a nightmare, but it has been a Godsend. I have learned so much about myself, and I can’t wait to continue doing so.

My Independent Learning Project was fantastic. I loved everything about it. I loved that I did it on my own time, that there were no rules, and that it was something that I chose to do, not something that I was assigned to do. Although it was difficult to find time, tools, and space to cook in the dorms, I had to become creative, and I was mostly successful in doing that! I am proud to say that I have improved as a chef, and I have learned more about cooking in one semester than I have in 21 years of living. The ILP is something that pushed me outside of my comfort zone, provided me with challenges, and then rewarded me with a feeling of confidence that I have never truly experienced as a learner. I was forced to be dedicated, and it paid off in a great way.

My role has a learner has completely changed throughout this course. I used to get on Sakai, check my assignments, and robotically go through the emotions of completing an assignment, turning it in, checking for the grade, and then repeating the entire process over again. In this course, I have learned how to learn again. I have learned how to be excited about what is to come because it is a mystery, and I have to learn as I go. I have taken so much away from the information that we have gone through, and I have learned a lot about ways to excite my students, engage them in technology, and show them new ways to express themselves in the classroom. I definitely think that allowing some freedom within learning is the most effective teaching strategy that I have experienced thus far. I want to teach my students how to think, not what to think, and letting them be creative and learn on their own is a great way to do that.

Thanks for reading,

Kaylapexels-photo-256468.jpeg

Digital Story

Learning is something interesting to me. I had a very hard time trying to come up with metaphors that described my learning experiences, but in the end, I am glad that I was able to explore all of the comparisons there are. I hope that when I compare my learning experiences to different, fun experiences in my life, my students will be more excited to embark on their journey.

I made my digital story with Animoto, and I had a great time! I used a different site first, which gave me a terrible time. I created an entire video that took me about 45 minutes, got to the end of the process, and then was given the memo that I could not used my finished product unless I paid for it or added a credit card so that when my free trial was up, the site could charge me!

Overall, I had a really great time creating this story because it allowed me to reminisce and create something that was very near and dear to my heart. I wanted it to be special, and that is what happened! I loved that I could add pictures from years ago and apply them to my learning experiences and my life as a student/future educator.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

-Kayla

Independent Learning Project Finale

(Sorry to anyone who has viewed this post before. Somehow all of my content got deleted.)

So the day has come, we have finally finished up our Independent Learning Projects! When I say finally, I do not mean it to sound like I dreaded this assignment at all, because that is the opposite of the truth. When I say finally, I mean finally I get to see how I have progressed! This has been a learning experience that I will never forget, and I could not wait to make my final meal so that I could see if I had gotten any better at being a College Dorm Chef!

It will not come as a surprise to any of my readers when I say that I decided to make pasta for my final meal! It was fantastic. I have been primarily focusing on Chicken Alfredo and Shrimp Alfredo because that is my favorite kind of pasta, so I thought that I should step outside of my comfort zone a little bit and make Chicken Parmesan, which is something that requires a little bit more work, in my opinion. I loved the process, though, because the end product was so delicious!

I made breaded chicken breasts that I cut into smaller chunks after they were fully cooked. I cooked penne in boiling, salted water, and then I made a chunky tomato sauce that had tomato puree, tomato sauce, and sun-dried tomatoes. I added the chicken and the noodles into the sauce, and then I seasoned it all with a lot of salt and pepper, some Italian seasoning, and finally, lots and lots of melty, Mozzarella cheese! To go along with this tasty dish, I made a few garlic bread sticks that fit perfectly with the Italian vibe that I cannot get enough of.

IMG_8347

I have had a blast cooking meals for my ILP. At first, I thought it would be really easy to accomplish this task. Cooking for homework sounded a lot better than the papers, forums, and tests that I am used to, but it truly was a difficult task getting myself to get into the kitchen. It is hard to tell yourself you need to go out and buy ingredients, see if the kitchen is free, and then muster up some pans instead of just going through a drive thru and saving time and money. It was worth it, though. I learned that if I commit myself to something that I enjoy, I will be so proud of myself when I finally accomplish my goal. This class has pushed me outside of my comfort zone in just about every realm and format of learning, and I would not change that for anything because I have learned that I am capable, and I can do whatever I want to put my mind to, and that is exactly why I will allow my students to do an ILP in my future classroom someday.

Thanks for reading!

Kayla

Visual Creation

I had a really good time creating my visual tool this week. I think it is a good skill to be able to create a visual for people to see when reading information or learning about something new. I decided to work with the Canva tool because the reviews that discussed it were all amazing! I was scared to create a visual tool because every time that I have tried to create anything using technology, it ends up looking awful and amateur. Canva looked simpler to use than the other options, so if I am being honest, that is why I decided to work with it!

Canva did a great job of explaining exactly how to use its tools. The only downside of this site was that a lot of the options require a membership or a payment to be used, but there are still plenty of options that are free! When I got to the site, there was a 23 second tutorial that explained exactly how to complete each step. My favorite part about the site was that you can choose the overall reason for creating your tool, so I chose education, and then I was given TONS of options of visuals that I could customize such as posters, art for a YouTube channel, a blog cover, a logo, and so much more. I chose to create a header for a Twitter page, and it was so much fun to do.

