Thursday, May 10, 2012


Okay, so in order to complete the requirement of participating in two edchat, well, I participated in two edchats. Here is what I think. Edchats can be extremely useful if you use them for what they are intended. For what are they intended you ask? Their purpose is to bring educators together from all over to discuss specific topics in order to acquire and share new ideas so that they can add to their education and the education of their students. The two edchats I participated in were #pblchat (on 5/8) and #lrnchat (on 5/10). The first was focused on project based learning and the second was focused on learning in general. Since these were the firs edchats I participated in and not necessarily ones that I was really interested in the experience was somewhat mixed for me. I did learn several things form other teachers but was unable to give much myself to the conversation. Most of my time was spent observing the flurry of activity as many educators tweeted in a very limited amount of time. This being said, the experience was still useful and educational for me. The point of these edchats is to learn as much as you can from others and then gradually begin to share more and more yourself as your PLN increases in size. Eventually you will be able to give back more and more to those educators have thus so far given you so many ideas. I believe participating in edchats you (or I) were specifically interested would help this process even more. As I said, I picked two that were convenient for me timewise as I could only participate in ones that were later in the evening.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teaching Technology to Others

So, something we've been working on in our EDSS 530 is creating our own PLN, a Personal Learning Network. Something I've realized more recently though is that the creating of this network is something we should be sharing with others who don't have one. Recently I was talking to one of the teachers as my clinical practice and showing them my digital reflection project. In my project I used YouTube, Prezi, and Screencast-O-Matic. When I showed her the project and explained all the tools she was instantly interested in how she could use it in her own classroom. These were tools she hadn't used in her classroom but was very interested in using. As a result, I offered to show her and other teachers in the English department how to use them and she thought it would be a great idea. Consequently, myself and another student teacher are going to design a short presentation and show several teachers how to use these great tools. To me this is such a great opportunity as not only am I displaying to them new things I can bring to school to teach students but I am also giving them tools they can use themselves in their own classrooms. To me, this is just as important as learning and using the tools myself. After all, the point of using all these tools is to enhance our own learning, the learning of our students, and our effectiveness as teachers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sprint to the Finish

This post goes out to all my friends in the teaching credential program at CSUSM. I want to encourage you right now as you probably are exhausted and feel like you want to tear your hair out. My advice to you is simple. It'll all be over very soon. This year has been incredibly long, you've overcome numerous struggles, and you have put in an inhuman amount of time in learning, lesson planning, and developing yourself into an excellent teacher. In two weeks you will graduate and give a huge sigh of relief. I myself am doing numerous things and have often felt like giving up. Right now I'm sending out applications, finishing up assignments for school, planning lessons, grading papers, trying to find time to eat and sleep, and trying not to completely ignore my wife. This would all seem very overwhelming except for that fact that I finally can see light at the end of the tunnel. Picture these last two weeks like this. You've been running at a steady pace for an insane amount of time. You're on the home stretch with the finish line in sight. Now it's time to pick up the pace, put your head down, and give an all out sprint to the finish. Once you cross that line you can stagger to the ground, lay on your back, and relax with a big smile on your face knowing that you have done something incredible.

You Can't Save Them All

"Doctors bury their mistakes, lawyers get sued by them, and teachers graduate them." - Anonymous Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that at first I laughed when I heard this. However, as I started to think about it more and more I became serious. I began to reflect on what this actually meant and I came up with two conclusions. The first is that you can't save all your students. The second is that even though the first statement is true, it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. If we are all honest with ourselves we should be able to admit that some students will indeed slip through our fingers. No amount of excellent teaching combined with determination will change that. However, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't do whatever is within our power to make sure as many students as possible enjoy a successful academic experience.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What Students Want

Yesterday I had a really neat opportunity along with some of my colleagues to talk to a panel of students about what they want from a teacher. Here are 10 things they mentioned:

1. Be assertive or we will walk all over you.
2. Be funny but don't try to hard or we will think you're crazy.
3. Be creative or we will get bored.
4. Don't be too mean or we will hate you.
5. Be organized or we will be confused.
6. Give us a reason to work or we won't care (a good grade is not a good enough reason).
7. Review for tests in a fun manner or we won't study.
8. Don't give us the answers just to be nice or we won't learn.
9. Get to know us individually or we won't care about you.
10. Give us good instructions but don't baby us or we will roll our eyes at you.

Easy right?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"It's worth it."

"It's worth it."

This is the phrase I seem to be repeating to myself a lot recently. Fortunately I've been doing it in my head and so I I haven't gotten any weird looks from people (except maybe from my wife because I'm pretty sure she can read my mind). The reason I've been repeating this to myself is because, quite frankly, life is a little overwhelming right now. My friends are starting to wonder if I'm still alive, my wife is starting to wonder if "game night with the guys" has been extended to every night of the week, and my dog is making bets with my car over who's going to go the longest without getting a bath. Needless to say, a lot of people and things are being neglected in my life. The reason, of course, is the insane amount of time it takes to get a teaching credential, work a job, and make lessons for students that both teach them something and keep them from falling asleep.

"It's worth it."

This is what I tell myself when I see the lightbulb go on in a student's eyes after you give them an answer to a question that is bouncing around in their heads. This is what I tell myself when a teacher thanks me deeply for covering a class for them so they could attend to something urgent. This is what I tell myself when a student thanks me for staying with them after school to help them proofread and edit an essay they wrote. This is what I tell myself when I stay up late at night trying to help some of my fellow teacher candidates solve some technical difficult so they can meet a TPA deadline.

"It's worth it."

This is what I tell any person reading my blog who is going the extra mile for anyone, whether they are at home or at work. I guarantee you that someone knows what you're doing and someone greatly appreciate it. Your reward is not monetary, it is not physicial, it is not anything you can touch with your fingers. Your reward is the profound impact you are having on someone's life through your selfless acts, hard work, blood, seat and tears. You are making a difference and no matter how difficult it is what you're doing...

"It's worth it!"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Technology and Video Games

Thought I would share a little research Allia and I did on video games and video game technology. Specifically how these can be seen in a positive light.