Friday, November 20, 2009

Blog Turnover Entry C

I mentioned in Blog Turnover A that I felt Blogs had a useful that could possibly harnessed by teachers. I also mentioned that there were drawbacks or obstacles that teachers would need to overcome. Students are hard to motivate. We as teachers are giving students things that they may not see the benefit of until years down the road. This generation of students wants instant gratification. When you are dealing with this as a teacher, overcoming the motivation factor is your biggest obstacle. This obstacle shows itself in many forms and I believe it will again show itself in the form of a blog. A student who does not like to write, won't simply change his or her mind now that they get do it online. That same student however may love to spend countless time explaining and arguing with friends about why their basketball team is going to beat everyone else. I think that as teachers, our challenge with using blogs in the classroom first lies with trying to figure out how to align the students desire to talk (i.e. blog) about their basketball team and be educational at the same time.

Blog Turnover Entry B

The coolest feature(s) that blogging has to offer are the widgets or gadgets you can add on to your blog. I feel that this adds a certain level to the blog that might make the page more reader appealing. Sometimes going to a page with nothing but writing tends to leave a reader bored with the content. You have to be careful about adding too much gadgetry to the blog or you will lose the readers attention away from the main body. With some of the gadgets available, students can make their blogs more appealing to fellow students which may help with the issue I pointed out in Blog Turnover Entry A.

Blog Turnover Entry A

It's now time to start turning over the blog and I'm supposed to reflect on the usefulness of a blog. I have numerous ideas on the ways that a blog can be useful in a classroom. I've had students keep journals before to record their thoughts and experiences during a project. Blogging would be exceptionally useful when it came to pulling that concept into the 21st century. I've had students try to do cross-curricular activities and found that communication across the classrooms has been something difficult to overcome. Blogging could be a useful tool in that endeavor as well. The most surprising thing to me about a blog is the effort it takes to get people to use one. If you find the right subject matter for people to blog about, meaning they almost voluntarily try and blog, then it's almost like getting students to text. But if you try and make people blog on something, maybe something they are not keenly intrigued by, it is very difficult for people to give you honest and sincere entries into the blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

PBL Group Lessons

For the PBL project our group was expanded by one member. She has worked with us all extremely well and I think I speak for the group when I say that it was a pleasure having her join us. The following are brief descriptions of each group members lesson activities that when all relate in some way to the overall project of Fantasy Baseball and Mathematics:

Bethany: students would be "the dream team." We would take a trip over to the baseball field, "suit up" (the bball coach is the P.E. coach at the elementary school), and hold a "practice." During practice students would engage in basic fundamental agility-type practice activities. During the practice, students would measure and record:
1) the number of steps from one base to another
2) how far they can throw a baseball
3) how far they can slide
4) the weight of a baseball, bat, and glove
AND in the spirit of being a big leaguer...
5) how far they can spit sunflower seeds (cute, I know) :)
After practice, students will create a graph using the data they've collected. Pictures (a hopefully a couple of short video clips) of the practice will be compiled that the students will narrate (explain their actions in the pictures) with some fun, cute comments thrown in,
MovieMaker aspect would almost be secondary since the kids couldn't complete it independently. The graphs they will complete using Microsoft Word will be included in the MovieMaker project as well. This would address Measurement and Data and Probability standards from 3rd to 5th grade.

Zena:"Explore The Diamond": English to Metric System Conversion of MLB Stadium Home Plate to Center Field Distances. Students will choose a stadium and a character (their favorite baseball player or it can be themselves), create a CL of the character batting down the center field. They will be asked to display on the CL distance of their chosen stadium in feet and meters. Excel Chart Wizard will be used to compare CF distances of 3 stadiums that the student chooses using both.

Jane: The learning activity Fantasy Baseball Math Broadcasts provides an engaging way for students to speak both clearly and concisely about their content learning in math class and thereby further their comprehension of mathematics. Fantasy Baseball Math Broadcasts also provides an opportunity for students to develop their writing skills, public speaking skills and spoken vocabulary.

Leah: Research indicates that using sports in the classroom helps to increase student motivation in the classroom. This was one reason for implementing this project- to help increase student motivation in math. My lesson was developed to show that fantasy baseball can be implemented in the lower grade levels and vary across subjects. Fantasy baseball does not have to be carried out in the upper level math classes. My lesson proves this, and was developed for second grade in a reading or language arts classroom.

Cliff: Media and technology students will be filming the draft night and edit the footage to create the feel of an ESPN type broadcast. Students will engage in standards that require the use of technologies like: MovieMaker, iMovie, Garageband, and others.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I recently presented at the Georgia Educators Technology Conference in Atlanta, GA. My co-presenter and I felt that both of our presentations went extremely well, but we are always looking for feedback.

The two presentations were titled:
1) Fifty Great Websites and Technologies for Teachers
2) Work Smarter not Harder

The first presentation seemed to go over really well and will probably be delivered again next year with the proper upgrades.
The second presentation provided some difficulty due the diversity of the audience as it pertains to their usage of certain technologies.

We are looking for feedback or suggestions for upcoming conferences about what people would like to see, i.e. should we do a workshop instead of a presentation geared more toward a specific technology or should we present more in depth ways of using several technologies. Please offer any suggestions you may have as well as any new pieces of technology or websites you think people should know about.

Thank you for your time!

PBL Article Review

Teaching mathematics, I've noticed that students have difficulty with being able to visualize basic concepts and fundamentals. Not being able to do so makes recalling the operations needed to solved a problem that requires the use of these fundamental concepts. The new Georgia Performance Standards for math are theoretically designed to utilize an array of teaching pedagogy in order to allow students to connect mentally to the operations they are using. This article talks about the use of visual and nonvisual learning methods and how students readily adapt to the ways they are taught, if done at an early age. The concept of using fantasy baseball and mathematics supports the ideology that students perform better on fundamental mathematical skills when they can associate them with a visual memory.

Lowrie, T., & Kay, R. (2001). Relationship between visual and nonvisual solution methods and difficulty in elementary mathematics. The Journal of Educational Research, Mar/Apr 2001, Vol. 94 no4.

Friday, November 6, 2009

PBL Introduction

As project leader for this assignment, I have brought the proposal to the table about a project that my school is going to attempt to implement this spring. With Mathematic's scores being such a hot topic issue in the state during the past few years. My school is going to try fantasy baseball and mathematics to help promote active project based learning for grades 3-12 in the areas of mathematics. One advantage of the project is that is has shown to have success not only with the students but also with involving parents in their children's education. We plan to implement the use of blogs with this project as a way for students to share what they have learned, news about their teams, and reach out to other schools or students who may be competing as well.