My idea for a Twitter header came about when I thought about the idea of creating a technology-based cookbook. My Independent Learning Project has not only helped me with my cooking skills, but it has made me more passionate about cooking than I ever have been! In my house, we have about 40 cookbooks, binders of family recipes, notecards and written recipes from friends and family, and printed out recipes that were found on blogs and Pinterest. It is a complete mess trying to find any specific recipe, so most of the time I don’t even bother. Instead, I pull out my phone, search for the food I am interested in cooking, screenshot it, and then get cooking! Because of this, I realized that so many people use the internet to find recipes these days, so it would be a good idea to make a Twitter page filled with my favorite recipes. I could just go to my page whenever I wanted to cook, and find anything that I was looking for!

I think that ideas like mine, a Twitter page for recipes, are becoming really popular these days because of how fast technology is growing and how much we are relying on it for everything that we do. People are going to the internet to find EVERYTHING, and when they see an appealing visual, they are going to be more likely to click on that link, remember what they saw, and use the information. The same goes for the classroom. Students will remember what sparked their interest, and using visuals is going to help do that. I plan to use visuals, colors, logos, art, and every other visual design that I can get my hands on so that my students are engaged and excited about what they are learning.

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

 

 

 

Podcasts and Digital Stories in the Classroom

I have to admit that I have never had any interest in podcasts before this week. I have heard of a lot of people listening to them on long drives, but to me that just sounded boring! I thought that listening to someone talk would put me right to sleep, but I did not know how many different options there are when it comes to podcasts and the variety of genres that are available to listen to.

The first podcast I listened to was #edchat radio which was about education, as you can see from the title! It was definitely interesting, but it kind of felt like I was in a class listening to a lecture. I enjoyed the tips that were given and I would definitely recommend this podcast to other educators or future educators, but I would definitely prefer to listen to a more exciting podcast, which is why I loved the crime-filled ones!

When I went to iTunes to try and find a podcast that I could listen to while I was driving, I clicked on “Top Podcasts”. The number one podcast was called Felonious Florida, and it was about the murder of a bar owner and two women that were with him in Florida and the murder of a mother and her child in the back of their car. What made this podcast so scary was that the murderers were never found, which means that they could still be out walking among us. I was so interested in this podcast, so I looked at a few of them that were related to it. I listened to two more that were about crime and murder, and each one was just as intriguing as the last. I have now found myself to be searching through crime podcasts and reading up on them because I am so interested in hearing about them!

I think that using podcasts and digital stories in the classroom is a great idea. I had much more fun exploring these than I thought I would, and I know that my students would too. Podcasts and digital stories provide a new way of learning information. Students are used to PowerPoints and lectures, so having a new way to learn would be exciting for them. There are a few disadvantages to using these tools in the classroom, though. I think digital stories are fun, but sometimes they veer away from the point at hand. If someone is skilled with technology, it is probably a lot easier to find the right words, visuals, music, editing software, etc. to present their point, but for the people who do not know how to manipulate technology with ease, it will be difficult to be as thorough as they should be when presenting information through a digital story. When I use podcasts in my classroom someday, I hope to find powerful and engaging examples to present to my students. The goal is for them to be stimulated and to want to learn, and I think that if I do my research well enough, podcasts and digital stories will be the perfect way to motivate them.

Thanks for reading,

Kaylapexels-photo-289742.jpeg

ILP: Easter Weekend

It is Easter Sunday, and like every other holiday, my family celebrated in a great way: by feasting. We started our cooking process for our meal today last night around 5:00 pm. We marinated our pork loin for 14 hours so that it would be ready to cook today! My dad and I woke up at 7:00 am this morning in order to prepare the pork, ham, and sausage. We took the pork out of the marinade, and started wrapping it in bacon. It took quite a bit of work to find strips of bacon that were long enough to wrap around the meat, but with a large amount of toothpicks, the job was complete. Next, we prepared the ham and sausage by seasoning them with my dad’s secret combination of spices. Finally, we placed all three pieces of meat on the smoker, and allowed them to cook for 4 hours.

Easter 1

After the meat was placed, we left it alone and began preparing the rest of our meal. Because we planned to eat with our relatives at noon, we decided to go for a brunch theme. My mom and I created two egg bakes that were composed of eggs, bacon, sausage,  cheese, and hash browns. These were really easy to make because all of the ingredients were combined and baked. We took the bakes out about two minutes before they were done, added more cheese, and then placed them back into the oven to finish baking. While those were cooking, I prepared some bacon, sausage links, smokey sausages,  potatoes that were seasoned with salt and pepper, some scrambled eggs with cheese, and toast with butter. Next, we began making the dessert options.

rice krispie

What is a feast with no dessert? It is not considered a feast! In order to satisfy our guests’ sweet tooth, we decided to bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch, which were amazing because we used chunks of a real milk chocolate bar rather than the pre-packaged chocolate chips. The taste is so much better, let me tell you! Next, my grandma and I made rice krispie treats, which are probably the easiest treat to ever make! All that we had to do was melt butter, add marshmallows until they are melted as well, and then mix in rice krispie cereal, and finally, pour the mixture into a pan, spread them out, and then cut them when they are cooled. Our last dessert option was a large pan of caramel rolls! My mom and I prepared the dough for these before we went to bed last night, so that they were risen and ready to bake this morning! We created a delicious caramel sauce with butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and orange zest, and poured it in the bottom of a glass pan. We placed the rolls next to each other on top of the caramel sauce, baked them, and then flipped them over onto tinfoil. The result was so pretty and delicious!

caramel rolls.jpg

Overall, we had a great Easter meal, and I had a blast cooking with my family! This year’s Easter meal was very small in comparison to previous years because we usually go all out for every holiday, but I am glad that we still got to cook a lot of fun food for our family!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla