Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog Jump Start

Hello everyone!

I originally started this blog as part of my Master's program.   As my addiction for Pinterest and other blogs start to grow, I would like give my blog a new jump start.  I am a third grade teacher in Maryland and I love crafts and making new things.  My father and I have spent years fixing up the house that I bought and I continually learn more and more as time goes on.  Now that most of the painting, repairing, and replacing has taken place, it is time for me to start decorating.  I am working to start making my house a home!  Plus, my boyfriend and I just got engaged, so there is so much to still happen there.  Stay tuned for any and all new things coming your way.  :-)


Monday, August 13, 2012

Integrating Technology Reflection

            This course on Integrating Technology into the Content Areas was a course that I was looking forward to taking.  Technology is a passion of mine.  It is something that I love to learn about and experiment with.  There are so many resources and options that are available and become available on a regular basis.  There are several things that we focused on throughout this course.  We looked at the GAME plan, social networking, digital stories, and other ideas for integrating technology into all subject areas.
            I created a GAME plan with two different goals.  My first goal was to learn how to teach students proper and ethical use of information and resources by joining a professional learning network (PLN) and completing online searches.  My second goal was to learn about how other teachers incorporate technology into their classroom and what tools they used.  My plan to accomplish this was to again join PLNs, create a PLN within our school and within our district.  I made progress towards each of my goals.  I found some great resources that included suggestions to teach elementary students to cite information.  I also joined several PLNs.  There is a technology committee within my county that focuses on interesting uses of technology within our schools and technology opportunities.  We also teach each other how to use some of the technology resources that we use within our own instruction.  I talked with one of the county’s technology supervisors about creating a place where we can share a variety of resources with each other.  She thought it was a great idea and is working with the other supervisors to create a Livebinder version of this.  I think I have a great head start to reach my goals this coming year.
            Another thing we focused on was actually integrating technology into our classrooms.  I think prior to this course I used a lot of technology within my classroom.  We created glogs, podcasts, and blogging, but I knew that I was still working out the kinks.  This coming year the goal is to use blogging more often so the information on social networking and having to create a social networking lesson was a great opportunity for me.  It was also helpful to get some feedback on the lesson to see if anyone else had any ideas to add.  I think the biggest moment for me in this course was the focus on digital stories.  I tried digital storytelling my second year of teaching, and I just started way too big.  I got stuck about halfway through the process and was not sure of the next step.  After working with the resources, I know that it can be a lot easier than what I was trying to make it.  Students could create a digital story about an animal, math problem, science experiment or even about themselves (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012).  I like that I also got to see some examples of digital stories that students created and ways that other teachers use it in their classroom.   My new plan is to try to create a digital story of my own so that I can walk through the process.  Then I think I can effectively incorporate it into my classroom.  I am excited to try digital stories again with my students.  Overall, I have benefitted greatly from this course and I know my students will also.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2012). Program twelve: Spotlight on technology: digital storytelling, part 1 [Video webcast]. Integrating Technology into the Content Areas. Retrieved from

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Continuing GAME Plan Progress

           I have stated my GAME plan to improve my teaching and some of the steps that I was already able to make towards reaching my goals.  As of last week, I was starting to make progress towards my professional growth goal.  I found different ways to communicate with other teachers to help build ideas of technology integration within my classroom.  This week I wanted to start making more progress towards my goal of teaching students to cite their resources properly.
I completed a search for ideas and tips for citing resources for elementary students.  I found a “Ready Reference” webpage on Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators.  It has a lot of different resources listed on the page, but it also had different expectations and guides for bibliographies for grades 1 through 6 (Schrock, 1995).  This site also has a lot of links to help with fair use and copyrighting.  This is a great resource to use when starting to teach students about different aspects of research.
I am on the Educational Technology Steering Committee within my county.  I was thinking about ways to share resources teachers have found and use within the county.  I talked with one of the technology coordinators about creating some sort of wiki or resource to compile all of the technology resources we like to use and any direction sheets that have been created to go along with them.  After talking to this coordinator, she brought it up to other members of the committee and we are in the process of creating a Livebinder ( with resources for elementary, middle and high school that can be used throughout the county.  I am excited about this initiative and I think that it could really help teachers of all comfort levels incorporate technology into their instruction.  I feel like I am making great progress towards my goals currently and seem to be right on track.


Livebinders (

Schrock, K. (1995). Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Progress on My GAME Plan

          I’ve stated my GAME plan to improve my teaching.  There are a number of things that I still need to be able to accomplish my goals.  The biggest thing necessary to accomplish my goals is to join and create several professional learning networks (PLNs).  I want to create a PLN within my school and my district.  Then I planned on joining a PLN on the bigger scale.
I am still working on what technology tool would specifically help build a PLN at the school and district level.  I am thinking that using Diigo or Delicious might be an easy way to share resources and still add notes.  There are other options as well, such as using Twitter, blogs or Google Docs.  I am still figuring out which tool would be the best use to use for these PLNs.  I will continue to research these tools further to be able to determine which tool will apply best to the use that I have in mind.
While I am still working on the more local PLNs, I started to search other PLNs at the larger scale.  I have joined The Educator’s PLN ( as well as Twitter (  The Educator’s PLN has thousands of teachers online that have discussions, share ideas, resources, anything you can image.  I am still exploring the site because there are so many things included.  Also, I learned that every Tuesday on Twitter there is an #edchat on a specific topic at 12pm and at 7pm eastern time.  I am still learning about Twitter, but it is so interesting to have so many educators “get together” to have such valuable discussions.  I thinking I am starting to make some progress towards part of my GAME plan, but I still have a long way to go.

The Educator’s PLN (
Twitter (

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My GAME Plans

            As an educator in the 21st century, it is our duty to teach our students how to become self-directed learners.  They need to be able to be flexible, motivated and creative thinkers (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  One way to teach them how to become self-directed learners, they can follow a GAME plan.  This is where they can think about their goals, what actions they will take to meet their goals, how they will monitor their progress and how they can extend and evaluate what they have learned (Cennamo et al., 2009).
            It is also necessary for teachers to be self-directed learners that set goals for themselves.  It is just as easy for use to follow the same GAME plan as the students do.  I have looked at the International Society for Technology in Education’s National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008) and chosen two standards that I would like to broaden my knowledge and experience with.  I have included my GAME plan for each of those standards below.

GAME Plan 1: NETS-T: #4: Promote & Model Digital Citizenship & Responsibility
Set Goals
Learn more about teaching “safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).

Take Action
Explore professional learning networks (PLNs) and complete searches for tips and ways to teach my students how to cite their resources.

Track and try different options and ideas.  Record effectiveness of each option or idea.

Evaluate & Extend
Work with peers to talk about what I have found and what other teachers do.  Continue to research if necessary.

GAME Plan 2: NETS-T: #5: Engage in Professional Growth & Leadership
Set Goals
Learn more about how other teachers are using technology and incorporating it into their daily instruction.  Learn more about technology tools that other teachers commonly use and find student-friendly.

Take Action
Try to create a group within the school I teach where teachers can share ways they incorporate technology into their classroom.  Try to create a PLN within the district to share ways other teachers use technology in their classroom.  Collaborate with other teachers online through PLNs on tips to incorporate technology and student-friendly tools.

Learn how to use new tools and incorporate ideas discussed with colleagues within my instruction to see how my students interact with these new tools. 

Evaluate & Extend
Continue to use tools that students interact well with and discontinue tools that are too difficult for my tudents.  Continue to work with other teachers and try to attend technology conferences whenever possible.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education technology standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from

Monday, February 20, 2012

Reflecting on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology

I have learned a lot in this class about the different learning theories and instructional strategies.  I still believe that the answer to student success and learning in the classroom is the result of a variety of learning theories and instructional strategies.  This class has helped me become more aware of learning theories so that I can plan with them in mind.  It is important for me to think about connections that can be made while I am teaching.  It has also helped me to realize how technology can be integrated with each learning theory so that it can be used most effectively.

Prior to starting my Master’s degree in Integrating Technology into the Classroom, I think I was satisfied with just using technology as an instructional tool.  Through this class I have learned that it is just as important to use technology as a learning tool.  An instructional tool is just the teacher using technology to present information to his/her students.  A learning tool is when students are actually using the technology so they are more engaged in the process (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  Students need to be able to use and create with technology.  There are a variety of technology tools that are available so that students can learn through doing instead of trying to learn through listening to a lecture.  I would like to use Kidspiration more with my students because it offers so many different ways to use it.  There are math manipulatives, webs, and pictures to show what the students have learned.  Another technology tool that I would like to use more with my students is virtual field trips.  We used a field trip when we were learning about immigration.  I think that virtual field trips are an effective resource to help support concepts especially in social studies.  It is often difficult for students to make connections to things that have happened in other areas or in another time.  Virtual field trips can help students to make connections they may not otherwise be able to make.

I have two long-term goals that I would like to set for myself.  I would like to experiment with the use of blogs in my classroom.  I have tried to use them for a variety of purposes, but have not found a fluid way of using them in my classroom thus far.  I will continue to experiment with them this year in hopes that I will figure out a more appropriate way to integrate them into instruction next year.  Another goal that I am setting for myself is for my students to be able to experience more virtual field trips.  I will continue to use the resources provided to me to find virtual field trips to go along with the standards that I teach.  I know this will help my students get the most out of their educational experience in a variety of subjects.   


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program thirteen: Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cooperative Learning and Social Learning

     Cooperative learning is an example of social learning.  Social learning theories are defined by Dr. Orey as “students actively engage[d] in constructing artifacts and conversing with others” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  Cooperative learning is when a group of students work together for a specific purpose where the group is responsible for each other’s learning (Palmer, Peters & Streetman, 2003). 
     I was interested to read recommendations and generalizations made in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works.  The authors recommend not always grouping students in the same way and combining cooperative learning “with other classroom structures” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007, p. 140).  I agree that it is important to put students into different groups.  They need to learn how to work with different people.  It is also necessary according to the activity to group them in different ways also.  It is important to not just focus on cooperative learning, but more to incorporate it into your classroom.
     I also liked that the authors stated that cooperative learning “should be used consistently and systematically but should not be overused” (Pitler et al, 2007, p. 139).  This year my county has been pushing for “student talk” and cooperative learning.  It is interesting to me because no one at any level thus far has been able to explain to us what cooperative learning is or how they would like to see it incorporated in our classrooms.  They just know they are looking for “student talk” and signs that we use cooperative learning.  The sad part is that they are looking for signs such as the desks being set up in groups, students at each group having jobs and things such as that.  It is as if they are more concerned about the classroom management part of cooperative learning more so than actually having the students learn cooperatively.  After reading the resources for this week I have a better understanding of what cooperative learning really is and how much I already use it in my classroom.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Palmer, G., Peters, R., & Streetman, R. (2003). Cooperative learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved January 30, 2012, from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

My VoiceThread:  Emotional Disabled Student